From Puerto Rico to Israel

by Jenny Shub, Year Course Participant

For the past year, I have been anticipating the experience of living in Israel – looking forward to meeting people from unique backgrounds, exploring a country rich in history, learning an ancient language, and exercising my independence. And now, it is finally time to leave home and go off on a journey few get the opportunity to experience.

I am not one to pack so soon before leaving, but this is a long adventure and requires a lot of prep. Although I intend on assimilating with the Israeli culture, I have packed some important things from home. To remind me of my Island while I am away, I have packed my Puerto Rican flag and a traditional blend of spices called Adobo. organizing my clothes was the toughest task, however I was ecstatic to buy SpaceBags; the commercials have stuck with me since they were advertised and, without them, I would not be able to fit everything I have decided to bring! I do not expect to buy more clothing than I normally would during the year, but I am also prepared for the clothes trades and general disappearance of some pieces. Besides clothing, I look forward to buying a lot of jewelry!

My cameras are also packed and ready to record my adventures. I am bringing my DSLR and hope to practice my artistic ability, and I have also packed my instant-film camera. Pictures on those seem to have a greater weight of meaning… perhaps because they cannot be retouched and edited. They are raw – as raw as the moment they are taken. For everyday things though, I will just use my phone to take pictures.

In hopes to keep the memories from the year tangible, aside from the pictures, I will also be keeping a journal. Everyone who comes back from Year Course advises me to keep one, and I think it is a good idea. It will be difficult to set aside time to write, but I hope I find the time because I have a feeling I will want to remember each and every day.

Credited to my summers at Young Judaea camps, I know people in Israel who can help guide me through the unfamiliar country (along with my friends and staff). Young Judaea, throughout my lifetime, has been preparing me for this year, and I cannot wait to see what I can do with what I’ve learned.