Hadas Nahar, Part 2

August 20th, 2018

What a summer.

I am sitting here in my office, for the last time, beginning to write this. People say that time flies, but the degree to which I feel the truth of this statement right now is incredible. Did I not just get off that plane and arrive to find out that my luggage was not in Ben Gurion airport, but was rather sitting patiently in Newark, New Jersey? I know. Not the best start. But believe me, it looked up from there. But no, that was not yesterday. That was two months ago and now it is almost time for me to get on that 12 hour plane ride back to Boston. This summer has been incredible, both professionally and personally and I am so grateful for the experience that I had. It is incredible when a foreign place no longer feels like that, but rather feels like a home. The HaNamal street that I leave no longer feels like HaNamal street in Haifa; it feels like the street outside of my apartment. I am unbelievably sad to leave my home, but I also know that it will be there when I come back one day.

The second half of my summer was a lot like my first. The main difference was that I felt a lot more comfortable in the work environment and in Haifa at large. I finished up working at the Achva Camp, saying goodbye to some of the most precious kids I have ever met. I continued to work on compiling grant research. I helped to draft outreach letters to some of the foundations that I had gathered information on. I worked on an informative and engaging program about intercultural understanding with a fellow intern for ten 15-year old Israelis who were going to come to visit and learn about Beit Ha’Gefen. When the day for the program came, only two of the kids ended up showing up with their counselor. From this, I learned that in organizations, sometimes not everything goes as planned, and that is ok. My co-intern and I still had an amazing day, meeting with these two 15-year old Ethiopian Israelis who wanted to practice their English with us and learn about Beit Ha’Gefen. Furthermore, I continued to utilize my English skills to help staff around the office with English emails and content. I explored Wadi Nisnas and was able to experience all the beautiful artwork that Beit Ha’Gefen helped to make possible in this neighborhood.

Two Beit Ha'Gefen interns

Me with my fellow intern in the office

I grew not only professionally, but personally. I had always been told that living on your own in a foreign country for a substantial amount of time will change you, but until I experienced it firsthand, I did not fully realize how true this is. I felt myself becoming so much more confident and competent. It really did feel like some kind of stepping stone to my next stage in life; I feel less nervous for the future and more sure that I am ready for whatever is to come.

Grantee and her Beit Ha'Gefen boss

With my boss at Beit Ha’Gefen

Outside of the office, I did a lot more traveling around Israel. I visited Tel Aviv and Jerusalem a few times and went to the beach as much as I could. I continued to strengthen the friendships that I had made throughout this summer. One of the highlights for me from the second half of the trip was a day trip that a few friends and I took to this river spot called the Yardenit, which is at the Southern tip of the Sea of Galilee. We had a Sunday off of work and my friends and I decided that we wanted to do utilize our day off and do something cool. It was the perfect destination. We laid out a tapestry by the water and brought a little picnic for ourselves, as well as a speaker so we could enjoy music, the view, and food. We alternated between hanging out on the side of the river and swimming in the water. The water is a stunning turquoise color and was just the right temperature. There were ledges to jump off of and ropes to swing from. Let’s just say I am not Tarzan; but it was fun to try!

People sitting on a log on the river, while a canoe enters the frame.

Relaxing on the Yardenit river

There is so much that this summer offered me that I cannot put into words, and certainly cannot put into this short blogpost. I am so unbelievably thankful that I was able to have this experience this summer. I am already thinking about when I will be able to go back!

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