Next semester I’ll studying abroad in Israel, unless the money doesn’t come through, and then I’ll be right back here writing about the caf and Wimmer and SVC sweatpants and school spirit and all that and pretending to not be embarrassed that I’ve been talking about it for months and it didn’t happen. And then if it doesn’t happen, I’ll have to scramble to register for classes last minute, and they’ll probably all be taken, which will put me in the situation I was in this semester; ending up in science classes with freshmen who will swear on a case of Natty Light that they’ll never change their major and in a math class where the teacher not only doesn’t ever learn your name, but never makes any attempt to do so. (Student ID number 148823, in ancient Roman numerology, means “She Who Spends Too Much Time Talking about Herself.”)
Needless to say, the feedback I’ve been getting about my choice of location has been a bit explosive, pun absolutely intended. Yes, Israel has a reputation for being a war zone, but to be honest, a lot of the “Don’t get blown up” and “Have fun with your suicide bombers” comments are hurtful and also come simply from a place of sheer ignorance. Foreigners don’t say that about New York City, and everyone would be offended if they did. Although I am scared of New York, with all the people and fashionable clothes and Starbucks on every corner and people with fashionable clothes inside the Starbucks. It’s all so intimidating.
Also, New York’s former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, married his cousin.
I don’t think these ignorant, unknowledgeable people understand a few key facts about Israel.
Israel is a free-standing country, with a free press and a strong military, surrounded by countries that are not free-standing and do not have a free press but have bombs.
While Lebanon is continually firing rockets across the Israeli border and frequently hitting Israeli buildings and things and people, they aren’t dangerous but sometimes kill people and destroy buildings.
While Israel’s relationship with Iran is “on the rocks,” so to speak, that’s okay, because Iran doesn’t have any nuclear weapons that they actually do have.
Hamas, the Palestinian political party in power, may be rife with suicide bombers and may control Palestinian television and press and may want to blow Israel off the face of the map, but this is also not dangerous. After all, Israel and Palestine have exceled at sustaining over sixty years of peace talks.
Statistics have proven that walking around at night in downtown Detroit is more dangerous than doing so in Jerusalem. Not going to lie, this fact was surprising to me, because in order for the city to be dangerous, people have to live there to create the danger, and I really didn’t think anyone chose to live in Detroit anymore.
Detroit is bad.
Of course, I had my own trepidations about traveling out of the country again, despite the above assurances. Asian countries have a tendency to skip the whole toilet idea and just relegate the notion of a toilet to a hole in the ground covered by a porcelain sheath, which, at the age of twenty, is still terrifying to me and is also an extremely easy target for Sigmund Freud to hit. I spent my entire month in India this summer sobbing every time I had to use a public restroom. And then, of course, there’s the issue of interaction between men and women. Relationships tend to move faster in cultures other than in the United States. While all the marriage proposals I got in India made me feel quite attractive, American boys have this tendency to want to date you before you actually get married, a sentiment which I usually appreciate.
But overall, I’m excited to begin my new journey to the Holy Land in January. Also, falafel. Also, Israel has a primarily Jewish population, and last time I checked, matzo > regular old America bread.
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