A Zante

So, I happen to be working as a secretary in a cooperative and I also happen to be bored. Sitting all day in front of a laptop looking for research institutes for the cooperative is not fun and archiving documents is definitely far from the best way to spend my last weeks at home.

Let me take some time to organize the tangled mess that I dare to call thoughts and clear some stuff up. This is supposed to be something for the incoming DP1s, but will most likely be a rant.

 

You’re willingly going through an exile.

Now, this chick is dramatic, you would say, but  my experience has pretty much been similar to an exile; an exile that I have embraced slowly and I have loved so far, but still an exile.

A few weeks ago I had a heated debate (euphemism) with some people and I realized that for the first time in my life I had questioned my belonging.

Trieste is the place where I was born and where I grew up, but maybe it’s not where I belong anymore. But, then again, if I don’t belong to the place where I was born, where do I belong?

Not to EMIS, for sure. EMIS is something ephemeral; it impacts me a lot, but is not somewhere I can belong to for the rest of my days.

Maybe I belong to myself, but isn’t that constantly transforming? Why am I even worrying so much about belonging?

I have just noticed that this thought process was partially initiated by my friends back home having expectations towards me. You know, they expected something that I was not. Pretty much like two incident lines travelling away from each other once they collide, never touching each other again. An exile.

As I mentioned before, exiles are not necessarily bad. One of my favourite poems was written by a man in exile, and it says:

Nè più mai toccherò le sacre sponde
   Ove il mio corpo fanciulletto giacque.
(Foscolo, A  Zacinto)

 

Never will I touch your sacred shore again
   where my young form reclined at rest.
(Ugly Wikipedia credits)

Now, the poem is extremely dramatic, but the truth is that I will never see Trieste again as I used to see it before I left, and that’s because we keep changing and mutating.

And maybe that’s where the belonging problem solves itself: I belong to a spark of life.

Or maybe I belong to chocolate.
Enjoy your last weeks at home buddies, you’ll have plenty of time to be scared by weirdos like me.

Sincerely,

A ranting idiosyncratic DP2 (not really DP2 tho)

 

 

Written by: Caterina Barbi
Edited by: Shy Zvouloun

 

EMIS Packing Guide – Back and Better Than Ever

Dear DP1s,

Time is flying and the reality that you’re about to leave home and move abroad is beginning to hit. If you’re anything like we were, your nerves will be building, you’ll be packing and unpacking your bags, and looking at your flight tickets daily, trying to check and double check that you’re really about to do this. Future DP1s, let us tell you: you’re really stepping out into the great, big world.

As exciting as that is, you can’t do that without your trusty suitcases, filled with little bits of home that will keep you going through the inevitable, and sometimes seemingly endless, moments of homesickness.

Your DP2s have, therefore, lovingly edited the packing list that was provided to us when we were in your positions. We know how you feel, so here are our suggestions for you:

Number one: bring laundry bags. You will be washing your laundry in a common laundry room on a specific day each week. Lots of girls or boys will share the same machines, therefore we advise you to bring a laundry bag in order to keep track of your stuff, especially small pieces. Additionally, it would be smart to write your name on tags within your clothes, as they go missing almost as frequently as do your hours of sleep.

Number two: bring some of your favourite food. You will eat in a dining hall, and though we don’t want to spoil it for you, many of you will get tired of the food in the dining hall, fast. If you bring yourself some comfort food, you may just give yourself an extra boost of energy and optimism when you need it most. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t hesitate to bring your sweets with you.

Number three: bring shampoo and toiletries from home. Of course, it is always easy to get a hold of some in the area in local drugstores, but during the first month, a bottle of shampoo and conditioner from home could help in your transition from home to dorm.

Number four: bring a lamp. Light is a topic that constantly arises within dorms and between roommates. Bring your own lamp so you can still do whatever you need, while your roommates can sleep. It may be your saving grace during all-nighters and on exam prep days.

Number five: bring some of your favourite pictures with friends and family members to decorate the wall near your bed and your desk area. A little reminder of home never hurts, and will allow you to truly personalise your space, making you feel more comfortable.

