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

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

C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E S-O-N-G SONG!

Hello Friends!

Lets start this one with a request; try to imagine the last time you felt genuine calm and peace. If you can remember, that’s great (keep reading). If not, let me set the stage for you.

You’re sitting on the beach of Fort Meyers, nothing but a thin towel between your body and the powder-white sand. The only sounds hitting your eardrums are soft “whooshes” of the waves in front of you, muffled screeches of seagulls, laughs of children making sandcastles and chaos, and barks of dogs having the time of their lives.

Continue reading C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E S-O-N-G SONG!

Thoughts In Chicagooooooooo, Chicago

Hello Friends!

I’m currently sitting in the garden in Chicago’s Millenium Park. I’m feeling serine and relaxed for the first time in a few weeks. Have you ever just sat somewhere and felt like you were the only human on planet earth? That might be a bit of a stretch but that is how I am feeling right now.

Things happen every single day that can alter the entirety of your life. Big or small, we all have our issues and our quarks that worry us on a daily basis. I am sitting here right now, in this garden, putting my worries in perspective.

Continue reading Thoughts In Chicagooooooooo, Chicago