“This one time on my gap yah.” (part 2)

I’m very lucky to have spent an incredible, varied and exciting year in Israel on my gap year. I wrote about it the other day, so here is the rest of it. I had a really great year, looking back🙂

Poland Tour

As Jews, it’s somewhat necessary to visit Poland if you’re lucky enough to have the chance. We made our way to Majdanek – the camp where everything is still there in front of your eyes. I don’t really wanna write about it, because it was all there – we saw it, and I don’t feel the need to go into details.

Mass grave at Tykocin.

Mass grave at Tykocin.

Treblinka.

Treblinka.

Entering Majdanek.

Entering Majdanek.

Auschwitz-Birkenau

Auschwitz-Birkenau

Volunteering in Lod

We live together in the house, go to work, have a budget of x ammount p/person p/day and we hafta shop and cook for ourselves. I’m helping teach English at a primary school here in Lod. “Teaching” implies helping them with worksheets or just talking to them in English – just give them an opportunity to speak English.

Some of us volunteers.

Some of us volunteers.

The girls in my group on our last day.

The girls in my group on our last day.

The sign at the entrance of Lod. (It says Lod, in Hebrew)

The sign at the entrance of Lod. (It says Lod, in Hebrew)

Random month

And in that month seasons are changing, there is chag and shabbat, a trip to eilat including the dead sea, ein gedi and a variety of hikes, a week of mechina (dont ask what it is exactly, what it involves or where it is…because i know as much as u do) and then half the girls are doing yam l’yam – 4 days of hiking literally across the country… and this is all what had to be packed for in one bag for a month.

Touring: The Dead Sea

Touring: The Dead Sea

Volunteering packing food parcels for the poor.

Volunteering packing food parcels for the poor.

Bags packed and ready to hike.

Bags packed and ready to hike.

Tafnit '08: Along the Yam

Tafnit ’08: Along the Yam

Olive "picking" (ie whacking trees with sticks until the olives fall)

Olive “picking” (ie whacking trees with sticks until the olives fall)

Planting veggie/herb gardens.

Planting veggie/herb gardens.

The End – Closing Seminar

Some of the girls.

Some of the girls.

The whole group (I think it was on self timer funny)

The whole group (I think it was on self timer funny)

Our amazing counsellors/madrichim

Our amazing counsellors/madrichim

The Western Wall in Jerusalem the night we left. Bye, Bye Israel.

The Western Wall in Jerusalem the night we left. Bye, Bye Israel.

I realise now that I never wrote an email once I got back summing up the year and how I felt it changed me. Maybe back then I couldn’t see it, but looking back to 4 years ago I can really reflect on the different person I am today because of this incredible year.

Firstly I’m so lucky my parents forked out the money for me to have this experience. I really came into myself a bit more that year, and I felt it gave me some preparation for university. I really felt that I’d seen and experienced so much more than those who had come straight from school, or even those who had taken years off to travel. I learned so much about so many aspects of life, Judaism, and myself. I learned independence, how to cope living alone, how to deal with other people. I made some great friends along the way, many of whom I don’t speak to at all, others flew in from Australia to be at my wedding. You really create a bond with these people, and memories and experiences you’ll carry forever.

Let’s just say that 2008 was a pretty great year🙂

I’d love to hear your gap year or travelling stories!

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