Number six: Flip-flops are life at EMIS. Bring a pair of flip-flops, as they will be your go-to shoes wherever you have to go, from the dining hall to school to Ramat Hasharon, the town nearby.

Number seven: bring a sleeping bag for overnight trips; you don’t want to be sleeping on the floor or without a blanket during those often-cold nights.

Number eight: bring an external hard drive to back-up all your documents once in a while, because you definitely do not want to lose all of your important files; rewriting IAs and EEs is not what you want to be doing with spare time.

Number nine: traditional clothing. If you have some at home, take it with you. It is always nice to share with others.

Number ten: socks. Bring lots of them. Dark magic happens and they may disappear.

Number eleven: a bathing suit or bikini or swimming shorts. There is a pool in the Kfar (abbreviation for Hakfar Hayarok, the Green Village), so you may want to cool off in there on hot afternoons.

Other helpful items include:

  • If you are delicate with light or noise while trying to fall asleep, consider bringing a sleeping mask and ear plugs. Compromises about lighting and sound in the dorm can become difficult to make when the work starts piling up.
  • Pillows and blankets are provided by the school, but after using these for a year, us DP2s recommend that you bring your own. A personal blanket or pillow have been proven to be useful and far more comfortable.
  • If you want to bring your phone, you can connect it to the school’s WiFi. A simcard can also be purchased from 10 NIS onwards. We mostly use Facebook and Whatsapp to communicate, so having a phone would be quite useful.
  • You may want to bring a camera to take your own pictures. However, others have been doing a great job covering all events, and many people only use their phone cameras.
  • Even though you are coming to a country full of deserts, it does get cold. During winter, temperatures can drop to 10C or below, so bring winter clothes and a winter coat to keep yourself warm during those chilly times.

 

Lastly, here are some extra quotes from some of the lovely second years, straight to you, about what they suggest bringing:

Tamara K.: “A big water bottle, didn’t realize how important this was until later on during studying. Recipes for easy traditional food.” (You’ll soon realise most of us are foodies here.)
Caterina B.: “Your favorite mug, a homie blanket.”

Edoardo R.: “Food. And a lot of underwear.”

Ameen H. Y.: “Posters, or something to decorate your walls with.”

Moe J.: “A lot of white shirts!!!” (You will soon find out why, and discover the wonders of Shabbat dinner.)

We hope these tips help you. Do know that we are all so excited to welcome you to our home, dear DP1s.

In the meantime, safe travels and see you soon!



Written by: Shy Zvouloun (DP2)
Edited by: Sofia Arthurs-Schoppe (Alumni)

Refugees Welcome

THIS IS A PERSONAL OPINION AND, AS IT HAS BEEN DEVELOPED AND EXPLAINED BY A YOUNG HUMAN BEING THAT KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT THE WORLD AND LESS ABOUT EXPRESSING HIS IDEAS; ERRORS AND IDEALISM CAN BE FOUND IN THE WORDS THAT FOLLOW.

This last month has been a complete chaos. I guess I am not the only one at EMIS that thinks that the experiences that we have lived through together have been enormously intense; from goodbyes and homesickness to amazing trips and deep talks on a roof with views of the Mediterranean Sea. The sequence of events has been emotionally draining. Hopefully, after this last week of exams everything will go back to normal again.

Due to the personal series of occurrences that I have gone through, many ideas and thoughts have been going back and forth in my mind. Some were banal. Others were not. But I overcame most of them. However, there is one that doesn’t go away: the videos of the evacuation of Idomeni.

Being away from Europe and meeting people from all over the world has taught me to look at things in a different way. This time, when I read the news coming from Greece through the eyes of Spanish volunteers, the pride of coming from the Union had completely vanished. In a place where you are representing your country every day and you are expected to love it or at least appreciate it, it was a harsh time. On the one hand, I was disgusted by the decisions made by our leaders, who are voted in by the citizens. On the other, I looked up to the courage and humanity of the volunteers at Idomeni that shared my nationality, those that were trying to help as much as they could, fighting against the walls (literal and metaphorical) that the governments have been building up against the asylum seekers.

