So I’ve been back in America for almost 2 weeks now. It’s still really weird. Nobody speaks Hebrew, people are so polite that I’m weirded out by them, and everyone is so fat! I keep wanting to tell people to “yalla,” but I stop myself just in time to not look like an idiot – I just look really impatient. It’s probably the lack of kippot and the presence of Christian crosses that are the strangest part.
First off, getting to Texas was a huge balagan. My flight from Tel Aviv to New York was fun. I know that it’s hard to sense sarcasm over the internet, so I’ll just say it: that was a VERY sarcastic use of the word. Another guy from my program (Adam) had a flight within an hour of mine, so Yossi was nice enough to drop us off at the train station. He helped me carry my 2 huge suitcases up and down the stairs to get to the platform. So Adam and I got on the train and there were no seats and barely any standing room. No worries, though! We’ve gotten good at pushing! So we stood by the doors of the train car and finally arrived at the airport. We got interrogated by El Al’s security people and then headed to the ticket counter. When it’s my turn, I realized that the security guys put my security tag on my carry-on instead of my suitcase. But no worries! I just went back to the security area and go through the “quick” process again and get the sticker on my suitcase. Adam wanted some breakfast so we stopped at a little cafe kiosk thing so he could eat. While we were sitting there (we still hadn’t gone through the x – ray machines and what not) I guess they changed the gates for both of our flights. Since we were technically outside of the terminal, we didn’t hear the announcements of a gate change. Still, no worries! We got there pretty early and by the time we got to the gates we heard an announcement and headed to the proper gates. Adam and I said goodbye and he headed home. I sat at my gate for about half an hour before the plane boarded. I looked around and what do I see? Hordes of Americans on birthright/taglit. Now don’t get me wrong. I think taglit is amazing because it gives Jewish Americans the opportunity to see Israel. In fact, I was lucky enough to get to see my friend Drew because he came on birthright. But my issue is that after 11 days in Israel, most of which were spent drinking arak and hitting on Israelis, they act like they’re the shit. They’re all like “yeah, our guide was so hot. I would tap that.” I guess I’m slightly (only slightly.. *cough cough*) bitter towards taglit because they make all Americans seem like drunk sluts and it gives us a bad rap. A lot of Israelis assumed that my friends and I were on taglit instead of actually living and working in Israel. Anywhoooo, disregarding that tangent I was about to start, I realized that I was going to be surrounded by a bunch of taglit kids for the next 12 hours. I immediately got on facebook and complained to Rachel, who quickly advised me to just make fun of them. Aaaand I did. But no worries! I had barely slept the night before was extremely emotionally drained, so I was expecting to pass out instantly.
Things didn’t exactly go according to plan. I got on the plane and sat in between a Russian woman and an religious American girl who made aliyah a few years ago. (This definitely an upgrade from my flight to Israel, where I sat next to a creepy man from Nepal who told me that I could “lay my head in his lap if I wanted.” Ew.) So I sat there, feeling very conflicted; I was happy to be going home but also really upset to be leaving Israel. I was kind of lost in my own thoughts for a while and when I looked at my watch, it was time for take off. But the door to the plane was still open and everyone was standing up walking around. Then the captain came on the speaker and said that there will be a delay. My immediate thought was that I hope I wouldn’t miss my connecting flight in New York. But I still wasn’t worried. I had a 4 hour layover until my connection, so I thought I could make it. It turned out that there was a problem with the door and it wasn’t closing correctly. After an hour, the captain came on the speaker and said that everything is fixed and that we would be taking off shortly. Yesh! So we all sat down, our seat belts buckled like good little passengers, but we still weren’t moving. After about 10 minutes, I hear many sighs of נו, למה אנחנו עדיין מחכים? and I realized that something’s up. Also, I should add that while I love traveling, flying is not my favorite thing in the world. The stale air of the airplane mixed with people’s body odors just doesn’t really get me all that excited. So that ended up lasting for another 2 hours. At this point, we had been on the plane for 3 hours, but still haven’t moved. It turns out that there was something going on with the generator, and once that was fixed, the technicians found another problem with one of the computers. Now obviously, it’s much more important that the plane is safe and that everything is functioning the way that it should be than it is that we leave the airport on time. I have no issues with that. I’d rather be late and safe than whatever the alternative to that is. I kept telling myself “Don’t worry. It’s just a few extra hours. Don’t worry.” So I calmed down/chilled out and asked a flight attendant what’s up. She was very nice and calmly explained to me that they didn’t check this stuff before we boarded the plane.
It was at this point that I started to freak out. Just a few crazy thoughts were running through my sleep deprived mind: “Why was this stuff not checked? Don’t they care for our safety? For the love of G-d, there are babies on this flight! Babies! Does El Al hate babies?!” The flight attendant then tried to reassure me by saying that the technicians decided that everything was ok and that she trusts them because “they have kids and they don’t want someone else’s kids to be be in danger” or something like that. Her logic was essentially nonexistent, but she was such a sweet lady that I couldn’t help feeling reassured by her. Just then, the captain got on the speaker again and told us that we’re switching planes. We all got up, grumbled a little (a lot), and are lined up to exit the plane (the door which wouldn’t close before is now fully shut and locked). But guess what? The captain got on the speaker! I’d grown to associate this man’s voice with bad news so I automatically sat back down and waited. He informed us that there was no longer a need to switch planes and that we can all return to our seats. איזה כיף! So we sat back down and finally got on our way. 12 hours later, we finally arrived in New York. 15 hours on a plane should be a punishment reserved for felons. But, I was happy that we made it safely and that everything worked out.
Needless to say, I missed my connection to San Antonio. I ended up having to spend the night in Newark and got on a flight the next morning. Other than a really attitude-y lady that was giving me problems when I tried to check my bags in, things went pretty smoothly from there.
I was greeted at the airport by my very excited parents and then I went home where I was reunited with my brother, my doggy, and my bed.
Good to be home!