Journal Entry:

The semester didn’t end in the way I expected it to—I was barely a month into my studies when WHO announced that the Covid-19 outbreak had been declared a pandemic. It was a bittersweet week as the news started to affect everything--transportation, classes, planned events and my time abroad. I initially only told my closest friends and the institute’s staff that my university had called me back to the States, but word got around quickly that I was leaving.

Since I had to leave within a week, I decided that I would make the best out of my final days in Israel. As a result of the lockdown, activities were limited, but one of the things my friends and I did was go camping on the mountains behind the kibbutz—despite the chilly temperatures at night! It was both an unsettling and breathtaking experience: we knew foxes lived in the area, so every slight sound had us wondering if we hadn't packed our food tightly enough, the smell of something good to eat having lured them near. Fortunately, the night was too cold for the foxes to venture high up, so we had the night to ourselves and spent it swapping stories and looking at the constellations moving across the sky in order for a new day to arrive.

Before I had arrived in Israel, I was filled with dread as to how I was going to fit in—my first year in DC had not been the easiest experience, so I kept my expectations low.