I recently visited Yad Vashem (the Holocaust museum), and the only beautiful part of the museum, as well as the one that touched me the most, was the trees planted for The Righteous Among The Nations, the people that empathized with the drama that Jews were suffering and tried to help them by saving them from the Nazis. Due to this, many educational systems are now based on, and emphasize, empathy.  Yet, when it comes to reality and decision-making, politicians forget all the things that they learnt at school and put up another wire of concertina. Of course, not all of them are the same. There are some that hang huge “welcome refugees” placards that challenge the thoughts of the right side of the interesting political spectrum.

I agree with all of you. It is scary to host a person that you don’t know in your house. It is human to feel afraid of the unknown, and even more normal if it close to you. However, all the humanity that Europeans say that they have is destroyed when they see refugees flooding in, onto their paradisiacal holiday beaches, and they continue eating their huge beefsteaks. I must warn you now that you may also feel the same as I do if you come from countries that do everything they can to get oil from the Middle East, and think that Spain is a state of Mexico, or if your country, founded by refugees from all over the world after the Second World War, closes the borders to a group of individuals and tries to kick out or somehow “re-educate” those that are still inside their walls.

Still, I find reasons to believe that this dark episode in history will be overcome, and we will regain the category of Homo sapiens. I will list for you here some reasons that helped me to get to this conclusion: EMIS, the volunteers in Idomeni and around the region, Madrid, Barcelona and the network of refuge cities, UWC, the many NGOs that work to restore peace around world (or establish it for the first time), the brains that some people still claim that they have and the first graduated class of EMIS.

Written by: Andres Oliva Lozano
Edited by: Shy Zvouloun

Home is where your heart is.

“Home is where your heart is” -Gaius Plinius.

A very famous phrase I have heard in recent years, which is very wise. Home is the place where we were born and raised throughout our lives, where our heart is. Although my heart is in the place when I was born and grew up, it is also somewhere else that marked my life, where I lived unforgettable moments that I will never forget. As you travel to special places, special moments in these places become a part of you.

And that is what happened with this place. After this year, I realize that this place is part of me; my heart is here. A week ago I had the opportunity to travel outside of Israel for a week where I experienced one of the best weeks of my life, representing my country. When I was on the flight back and saw the Mediterranean coast near Tel Aviv, I smiled, knowing that I had come home. I knew that I was arriving back to the place in which I had been living for almost a year, to that place where I have lived great experiences, to that place where I have been happy, sad, stressed, excited and a lot of other feelings, to that place where I have met great people, to that place in which I have learned a lot about myself and about many things that have made me grow as a person. I had arrived to that place has shaped me in some way. I had arrived at one of the places where my heart is; I was arriving here. When I was at the airport and I heard the language, and read a bit again, I realized that I was back, this time to end the year.

Indeed this place is part of me. It is my home, and I know that the goodbye will be sad, but that is life. Everyone will take a different direction. Everyone will go to different places, and these will also provide us something special, which will also be a part of us, a part of where our heart is. Because life is so; as you experience amazing things in places, these places will always become your homes even if you do not live there anymore. These will always be your homes, because home is not just a place. Home represents several places; home is where you feel that your heart is.

Written by: Danilo José Angulo Molina
Edited by: Shy Zvouloun

 

Daimon. Δαίμον.

Daimon.
Δαίμον

Daimon is the Greek derivative for the term demon. In this sense the term “demon” means “replete with knowledge.” Daimons were considered to be guardian spirits, giving guidance and protection to the ones they watched over. (Urban DIctionary)

Thursday mornings start too early. It doesn’t matter if you have Math class, or you might fall asleep in Politics. Thursday mornings simply start too early.

Today is one of those mornings. Those that started too early to function, those that make your eyes ache and your head explode, and that’s why sometimes you have to write down stuff, to organize your thoughts (although I should probably listen to Bob).

 

With time, so cliché, it turns that out you understand a few things. A few days ago, I realized I had daimons. Not demons, daimons. Those who give guidance and protection.

Well, I had daimons. They left. I’m not blaming them, can you blame anyone for moving on with their lives?

