For the most part, living in Israel is amazing. I have met some incredible people- loving, funny, smart individuals who have become family. I have seen amazing things- the Old City of Jerusalem, the streets of Tel Aviv, and the Sea of Galilee. I have taken the first steps toward becoming a doctor- starting medical school, learning to place IVs, and studying constantly. While life here is very different from life in the U.S., I found myself adjusting quickly. After all, the life of a student is similar everywhere.
However, the last few days have shown just how different life in Israel can be. While there have been occasional rockets since I arrived, this Wednesday marked the beginning of something new. Over the last 48 hours, over 60 rockets have landed in Beer Sheva, with many more blown away by the Iron Dome (an anti-rocket defense system). Thankfully, no one in Beer Sheva has been hurt and there's been little property damage. The warning sirens go off, and you have 60 seconds to reach shelter. Given that the sirens have been going off several times a day, sometimes several times an hour, there's no escaping the fact that life has changed.
After a sleepless night spent running to the hallway (our shelter), my roommate and I decided to try a more creative approach. Our living room is also a shelter, so we pulled our mattresses into the living room, built a blanket fort, and have been hanging out in it ever since. It adds an element of fun to an otherwise stressful situation. We also decided to sleep in, have a no-homework day, bake cookies, and listen to Christmas music (I know, I know, it's too early). The result- our day off school because of rockets felt more like a snow day.
It's hard to describe how my life feels the same even though I live in such a different place. Maybe it's because I haven't ventured outside yet. Maybe it's because I know this is where I'm supposed to be. Maybe it's because I'm sleep deprived. I hope and pray that things might calm down soon, so that everyone can be safe and I can return to my life as a busy med student. But this is Israel, and in Israel, nothing ever goes as planned...