Today as I write, I find myself being distracted away from my in-comprehensive homework. I strongly dislike school. Its funny, because I used to love school. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being with friends nearby and the freedom that comes with being a university student. However I don’t like school. I love learning. I hate tests, homework and labs are not always the most exciting thing in the world. I like projects and presentations. Everything else gets in the way for me. I have found the some of the times I learned the most was when I was away from school. Like at my first internship and then my internship this last summer and when I went to the UK, Germany, Czech Republic and Israel. Or when I drove with my dad across the united states. And when I went to a political conference and met senators, governors and congress representatives from various states. I learn when I am in uncomfortable situations where I have to step outside my boundaries and reach out to build connections and friendships with those I am around. I have learned by serving the homeless. I’ve learned by reading and writing and painting. I’ve learned in sickness and in health. I’ve learned and continue to learn more about what I believe and stand for and what is important for me. I’ve learned when I am able to run and when I am walking. I learn by doing, thinking and saying. I learn with movement yet I have also learned by being able to stand still. I learn through pain, strength and joy. I am continuing to learn who I am. I am a learner and I hope for my life to be filled with life long learning.
I am grateful to be able to grow, learn and change.
Today I can’t help but think about fire. It is a beautiful and powerful resource when maintained and manageable, yet, it can also become something uncontrollable and dangerous. Fire is my favorite element. I like how all it takes is one simple spark and that can turn into a flame and that flame can burn for as long as you allow it. Someone once told me that based on my ideas and beliefs about fire that is how I feel about G-d. When looking at fire in relation to G-d is makes sense. If you allow G-d in your life, you’ve initiated the spark and then praying and living your life in a way that brings glory to G-d is letting the flame burn infinitely.
Today I also cannot help but think about israel and us jewish people and how fire relates to us. With the terror events which have struck Israel and left all of us Jews in a state of shock and sadness. Or at least that’s how I feel. Ever since arriving in Israel during my birthright trip last year, anytime something goes awry in Israel it’s like a piece of me gets inflicted. My love for Israel is something that most of my friends and family don’t understand. I can’t explain it however I will try. It’s like when our plane to Tel Aviv touched down, we clapped. When we got to Cesearia and saw the most beautiful sunset, it felt natural. With the palm trees all around and even running into acquaintances from my home town in the middle of Ben Yehuda street. There is something unique and different about Israel. It felt like home and yet I had never been there before. It felt natural. I didn’t have to prove who I was or what I believed. I was just me. I was Jewish and so were most of the other people. It was so beautiful! It was not perfect and I was even sick half of the time I was on my trip, but the reflective time I had on the bus rides, the adrenaline I got from the extreme hike down Mt. Arbol and even when I went ziplining across two mountains, and the connected, power and fire I felt burning inside me when we reached Jerusalem and specially when I went to the Kotel on Shabbat for the first time in my life. There were tears in my eyes when the plane left. How could I be leaving the Holy Land? I was going back into Exile. Why? I don’t know. I guess I’ve been searching for that answer for quite sometime. Regardless even when I got back to America, as I exited the plane I talked to this young Israeli man who had just finished his service in the army. We periodically still keep in touch. To me this is Israel. This if the Jewish nation, culture and religion.
My birthright trip to Israel was everything and more than what I expected. It also seems like Israel to me is the answer to a question I never asked because I never even knew I had. I am so grateful for Israel, to be Jewish and for the fire burning within me.
There’s a burning fire in each of us. Some strike the match for good, others for evil. Your life. You choose.
I actually went back through and felt like I had to add this song as I started to recall the lyrics as I said my prayer before falling asleep. “Aish talmid eternity, fire burns continuously…wondering where you been won’t you come on home to me”
Last weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to go to my friends lake house and learn to wake board! I will admit that the week beforehand was crazy and I was questioning how I would be able to make it. But once I was there I felt a release of stress. The stillness of the water relaxed me and helped me to enjoy the weekend and not worry too much about homework and work. Then learning to wakeboard was awesome because it’s such an adrenaline rush and because I love trying new things but often in the midst of school forget to make time. I’m grateful to have started the semester off right! So thankful for such a restful and fun weekend!
Trying to take the same approach to embracing my community and environment so naturally I hung out with friends when returning to California. We went light painting, I had doctors appointments and I started trying to treat life in CA as if it was/is a brand new experience. And now I am off to University for my last year of school, HOPEFULLY!!!
Light painting and being silly!
California’s Famous Palm Trees
My doctors office, kind of pretty aint it!
On the way to downtown!
“The only courage you ever need is the courage to live the life you want”-Oprah
Well as night broke and the darkness fell across the sky after a few more hours of driving we finally saw the light. The city ahead was one filled with many memories of family trips, visiting grandparents, cousin adventures, boating with friends, spring break with my awesome friend, hiking, photography, my birthday, a handsome israeli, famous politicians, my list of moments shared with this city all flooded into mind. Although not every memory spent here was amazing it was starting to feel like home. Close enough and yet still far away. Las Vegas has a very unique place in my life and my heart and my comfort was beginning to come back. Ironically after being in new states the past few months and meeting new people and learning new things and having uncomfortable experiences, it all felt right. Coming back to something familiar was strange and comfortable both things which I have not exactly felt for a long time. This kind of change is hard to welcome back. I’ve grown and changed and yet returning to comfort is where my struggle lies. In comfort, I do not embrace change and I tend to revert to past methods. But this time I want it to be different. This time, I want to return to something familiar and comfortable and I want to step out of my comfort zone and focus on being who I truly am today not who I was yesterday. Here’s to staying true to who you are!
The fabulous Las Vegas strip at night!
Inside the hotel we stayed at!
And now back on the road the next day, welcome back to the desert, the heat and the familiarity (also the mountains haha)
As the trip west continued, finally we made it to Utah where sites looked familiar but not quite like home. But I felt my guard falling as I realized that although this wasn’t home, this was a place where I shared many wonderful memories with friends from fun fireworks during 4th of July in past summers, weddings of good friends and this time meeting my friends new born son! Utah has a special place in my heart as I know many wonderful men and women that call it home and have welcomed me many times!
The last time I was in Utah it was snowing!
Check out the great long roads, America!
Real Salt Lake Soccer Stadium!
Where the speed limit is really fast!! Its legal haha
Bucks already make me miss OHIO!
Seeing a bear just proves that I am getting closer to CA!