No, I’m happy they left. This is a goodbye letter, or rather just my very bad way to tell some girls how grateful I am for having met them.

 

This is for my δαίμονες.

For the girl that I will miss coming back to the room and not seeing dancing to the notes of Selena Gomez, that very same girl who would invite me on her bed and let everything out, or just listen to me. That’s the  δαίμον that came up to me one day and told me: “I like you, do you wanna be roommates?” It sounds a bit weird and crazy, but it hides so much beauty. It’s the beauty of getting so used to each other than when one of the two leaves, you don’t cry because it does not feel real. It feels like she’s going home for a few weeks and she’ll be back sooner or later, complaining about how she missed the room and the vibes, yet almost cries about the food in the dining hall.

For the beautiful human being whose voice and singing I will miss coming back to in the room, and not seeing her lying in Miriam’s bed and enjoying the pillows. That very same girl who, damn, has never moved her mat to the room, although she should have. That’s the δαίμον that would sing me Disney songs in Italian, because in two different countries, not knowing of the existence of each other, we shared very similar dreams, watching Mulan. And once again, there is beauty in that. There is the beauty of two girls living away from home and taking care of each other, hugging each other during exam period or begging each other to go to sleep, or to eat. I didn’t cry for this δαίμον when her taxi turned left and disappeared behind the circus because it didn’t feel like she was leaving as well.

I cried for my third δαίμον, probably because I finally came to the conclusion that they were all leaving me. That’s the δαίμον that would text me at 1 am before mocks and ask: “Hey boo, wanna chill?” And it doesn’t matter how many Arabic drills you have to finish, or the fact that Wenger gave you a Practice Paper for the day after, you will say yes. You will go and walk to the stables and chill with coffee, talking about life, school or simply adventures. I’m sort of getting tired of repeating it, yet it is amazingly beautiful. It is beautiful how much relief few good words can bring to a soul and how a world, a new world, can be unveiled by a question, or a ‘Let’s do it’.

This was a personal letter, I have to admit it, but in the end, it all comes down to the fact that wherever life spreads your δαίμονες, what you learned, what you enjoyed and what you lived; it all stays with you. And damn, you will meet them again, I swear, you don’t get rid of them that easily.

 

God, this was so cheesy.

Written by: Caterina Barbi
Edited by: Shy Zvouloun

The Going Home Soundtrack

“Here am I waiting

I’ll have to leave soon

Why am I holding on?

We knew this day would come

We knew it all along

How did it come so fast?” (Maroon 5: Daylight)

“Have me a good time, before my time is up” (Pitbull: Time Of Our Lives)

 

“Closing time,

time for you to go out,

To the places you will be from” (Semisonic: Closing Time)

 

“I was here…

I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted

And it was more than I thought it would be

I will leave my mark so everyone will know

I was here…” (Beyoncé: I Was Here)

 

“I can’t believe I’m leaving, ooh” (Simple Plan: Summer Paradise)

” I’m coming home

I’m coming home

Tell the world I’m coming home” (Diddy: Coming home)

“.. I’m leaving on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again” (John Denver: Leaving On a Jetplane)

 

“I been travelling too long” (Lana Del Rey: Ride)

 

“Here I come, but I ain’t the same” (Ozzy Osbourne: Mamma, I’mcoming home)

 

“But if you close your eyes,

Does it almost feels like

Nothing changed at all

And if you close your eyes

Does it almost feel like

You’ve been here before? (Bastille:Pompeii)

 

“Give me a second I

I need to get my story straight” (Fun.: We Are Young)

 

“I remember everyday” (Soja: Rest of My Life)

 

“I had the time of my life

And I never felt this way before

And I swear this is true” (Black Eyed Peas: The Time)

 

“Those days are gone,

Now the memory’s on the wall.” (Swedish House Mafia: Don’t You Worry Child)

 

“I’m gonna find my way back” (Simple Plan: Summer Paradise)

“You can always come back…” (Jason Mraz: 93 Million Miles)

 

“Take me home.” (Semisonic: Closing Time)

“I will find my way

I can go the distance

I will be there someday” (Hercules: I Can Go The Distance)

 

Prom EMIS Girls

 

Written by Anna Kraeftner
Edited by Sofia Arthurs-Schoppe
Photo Credits for Prom Image to Sofia Klyuch
Repost from June 18, 2015

Letter To My Friends

Hey there,

It’s 2 o’clock in the morning and I am sitting and thinking outside of the school, on one of the swings. I just finished watching a romantic movie; “Love and other drugs”. Sometimes I feel romantic movies are a waste of time because they all end the same, but still, they are nice to watch.

