Less than a month to the beginning of this amazing experience which gathers together high school students from all over the world in a school designed for high top education – the Eastern Mediterranean International School, shortly known as EMIS. As the time passes the emotions each of us has become stronger and many questions arise out of curiosity and you could easily say – without knowing everyone yet, but from the way we individually see this upcoming journey that we are all different from each other and still kept under the same roof by an essential common point – our enthusiasm.

For me, knowing that I am going to live in Israel for two years in such a diverse background is still a surprise every day I wake up because I remember how it all began and can’t believe how close to it I am now. It was my Computer Science teacher who told my classroom about this opportunity and I felt like applying just to see if I am good enough to be accepted. And when I saw I got in, my inner battle became a mix of happiness and excitement against fear and sadness. I knew from the first second that I couldn’t turn down the offer because I am a traveller and this is what I do: I accept challenges and I always go further. I go see the world every time I am given the chance and by given the chance I don’t mean all I do is waiting for the sun to shine on my street, I mean fighting to get the green line so I can take off.

So I knew I have to go because deep inside I was craving for this kind of adventure and my proof for this stands in trying to find an affordable IB school in my country a while ago and having on my “to do list” the following wish: “Be part of an exchange programme during high school and study at least a semester abroad.” And this is where the power of faith changes everything. I had given up these dreams long before I found out about EMIS. I thought it was really too late for me to accomplish those, but at that moment I believed in them so much that eventually they turned into reality in an interesting way of fate’s game – and later is better than never.

Some of you might ask themselves where the fear and sadness came from in this story if this situation didn’t occur to them too. Well, I am an optimistic person and all this should have been about the joy I feel while thinking about all the great things that are waiting for me in Israel, but if it had been only about this then I would have had to lie. And this is because I realise this is not one of the trips I went in until now, this is me leaving my home for good as life will keep its usual steps after graduating from EMIS. This is me having a stop on my stairs’ way up, laying between steps in an imaginary place, thinking about what I am leaving behind before I can think about what comes next. I never look back and now that the school year beginning is almost here it would be so easy to get lost into packing, making the last arrangements and chatting with the new classmates, but I have to let a tear fall for the things that are not going to follow me there. Maybe it would have been easier if I wasn’t going to leave in the middle of everything since I was still leaving next year to go to university. The difference is that it would have been the time when most of my friends would have done the same. Anyway, they are staying and I am changing plans, leaving like people leave the cinema before a film ends. What it bothers me is that even if I like to think of myself as an independent person I realised now how much I am going to miss everything. Maybe I am exaggerating, but you might have felt this too, at least once. When you see you have grown up and you’re packing and see there is a memory everywhere in your lifelong home. When you realise you won’t be able to share your pieces of jewellery with your sister or mother anymore, when you won’t have to walk your dog 3 times a day and this time you would love to, when you think you are at the saddest moment of a romantic comedy and you are waiting for that person to tell you to stay and you try to believe that his or her feelings are kept a secret because she or he don’t want to stay in your way and want you to fight for your dreams. When you are speechless on every social media your new classmates use to get to know each other because you don’t really know what to say to equal their level of excitement and you don’t want to seem not involved or too enthusiastic, when somehow you still find this too good to be true and that is why you are afraid something is going to happen and someone will tell you it was a joke or you were just dreaming – never be negative as I did with this, because you never know how one day you’ll open the TV and the country you are going to move in is under fire because of an old searing conflict with the whole world watching; for sure seeing this kind of news compel you even worse than life memories and life-changing decisions  to review and re-evaluate your past, present and future, but hopefully the situation is going to come to a peaceful end soon. There were also voices around me who told me not to go, giving me a variety of reasons, especially the “finish high school one year later, oh, you’re going to be 20!” problem without realising that I am not losing a year of my life, but going to live it to the fullest.

But now let’s leave all the fears behind, shall we? I am sure you did it long ago, it is just me who needed more time, needed a summer like a tear, a tear which separate melancholy from joy and joy from melancholy, because there were both there and the joy seemed like a betrayal to all that I haven’t got the chance to do in my hometown, but not anymore. Now I can already feel the scorching heat of Israel, the smell of Middle East cuisine, the curiosity of meeting everyone and the thirst for knowledge because I am sure I will learn a lot from this amazing opportunity. It’s time for me to let the tear of happiness fall on my cheek and embrace this new beginning. The more good news I receive, the more excited I am about it and preparation is done, I’ve done it in my heart. Now, do we race each other to the starting line?

– Raluca Ciubotariu

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