First off, I want to acknowledge that I'm not Lebron James and I don't think any decision I make is worthy of a 75-minute long TV special. I do believe, though, that I owe it to my loved ones who thought I'd soon be living in the same state as them, my loved ones who thought I'd soon be living in the same country as them, to explain my change of heart for the upcoming academic year.
In the words of King James (really not meant to spark any drama, actually not a Bron Bron fan...he's just so. damn. relatable.) :
"In this fall...this is very tough... in this fall I'm going to take my talents to Tel Aviv"
K, I might've changed the last bit of the quote but I'm trying to make a point here, people.
This fall, I will not be attending Teachers College like I intended to. Just to address some immediate thoughts and concerns - No, I did not get my acceptance rescinded or anything. No, I am not making aliyah. Yes, everything is and will be okay :).
Had you told me when I had just graduated college that I would eventually attend grad school for education and I'd get my degree from Columbia, I would have laughed in your face. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined applying and being admitted to an Ivy League. And never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined turning down the opportunity.
Here's the thing. I am still madly in love with education. My ultimate dream is still to become an LAUSD elementary school teacher. I just have also fallen madly in love with a country.
I am currently writing this post from paradise. ACTUAL PARADISE. I'm in Mykonos, Greece and I'm staying at a hotel where their breakfast buffet includes copious amounts of lox and cambert cheese. You read that correctly. ALL OF THE SMOKED SALMON AND BRIE THAT MY HEART DESIRES. I am here with my favorite person (my mom) and I know that in this moment I am the luckiest girl.
There is part of me, though, that is itching to get back to Israel.
I'm itching to get back to a place where women who are old enough to be my grandmother's grandma shove me to get to the freshest produce first. I'm itching to get back to a place where I gamble with my bus pass on a monthly basis hoping that maybe this time my card will already be activated. I'm itching to get back to a place where I constantly struggle with a language barrier. I'm itching to get back to a place where I'm literally making $250 a month and cannot afford to splurge on lox or brie cheese. And to me, that says a lot.
I'm not living a glamorous life in Israel. I'm not necessarily even living an easy life...certainly not as easy as life in Beverly Hills. I'm not tempted to stay because of the "Taglit/Birthright High." I've lived in Petach Tikva, the city many Israelis refer to as the "shithole of Israel" (it's not a shithole at all... They're just dramatic) because it's so boring and basically all old people and I'm STILL in love with the country. And I know I'm not ready to leave just yet.
One large driving force in my life has been the fact that I never ever want to look back and regret not taking an opportunity. I am confident that I won't look back and say "God, I really wish I hadn't taken that time to live in Israel and not go straight to graduate school." School will always be there. It may not be Columbia, but I have faith that what is meant to happen, will.
For those wondering what exactly it is that I'll be doing in Israel - I plan to continue teaching English! This summer I will get my TESOL certification and use that to "make better happen" as we used to say in City Year. And I finally get the chance to live in Tel Aviv!!!
To family and friends in New York - I'm so sorry. I'm sorry to have disappointed anyone, that's the last thing I would want to do. I truly believe this is the right move for me. And to continue on with the Lebron reference, he followed his heart and won rings! And then came back home (and didn't win a ring BUTTTTT never mind that's not important).
I don't really know how to wrap this up, sooo here's a Shel Silverstein quote that accurately sums up how I feel. 'Cause elementary education.
Here's to another amazing year in this frustrating and crazy, yet beyond wonderful country!