Where was I, yeah, right: I was thinking (yes, I have a brain, in case that was the joke that crossed your mind). I have been thinking (and not) about so many things recently. So many! I can say I was thinking about life, but we subconsciously know now that “life” is a very general term to discuss and should be narrowed down. So, I was thinking about what’s next, and what was before.

You hear the phrase: “These two years…in these two years” a lot, but it has not just been two years, it has been a freaking lifetime of ours. This is just another level of it. There are all kinds of things that have happened to our beings and have shaped us: family, friends, strangers, events, losses; all the slaps and kindnesses life have given us.

And, you climb all of these stairs. Let me correct myself: you run* all these stairs. (I get the fact that you might be someone that takes the stairs slowly, but if you’re like me, you don’t). Of course, there are not just stairs there: there is a garden with beautiful tulips (that’s my favourite kind of flower), a mountain, an ocean and always some more stairs. You always want to walk up the stairs, but sometimes you are out of breath and you have to take a break, sometimes you have to climb that huge mountain, and other times you feel like almost drowning in that ocean’s water. I understand that.

Where was I, yeah, right: the next step (coming up soon huh?). Well, some of you know what they are doing, others don’t. What is for sure is that all of us went through a lot during this period. A lot.

Some of you are calm; you have a settled place in a college/university (maybe this was not the college/university of your dreams but it’s still okay). Others somewhat know where they are going but they have some damn useless conditional offers (hi!), so they have to wait a little bit more (‘cause they haven’t been waiting long enough!). You there, find all this idea of deciding so overwhelming; or things didn’t go as you expected, so you want to take a gap year (and you have all these ideas of what to do but all of them start with the word “maybe”). Oh, sorry! Hello, you! Yeah, you’re are not sure as to what you are going to do in a couple of months yet. That’s fine! I admire you a lot for that, by the way. Oh, sorry again! Yeah, I forgot, you are going to that other “school”. What was its name? The IDF? Yeah, I know! Sometimes, you don’t really have a choice!

Remember I talked before about life events and how they shape you? Yes, this is one of them. Just one of them! However it will be-gin, it is going to contribute to the ‘future you’.

What you can do now is make the most of the days that remain before you are officially a high school graduate. Talk to the people you wished you had talked to, ask out the guy/girl you always liked but never had the courage to before (this last one seems hard terrible to do, but trust me, it isn’t), grab a beer with your friends or lover and chill by the beach (no houseparent is reading this, right?). You have done everything you can, so the only thing you can do now is wait for what is coming.

After you finish reading all of this, you might think that it was so cliché (some things are like romantic movies, to be honest), and that you have heard all this bullsh*t a hundred times, but it certainly made me feel better and I hope that it made you feel better, too.

See you around.

 

Yours,

Majlinda

 

Written by: Majlinda Xhaferaj
Edited by: Shy Zvouloun

 

The Mistakes of our History

Hello, dear readers.

This year is the first year that I am not in Ukraine on the 9th of May.

This date is not just important for me. This date has changed the history of our lives.

This is the day of the victory of good over evil. This is the day of the victory of life over death.

This is the day of victory of the Soviet Union and its allies over the Nazi Germany. This day will always be my favorite day of the year.

For as long as I can remember, all of Ukraine, Russia, and other ex-Soviet Union countries, have celebrated this day. We have concerts, parades and festivals everywhere. Even 71 years after the end of the war, we still have the glory of our victory all around us. All of Ukraine congratulates her heroes, who protected our land from the occupants. Instead of the usual “Hello”, people say to each other with tons of pride, “С Днем Победы!”, which translates to “Victory Day”.

