Scientists recently discovered that zoning out can be vital to your ability to concentrate at school or work. This fact comes to my mind as my spontaneous tour guide Dani, begins his last informational lecture of my two week tour of Israel. I know I should be listening, but my mind slowly turns toward the glistening, mesmerizing, turquoise waves of the Israeli coast. My eyes spin around gazing at each member of the tour as they mindlessly take in gallons of information that has become, utterly insignificant to me. My whole trip, which has been moving faster than my mind can wrap around, and it has finally caught up to me. From the first night, where the vibrant orange sands met the purple reflections of the stars, to the day before’s tour through the markets lining the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem. I had finally realized, how exhilarating and memorable this trip truly was.
My mind began to scramble, as it tried to take in the vast amount of information, I had been ignoring for the last twelve days. I knew I only had a few more hours to explore and roam the foreign city of Jaffa, because I could see the planes flying into the airport nearby. I began to pace around like a teacher deep inside a lesson, but I was the opened eyed student taking in facts like a sponge. Walking in circles, I had a feeling of slowed time, a strange feeling, a feeling that everyone around me froze.
“Mom! Mom! Mom! Dad! Jack! Let’s go come on. I want to see what's over there,” I yelled.
My parents and brother were still captivated by the rapid flow of words coming from Dani, so I began to look around. My eyes saw strange pillars and dusty brown bricks, which date back to the first Turkish empire. I saw local businessmen happily speaking to customers selling bread and shawarma. The people of Jaffa were not interested in their possessions and money, they only wanted to have a happy community where everyone feels welcome. I couldn't understand why it took me so long to realize the strong examples of togetherness, that the Israeli communities cherished and exhibited.
Finally, Dani finished his lecture, and it was our time to walk the old streets. Without looking, I snatched my parents hands and yanked them away from the lookout point towards the market. We walked into a narrow passageway full of sizzling spices, rainbow cloths, and many excited people. With every step a new conversation was able to be heard. Even though these conversations were in ancient Hebrew, I could still understand some of what they were saying. I could hear the bickering of the market, the catch-up of friends, and the squabbles of enemies. My mind was having trouble processing all of the colors, senses, and feelings. I was truly overwhelmed with happiness.
I pushed through the last vibrant and beaded cloth of the market, and the beaming sun I saw before, was almost gone. The calm waters of the Mediterranean were glistening under the fading sun, and the flickering light of soaring planes turned my direction to the airport. The long day had taken me on two journeys, one physical and one mental. The first, was through the brilliant market of Jaffa where I endeavoured into the local life. Second, the more important one, was learning how much information was actually in front of me. The major take away, was that I just need to slow down and reflect on what I’m doing, because I can learn much more that way rather than just blindly pushing through.