Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 10 reflections

It’s Tuesday and I keep thinking that there’s no way things here could get better, I keep thinking that it’s just not possible that we’ve only been here nine days. Maybe it was the night in the tent together, maybe it’s just the point we’re at in the trip, but despite the general exhaustion, everyone in the group is getting along great. We really have become family. I mean sure there are cousins you don’t know that well and don’t always hang out with, but they’re still family.

We begin the day with breakfast at the camp and then a camel ride. It feels unreal to even write that. Yes, our mornings began with a camel ride in the desert in Israel. The camel ride was followed by a two hour hike through the desert, which was amazingly beautiful and great exercise. I wish I could describe the peace here.

After touring some sights, we went to a farm and enjoyed a delicious lunch. After lunch we were treated to a tour of the center. It was so interesting learning about the way they grow crops here. And then we headed to the hotel for dinner, discussion and much needed showers and rest.

Leah Kieff,
University of Mary Washington
Carrie Aefsky, George Mason University

P.S. Mom and Dad we’re excited to see you soon. Love you.

Yesterday, Tuesday, was breath-taking. I woke up spiritually refreshed after an amazing night in the Negev desert where we did some soul-searching beneath the stars. Sleeping in the refreshingly simple Bedouin tent was all that I could ask for. I was able to clear my mind and get in touch with my thoughts. After breakfast, we went on a fun camel ride. Kate and I named our camel Betty. She was a sweetheart. After this fun morning ride, we went on a hike through the desert. The hike lasted just over 2 hours, one way. It was, in my opinion, more challenging that the Snake Trail of Masada. The view was absolutely amazing and I now have a new appreciation for hiking. The scenery was so beautiful that it felt like I was walking through an IMAX movie. Once we reached the end, Raz pointed to where we started the hike and I couldn’t believe that we had done it. I felt so proud and was so pumped that I would have loved to continue for another couple hours. I think that we all surprised ourselves with our ability to climb the final part. I have learned that we are all stronger than we think we are and not to doubt myself. I really can do anything that I set my mind to. As we now approach our final day of the trip, I am filled with so much happiness and appreciation for the opportunity to take part in so many amazing experiences that we have been given. I didn’t take this trip for granted, even for a moment. Before leaving, I challenged myself to say yes to absolutely everything, to seize each opportunity with enthusiasm, and to live in the moment. This was the best decision that I made and I think that a positive attitude has made all the difference. Cheers to next year in Jerusalem!

Ella Rose, George Mason University

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