No, it’s not Marlee Ehrlich and no, I didn’t convert to Judaism (as someone actually asked me when I mentioned I was going to Israel), but this is Daniela Suarez and I am writing from the North of Israel where my family and I are spending our last two “cultural” days before relaxing on the beach in Tel Aviv and then going back home to the US. However, this summer was already off to an exciting start before we packed our bags and crossed the Atlantic to discover this new and amazing place.
For me, summer started the second I finished my last final at the end of May. Once the clock hit11:30am I ran out and was on a bus with DLee (or Danielle Lee), Margaret, and our 10 bags back to my home, New York City. We sat squished in between strangers, relieved to have finally finished the grueling misery that is the deadly move-out and finals combination. I was thrilled to have them stay at my house, especially since DLee had only been to New York once briefly, and I quickly showed them my side of the city as we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, ate Grimaldi’s pizza by the East River, went to the Metropolitan Museum, and the list goes on with the highlight being venturing 94 floors up the new Freedom Tower in the World Trade Center. Their stay was short-lived, but only two days later it was my turn to travel to Carmel, Indiana for the long-awaited “Indy 500″. Along with Marlee and Kendall, we grabbed our coolers, courtesy of Mrs. Ramsey, and spent the day on the racetrack among Midwesterners who await this day pretty much all year. It was definitely an experience I hope to repeat.
Yet, it was all over way too quickly and, before I knew it, I was back in New York, working at an art gallery as an intern and swimming with my home swim team, AGUA. Then about a month later I was back on the road, this time to the familiar Cambridge, MA, but I wasn’t as excited as usual as summer Organic Chemistry was about to start. And so began 7 weeks of long labs and weekly tests that were only made better by the time I spent with Taylor, Ana, and Paige, who were also in Cambridge for the summer. As miserable as it was to have to work so hard when everyone else was relaxing, I cannot even begin to describe the relief I felt at the end when I knew I would never have to take the course again.
And so, only a day after coming back home, my parents, younger sister, and I were on a plane to Tel Aviv, Israel, about to embark on a two week adventure in a region that many people, including myself at first, are scared away from thanks to the news. I was definitely pleasantly surprised. We began our trip in Jerusalem and I was immediately amazed by the amount of history (think thousands of years) in a single place. It’s not only the center for the Jewish religion as most people seem to think, but it brings together so many people of different cultures such as Muslims, Christians, and many more that I didn’t even know existed. We’ve been driving around Israel for the past week and a half, spending a morning in Palestinian territory to visit Bethlehem, floating in the Dead Sea, visiting the amazing ruins of Petra in Jordan (Indiana Jones, anyone?), riding around the Ramon Crater in a jeep, mountain biking, crossing through the desert on camels, and of course, having a man offer my dad a few camels in exchange for me or my sister (good deal, huh?). Furthermore, I’m writing this blogpost as we’ve just driven by the border with Lebanon on our way to Tiberias by the Sea of Galilee. I can definitely say this has been a unique and absolutely incredible family vacation, but I’m also unbelievably eager to get back home, and by home I mean Harvard with my fellow HWSDers.
Jerusalem market treats
Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem
View of the Dead Sea from Masada
Petra ruins (and camels)