We watched a beautiful sunset, and then headed to the Moshav to see some friends' of friends. A Moshav is a really tight community of families. Since it was Saturday night, we were able to celebrate the end of Shabbat with the community. There was candle lighting, prayers, songs, and more songs. It was a really beautiful experience and a perfect way to end the day.
Living in Israel can be stressful. Though I live in Tel Aviv, which is dubbed a 'bubble' compared to the rest of Israel, the stress is still there - at least for me. Not only have I packed up and moved myself across the world, leaving my friends and family behind, but I've plopped myself down and made a cozy little impermanent home for myself right in the middle of the Middle East. That, too, has come with a bit of stress.
On a daily basis, my mind is often reeling. I struggle with missing my friends and family, I grapple with constantly feeling like an outsider as one of the few non-jews here, I try to adjust to the bomb sirens, practice drills, and gas masks that act as a constant reminder that war is always a threat, I stifle the horror I feel when working at the clinic and am presented with terrible cases of torture and sickness from the asylum seeking community here, I feel physical pain in my body when I hear devastating Palestinian and Israeli personal narratives, and I sit in class several hours a week listening to lectures about torture, trauma, abuse, PTSD, traumatic grief and disaster.
Sometimes I feel like I just need to get away. Fortunately, Israel, despite the aforementioned, is also filled with places to escape, or retreat to. The other weekend I was able to get out with a few friends. We drove out of the city leaving Tel Aviv and it's bubble buildings behind. We drove for awhile through rolling, rocky hills, and deep green valleys. We drove through the land of Moses and Jesus and Abraham and Sarah. The second you leave the city, the fresh washes over you, calms you and cleanses you. We drove south of Jerusalem and hiked for a bit. We climbed the rocky hills, and explored ancient caves that were dug deep into the earth. It's easy to imagine biblical and present day history being made in the scenic areas of Israel. Occasionally we stopped and did some impromptu yoga. My friend was nice enough to capture me in a headstand moment. I think all the pressure and blood rushing to my head was really effective in making all those thoughts in my brain slow down. Before the day was over, I had even found a souvenir! My friend didn't want me to put it in his car....but I insisted.