The Sparkle in a Nation This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I was ten and the summer was drawing closer. My friends and I crowded around the wooden tables in our fifth-grade class. It was time to share where we were embarking for summer vacation. While most said Florida and one said Italy, I murmured “Israel.” My friends turned with questioning faces and raised eyebrows. “My grandma lives there. I’m going to visit her.”

For several years Israel was under a lot of pressure fighting Palestine in order to be an independent nation. A breathtaking country was hidden under this shadow of bombs and terrorism. Because of this, my friends misunderstood my trip and wondered why I was going. “There are bombs everywhere,” they said. I tried to convince them otherwise by telling them I had been there before, and that bomb explosions were only what CNN portrayed.

Now, I couldn’t care less what they thought. I didn’t need to prove anything. I didn’t need to provide evidence that the Dead Sea is one of the most beautiful and historic places you could ever stumble upon. If you think New York’s falafel is great, you haven’t ­eaten all the kinds Israel offers. The smell of the salad coated with white sauce and hummus, and the falafel bundled up in pita bread make me smile. They don’t know that although Lebanon and Israel have been through a holy mess, at the border, Rosh Hanikra takes you to alluring views from grottoes where you can see the phenomenal blues of the Mediterranean.

I’ve experienced these sights five times. It never gets old. Every time I visit I stay in the city of Akko. I go to the beach every day and sunbathe and play on my boogie board in the Hayam Hatikhon (Mediterranean) alongside my brother, waiting for big waves to force us onto the shore’s sandbar. My dad comes to pick us up and treat us to some falafel. We can’t tell Grandma because she’d yell that we will spoil our appetite and not eat what she prepared.

One day, my father took us to a water park near the Jordan River. Even after the enthusiasm of the big water slides, we didn’t tire of the lakes and natural water next to the park.

We drove to see the Jordan River that runs through Israel from Jordan. There, we listened to my dad’s stories about the kibbutzim (working communities) and experienced the fresh-cooked fish from the river brought to the prominent restaurant Ein Gev, on the resort of the kibbutz.

These were all part of my last and most memorable trip to the country that is celebrating 60 years of independence. On the way to the airport, my brother and I rested in the back, enjoying our last views of Israel. Along the horizon, the sun was setting and I began to tear up; I was wishing I’d see the sun shining like that again. Soon, night fell and so did the stars but it was still just as striking because of the soft breeze. Then, with a sad good-bye, we took the next flight back to New York.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

kittykat123 said...
Apr. 3, 2010 at 9:00 am
Nice story. I wish I could go to Israel. My uncle did and showed me pictures. It is a beautiful country!!!
 
michelle boian replied...
Apr. 21, 2010 at 8:19 pm
thank you =) And yes it is a beautiful country, I highly reccomend it.
 
blue jay said...
Mar. 4, 2010 at 2:44 pm
nice story
 
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