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My Mini Abroad Experience and Welcome Back!

January 24, 2013   

Hello all!  Sorry for the hiatus from my journal- this past winter break was so full of excitement that I didn’t really get time to update all of you on what was happening.  Since I am not going abroad this year like most juniors do, I figured this break would be a great time to travel and explore the world.  So, after recuperating from finals week, I headed off to Israel for 10 days with my brother and long-time friend.  It was a once in a lifetime experience!  I traveled with about 40 other college-age kids from all over the United States (and one from Canada) and we got to explore this rich, historical land together in a whirlwind adventure.  It was absolutely amazing! 

Of course, I was there during the worst storm in 20 years.  It even snowed!  However, going to school here in Central New York, I’m used to the snow but it was definitely unexpected!  Still, the country was so beautiful.  Everything was green and in bloom.  I still can’t believe that I was in a land where the history goes back at least 5,000 years.  We did so many things in 10 days that I don’t want to bore you with all of the details, but some highlights include riding a camel, sleeping in a tent in the desert, climbing Masada at sunrise, exploring the Old City in Jerusalem, visiting museums and important landmarks, and getting to meet Israeli kids my age.  Our tour guide, Karmit, was very knowledgeable and taught us so much about the history of the sites that we were visiting.  I loved learning about the significance at each place and getting to explore this ancient land. 

While on the trip, we also went to a few nature reserves, and of course I had to geek out!  There were SO MANY invertebrates and if you have been following my journal, you know that I just finished taking a Biology class about these spineless creatures.  Also, as an Ecology enthusiast, I loved learning about how the environment has shaped these nature reserves.  For example, one of the reserves that we visited was Einot Tsukim, which is the lowest nature reserve in the entire world since it is on the beach of the Dead Sea!  I found it so fascinating that an oasis such as this could exist right next to the saltiest water body in the world.  However, the best part of the trip was befriending so many amazing people.  I miss them all very much and can’t wait until we can get together again, in the US and in Israel.

Although I still wish I were in Israel, I am excited to be back at Hamilton for another semester!  It’s been bitterly cold the past few days (negative degrees!), but that has not deterred my spirit.  I came up a few days before classes started and have been slowly adjusting to life back on the Hill.  This semester, two of my roommates are abroad, so my roommate Katie and I have our quad all to ourselves!  We’ve been rearranging the furniture and getting used to missing two of our friends.  I always feel like one of them is about to come into the room, but then I remember that they are having adventures abroad!  We just started classes on Tuesday and so far they have been going well- I’m taking Vertebrate Physiology, Genes and Genomes, Society and the Environment, and Scene Design.  I know that this semester will be challenging, but I’m excited to get back into the classroom and lab to learn about these topics!

PS- While in Israel, I saw a friend from Hamilton, Rose!  I knew that we would both be there at the same time, but what a small world!