Over a day and a half of traveling from Denver to Chicago to Amman, Jordan to Tel Aviv, Israel I arrived into this experience that blew my mind and changed me forever.
A little past midnight I am waiting for my luggage, exhausted and irritable. I find out my luggage is lost and I will not have my clothes for another five days. I get into my apartment to discover that cold showers would be daily and that all my easy mac packets would be useless since there was not a microwave.
I was having a rough start. But soon after all these things became irrelevant.
Tensions were high when I arrived due to the disappearance of the three Israeli’s, but I was unaware that I would witness the start of a 50-day war.
Once the bodies of the teenagers were found, Jerusalem was hot. I witnessed riots of the Israelis trying to attack the Palestinians in Jaffa Square in the midst of chaos.
The following day, a block from my place, a Palestinian boy was murdered. A huge riot exploded, the light rail was shut down and from then on the light rail did not go any farther than my stop.
I arrived at the scene of a riot, feeling out of place.
|A Palestinian uses a long pole to destroy the light rail stop.
|Palestinians throw rocks, behind their hand made shelter, at the Israeli soldiers across the street.
A few days later I visited Sderot a town that was getting bombed 40 times a day with only 12 seconds to run to the bomb shelter. I kept telling myself it is a good thing I can run fast!
In general, my day-to-day experiences showed me the reality of another life. I realized how much more there is to life than in the U.S.
|In Sderot, Israel. This is part of a playground that is made as a bomb shelter in case the sirens go off while the kids are playing. They have twelve seconds to get to a shelter.
I learned to adapt to a culture and country who are forced to face war so often that they have bomb shelters and an anti missile defense system.
|In Hebron, Israel. A city with high tension that requires security checkpoints to get from one side of the town to the other. Only Jewish people are allowed on certain streets and only Palestinians on others. They can't cross without proper ID.
The University of Denver spent time and money on my return to the US. I stayed in frequent contact with the International Studies Department, specifically with Kathleen Horn and Denise Cope, who ensured my safe return through I-SOS, DU’s evacuation company provider.
I was the first American Airline flight to depart from Tel Aviv after the airport had been shut down due to a missile landing a mile away from the airport.
Israel confirmed my ambitions to explore the most adventurous and the most eye-opening experiences of the world.
I have future career goals and aspirations as big as the earth. But it is hard to say which path I will take because it depends on the timing and what opportunity jumps at me first, but whichever trail chooses me, I will create more paths and opportunities to explore.
And the path will be perhaps as an international reporter, a war correspondent or even a backpack journalist.
As long as I am exploring, feeling, and learning about the world we live in, I am fulfilling my path.
I want to analyze, report, see, feel, and speak about the world and international conflicts. I want to be the female icon for women journalists, experiencing firsthand and leading us into another world.