What Makes Me Smile

By Jamie Gorson '16

Living on your own in a foreign country makes for a lot of adventures and fun, but can also be scary. There are times when you really miss your family, friends and home or have traveling or logistical issues. But what I've come to realize, through all the stresses and emotions, is that when living in Israel there are moments that bring a huge grin to my face. So, I wanted to recollect some of the special points in my last week that made me smile.

Open Air Market.jpg

A 'shuk' or open aired market in Haifa. A very popular way to grocery shop in Israel.

Shopping in open aired markets is one of my favorite aspects of Israel. Whether it is buying fruits and vegetables or shopping at an artists' gallery, I find the nature of it so much fun. This week I went to the shuk to buy fruits and vegetables. There was so much to choose from that I don't think I could ever go back to a grocery store. The produce just wouldn't be the same. I also went shopping at the Turkish Artist's Market. There are lots of artists that come out just across the street from our apartments and they bring beautiful artwork and jewelry. I very much enjoy it.

Jamie_Beach.jpgJamie ('16) on the beach in Haifa after a day of working

After work one day, we decided to go to the beach!  Swimming in the ocean gave me so much joy and happiness.  I love being in the water and fighting the waves. Surprisingly it was quite rough, but it made our adventure that much more exciting. The fact that the beach is so close to work makes for a fun way to spend the evening. Hopefully we have the opportunity to take advantage of it more.

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The view from my apartment. It looked over the port on the Mediterranean Sea.

Since I live on a fifth floor apartment, facing the water, I love to look out the windows and enjoy my view. I check all the time if there are cruise ships docked. I really enjoy boats, so it is lots of fun for me to watch them come in and out. One evening, a cruise ship was coming in during sunset and I got so excited. I had the biggest smile on my face because the cruise ship reminded me of boating and fun times. It was a beautiful sight and one of the simple things that I enjoy watching every day.

Finally, this weekend, I went to Israeli homes for Shabbat. On Friday we went to dinner at a very secular household, but they still had a big family dinner every week. On Saturday I spent the day with a religious family. I enjoyed Shabbat lunch with them, and then walked around the neighborhood and relaxed until Shabbat ended. At both homes, I felt very welcomed.

Jamie_Walk.jpgA swimming hole in Haifa, made by damming a natural creek.

I am so appreciative of the opportunity  to learn about Jewish and Israeli culture, and also to have the chance to be with a family, something that I've missed for the past three weeks. I enjoyed the Shabbat culture and the fact that that day or evening is always dedicated to spending time with the family. I hope that I have the same culture in my household one day.

Israel makes me smile almost every day, which is just one of the reasons I love living in this country.

Posted in: A Broader World View, Because I Wanted To, Just Plain Fun