Since I was born, the 9th of May has been a special day for me. As the Second World War was not just war between Soviet Union and Germany, but was a World War, where most of the world participated and sacrificed at least 53 million lives, I assumed that the whole world would celebrate this special day. Apparently I was wrong. I was so pissed off when no one mentioned the word “Victory” during my first 9th of May in Israel. Internet, streets, our school, no one and nowhere mentioned that this day somehow connected to World War 2.

I was shocked. With my attitude to this day, with 17 years of celebrations of the 9th of May, I saw total indifference here. Wow!!! Millions of lives and destroying the whole of Europe was simply not important anymore. Do only the memories about the Holocaust matter here?  The state of Israel wouldn’t exist if Soviets didn’t put the Soviet Union flag on the Reichstag! Our world would be different without this victory! Jews wouldn’t exist without this victory! For Jews this day should be the day of God’s salvation! The whole of Europe should celebrate this day, if not the whole world. However, I didn’t hear even one European speaking about victory in this day.

This is our past. We should be grateful for our great grandfathers who didn’t allow this world to collapse under the Nazi regime.  When I speak about celebrations, it shouldn’t be like in my country, where people still remember the whole pain of those times, but it should at least be a  minute of silence, showing that people respect those soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our future.

Moreover, there is one more story to tell.

On that day, when my perplexity was at its peak because of people’s indifference, I was studying in a room with a Slovenian Moldovan, and with my friend from Bosnia (ex-Yugoslavia). I said “C Днем Победы” to my Moldovan classmate, because Moldova was a part of the Soviet Union. I expected a positive reply. However, he said:

“Victory? Victory of what? Evil over Evil?”

To be honest I didn’t even understand this at first, and I asked him to explain to me what he meant.

“Okay, yes, Soviets won in this day, but how many bad things did they do to Moldova afterwards? All of our intelligentsia was sent to Siberia to build buildings for Russians. Our territory was divided, as Stalin wanted, without any consideration of ethnic people who lived there. You cannot celebrate the victory of bad over bad, because the Soviet Union was terrible. Think a little about how Germans live and enjoy their lives now and how poor our countries are. Now, there is a question: who won more from this war?”

I personally think that this opinion can also exist. Really, the Soviet Union was terrible, I agree. All of the things that the Soviet government did to countries that were not considered to be Russian was terrible. Soviets killed cultures, languages, people and everything that could differentiate countries from themselves. All those who didn’t like the regime of Soviet Union and communism were killed without any justice. Those were horrible times, and we still have consequences from it. Now our countries cannot be governed normally, because there are no leaders who can do it. All leaders were killed or murdered in the Soviet Union. We still have brainwashed societies with no perspectives and goals for life, with the old system of education and old technology. All of these are consequences from our past. That’s why it looks like we are the ones who truly lost that War, not Germany.

However, despite everything, the 9th of May is NOT a day of celebration of victory of the Soviet Union. It is a celebration of victory against the Nazi regime. It is the celebration of victory against ideology that killed millions of people. It is the celebration of finishing the war and the beginning of a new life. For me, this day is special and always will be, because this day changed the lives of each one of us. Memory about those who lost their lives, because of someone’s ideology, will always be with me.

“In Europe, journalists asked me “Why do you care about this victory so much? We forgot it already and moved on.” I asked them: “How many days were your countries fighting against Hitler?” Silence. Then I continued: “Poland was occupied in 28 days, in these 28 days, Germans in the Stalingrad occupied only three houses. Denmark was occupied in one day. All Europe was occupied in three months. And our soldiers had to release you from the Nazi occupants. How much were we paid for it? Millions of lives of our soldiers were given for releasing Europeans from fascists.” But Europe prefers to forget about it” – V. Lanovoy.

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Author: Daniel Onyshchenko
Editor: Shy Zvouloun

 

 

Home Away From Home

“You will never be completely at home again. Because a part of your heart will always be elsewhere, that is the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place” – Miriam Adeney.

