I am sitting alone on the beach and it is sunset. I have just spent a beautiful week visiting a friend from my Taglit trip a year earlier. We were staying at Hotel Miguel, a shady little hotel, but right on the beach. He speaks little English and I speak little Hebrew but we shared an unexplainable connection. He has left for work and I am waiting to be picked up by another friend from Taglit. As I sit on the beach I think about the wonderful friendships I formed on my previous trip to Israel. I think about how different our lives are although we are the same age. I am a senior at an American university, studying for a semester in Rome, Italy and they are just finishing the army. In one way, however, it seems that we have all arrived at the same moment in life. We are beginning a new chapter of our lives, and we are free to go wherever our hearts take us. As I sit there I have an epiphany. I think that I can do anything, go anywhere, as long as I follow my heart. At this moment, while I watch the sun set the waves on fire, I feel at one with the universe and at one with these friends with whom I shared two weeks exploring Israel. We come from different places but we are all heading in the same direction.
I was 15 and came to Tel Aviv with my family and spent the summer at my Dad’s TA apartment, on Ben Gurion corner of Dizingoff. It was 1994 or 1995. My father had a sailboat in the marina that I used to love sailing. Our family made some new friends with another family from Herziliya. They were being nice to my grandfather who lived in a tiny shack there that was built in the 1920s and hasn’t changed since. Anyway, they had 3 beautiful, blond, muscular sons. I was at the height of puberty, felt totally awkward and totally crushing on two of them. My father invited them for a day of sailing on our little boat. It was a glorious day! Everyone laughed, a few people fell into the gross water in the marina, we ate watermelons and dropped anchor in the sea and all dove in to swim in the middle of the watery vastness, with the Tel Aviv horizon spread far in the distance. We sailed back at sunset, went to my father’s apartment, everyone showered and there was no more hot water left. Then we went to a “workers” restaurant and had a big table spread outside on the sidewalk. We ate pickles and shishlik and kebabs and I think it was the most delicious meal I had ever had.
I’m not sure if this was an “Unexpected feeling of oneness with the universe” but it definitely made me feel at one with myself. And my family, and my environment. A sense of belonging.