Smile Through the Fear – A Trip to the South of Israel

On my trip to the south, we visited a kibbutz called Ein Hashlosha which is about a mile and a half from the Gaza border. This community experiences rockets weekly, but this is an improvement. At one point, I learned, they were being attacked up to six times a day. Like the playground discussed in my last post, safe houses are within a 15-second sprint from any point where one might be standing on this kibbutz.

In May, before the school day began, the sirens went off and everyone sought shelter. The rocket happened to hit directly next to the elementary school in the community. Everyone was safe, but that might’ve not been the case had it been shot 10 minutes later when school was supposed to start.

Our tour guide told us he has four young kids. When asked what he tells his kids who have to grow up in this reality, he said he’s realistic yet hopeful with them. He tells them there is no reason to live in complete fear or stop living your life, or else Hamas – explained in my Gymboree post – wins. He also tells them that he hopes there will come a time when their days and nights won’t be interrupted by sirens and screams. Continue reading Smile Through the Fear – A Trip to the South of Israel

The Gymboree – Israel’s Only Protected Playground

Being educated on the topic of the conflict in the south of Israel, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into when going for the day. Little did I know I was in for a huge, heart-wrenching surprise. The reality of the people who live in communities bordering Gaza hit me in a way I never thought it would. Continue reading The Gymboree – Israel’s Only Protected Playground

When Another Home Gets Hit – Santa Fe High School Shooting

It happened again. The 22nd school shooting in our country this year. This one the most deadly since MSD. Trump sends his support. Though a kind gesture, “support” will not prevent another shooting from happening. Continue reading When Another Home Gets Hit – Santa Fe High School Shooting

How to Prep for Travel: Packing

Having the travel bug can be amazingly rewarding – and stressful. I’ve had the travel bug for most of my life – my family was always into travel. Since we’ve stopped our big vacations together, I find myself uneasy when stuck in one place for too long. Since coming to university, I started taking big trips on my own.

Traveling solo is a beautiful thing, but it can be difficult and anxiety-filled. Getting ready to go to Israel on my own for two months I got to thinking again on how I prepared for my past travels. Continue reading How to Prep for Travel: Packing

Festivals From a Shorty’s Perspective

The “boom” of the bass blares over the entire park. Walking up to the stage, I’m full of hype, ready to dance until I can’t feel my feet anymore. It’s the final show on Peach Stage of Wanee Music Festival – a full-on camping music festival.

Warming up is Widespread Panic, a Georgia-based jam band known for sending their fans into a frenzy. The entire population of campers, hippies, and music lovers are dance-skipping to the same place. I finally wade into the crowd, a few feet from the rail when I realize the only view I’m getting of Widespread Panic is the cartoons of lead singer John Bell on the backs of spectators’ WSMFP shirts.

Even with the best intentions and the most determination, I’m still only 5’1’ at a music festival. Continue reading Festivals From a Shorty’s Perspective

Bringing the Blizzard – March for Our Lives

What an inspiring turnout we had at the March for Our Lives – Tampa Bay. Some 15,000 people demanded change; and that’s just one march. We’re making a difference. We’re being the change.

As I marched, I took a look around. I analyzed my surroundings. The atmosphere, the people, the vibes. One thing that stuck out to me was how different everyone was. We were all different shapes, sizes, ethnicities, political parties, religions, ect., but we all came together for the same cause. For safety. For peace of mind that students who leave for school in the morning will come home that afternoon. That no one will have to wonder if they’re going to be “next” on the list of deaths caused by gun violence. Continue reading Bringing the Blizzard – March for Our Lives