***

Living in an international community, you have to face the dilemma that your heart is divided into different pieces, each of which will be buried and will forever belong somewhere that is not your home country; you always mentally head to a place other than where you are physically. It is because you have more than one family, more than one home to long for.

You realize you have another home, from a little home in your own room to another home in a different country, where you never imagined of being able to come before, let alone having a family there. You know that you are truly living at a home away from home when…

…when you have a mommy and some aunties in your room. You don’t say ‘Go to my room’ but ‘Go home’ instead❤.

…when you are warmly welcomed by a Turkish family, are looked after as a little daughter by a Turkish mother, are taken to everywhere in Istanbul and are given presents for Christmas and new year as a member of the family.

…when a Palestinian mother spends the whole afternoon preparing a traditional meal for a group of international students, including you.

…when you help a Palestinian mother with cooking, teach two little sisters knitting and see them smile.

…when you are hosted by a Jewish family during Passover, joining a hand in the process of preparing for the important holiday by doing small things like arranging flower, slicing potatoes and helping with food.

…when an Italian father comes and picks you up to have dinner with an Italian family and keeps telling you: “You can come and visit us anytime you want”.

…when you plan a trip around South East Asia with your roomies and you realize that besides the flight ticket, you hardly need to pay for anything else.

…when your friend tells you that he wants you to come visit him in the next winter break.

And the list goes on.

***

There are only 2 months left, well, not even 2 months. It is only one month and 23 days, to be exact, until the end of the school year; until the day I head to the Ben Gurion airport with my two huge suitcases, travel for 33 hours to go back to my little S-shaped homeland, touch and walk on my soil again, bathe myself in summer rain, use chopsticks to eat rice (and Phở of course).

Facing the future, I am pretty sure about that feeling of overwhelming happiness and running through my whole body when imagining me being at home, chilling and eating in nearly 2 months.

But reflecting on the past, I do not know what I feel precisely about the path I have been walking, with more than one home, more than 100 kids from 40 other countries in the world. It is something more than happiness, greater than pride, deeper than gratefulness, mixed with a little of regret, a bit of sadness and a spoon of incredibility. That feeling is ambivalent and ineffable.

***

Do you believe it is our destinies that in a world of 7 billion people and 196 nation states, you and I meet each other, right now and right here?

Do you think it is a miracle when we, strangers from different corners of this big world, converge in this place, live under the same roof, make a home and become a vital part of each other’s life?

Me? Yes, I do, as I always say even though I have been waiting so long for an acceptance letter from Hogwarts and unfortunately, it never comes, it does not matter anymore. Not at all. Because I am at my Hogwarts now, and I have my own magic. Having more than one home is magic. You guys are the magic that happens in my life.

I just want to say, thank you all, for being my home and for everything.

***

Author: Linh Ha
Editor: Shy Zvouloun

The Invention of Wings

“The Invention of Wings” tells the story of Handful, an African American slave in the early nineteenth century, and Sarah Grimke, the girl Handful was given to as a birthday present at the age of ten.

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This book, more than anything else, made me think. I had read about slavery before, of course, but this book made it painfully clear to me that all people involved were, indeed, human. Humans with brains and feelings, humans who cared for others, humans who sometimes knew they were doing the wrong thing but were too comfortable in their position to change their actions. The book describes Sarah’s fight to achieve equal rights for both African Americans and women, and it presented in front of me a society that truly believed these two groups did not deserve these rights. To add to that, after finishing “The Invention of Wings” I found out that Sarah was a real woman, and that many of the book’s storylines were real events that occurred in her life.

In addition to that, the book is beautifully written. I have to mention I read it in Hebrew, but what sounds good in translation usually sounds even better in the original language, and this whole book “sounded” good. I’m a person who loves quoting, and “The Invention of Wings” has many lines worth quoting. The story is told from both Sarah’s and Handful’s points of view; and the author manages to create a different voice for each of them, which adds both to the beauty of the book and to the depth of the characters.

“The Invention of Wings” was a great read, and it is recommended to anybody who want to get lost in thoughts about the human nature, or just to learn a bit more about the American history (or, possibly, both).

Author: Adi Yakoel
Editor: Shy Zvouloun

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