While I was teaching English in Israel, I really learned a lot about myself. I learned how to live on my own. It was really hard at first because I had to learn how to take responsibility. I mean, I took a big risk to live abroad for five months. I lived in the capital of Negev, Beersheba. Beersheba is a city that is full of life. I walk down the streets seeing cars zoom past me and bars at every corner. College students laughed and talked in Hebrew. I was so fascinated by this city because it amazed me every day. I could run for hours inside the brown dessert filled with green trees while an orange, yellow, pink sun set in the blue sky.
The reason it was so hard to live in Israel is because I knew nothing about the country. It was like I was learning as I went along. I spoke Hebrew fluently. I met so many amazing friends by just going up to them and speaking in Hebrew. They were so impressed. It was so great how Israeli are so welcoming. They would invite me to their house for Shabbat and slowly but surely, I became more comfortable with living in Beersheba. I became more comfortable because I knew how to get home, how to ride the bus, how to get to work, how to cook, and how to really embrace the Israeli culture.
I learned how to embrace the Israeli culture by learning more about it. I learned the history of how Israel became a democratic Jewish state. They had several wars with Palestine because they were fighting over land. In 1948, Israel became a Jewish state. After that, all Israel wanted was peace. It was hard to create this state because the Israeli soldiers had to keep fighting to conquer more land. In 1967, the Egyptians entered Sinai and the Israeli feared a Pan- Arab takeover. They feared that Israel would be gone. They fought back and crushed the Arab states. After that war, the Israelis conquered the West Bank, Sinai dessert, and Golan Heights. Then there was the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the Egyptians took Israel by surprised and ended up conquering the Suez Canal. The Israeli fought back but Israel was now in danger. The reason I am telling you this is because Israel has not resolved the Arab-Israeli conflict. It still exists today as more Palestinian settlement may be built in West Bank. The Israelis want to peace. They kept fighting to create a Jewish democratic state. It was the Zionist dream.
I learned that this history was embedded in every Israelis mind. They would go on for hours about the history and how strong and resilient their army was. They are proud of their achievements and how far Israel has come as state. In fact, by learning this, I started believing that Israeli did fight to create this Jewish democratic state. I was amazed by how Israel kept fighting and never gave up till the country was in their control. This helped me understand why the conflict is still going on today.
Anyway, I continued to grow as a person because I was becoming an independent young adult who knew how to cook, spoke Hebrew with the locals, shopped at the Shukk, and had the time of my life. I learned so much by speaking Hebrew and going out on Friday nights to the Benji Bar with my friends. We had fun, we laughed and we smiled. It was such a great time. When I look back on the time I spent in Israel, I realize that I had an amazing five months there. I was so lucky to have spent time there and learn about Israel. I was so lucky to meet great friends that I will have forever.