Slowing Down

Sitting in the hostel my first night in Florentin I knew that the minute I could be in my apartment by myself and enjoy the stillness I would be set.

It’s happening. Right now.

Blasting music from a playlist made in heaven from a new friend. Sitting in one of the dresses I bought yesterday during our mad hunt for t-shirt dresses, which was too successful; budgeting starts next month. I’m about to cook? Yes, you read that right, I am about to cook. Going to attempt to cook without tasting anything since it’s currently Yom Kippur and I’m fasting? Read that right again.

I’m starving.

Kicked off Yom Kippur with a walk down the middle of a major street with some of the semi-religious girls on my program. Followed them into the temple, walked upstairs to stand with the women, while the men stood downstairs with the breeze from outside cooling them off and their view of the service completely clear. The 30 seconds I spent upstairs I was dripping sweat and couldn’t see a thing. I wanted to see the separateness, I saw it, I felt it, and I left.

Religion is still not something I’ve connected with, I’m not sure it ever will be. I appreciate the tradition that comes from it, the togetherness, the song, and the food, but the chanting and praying and reading from the torah hasn’t moved me, and I’m okay with that. The desire I have to fast comes with being a part of this religious state. It’s not just a minority in America trying to make it through a whole day of not eating a bagel with lox, it’s an entire country turning everything off, wearing white, repenting, being still and feasting once the sun goes down. You best believe I wanted to be a part of that.

I walked back to Florentin from the temple last night and devoured a homemade plate of chicken parm and pasta, what was supposed to be our last meal for 24 hours. Forget the bottle of red I bought from my vegetable man before he closed and the pretzels and turkish salad that I fully enjoyed post sunset (when you’re supposed to stop eating), and we can say the parm and pasta was my last meal.

The coolest thing is that I can see a certain bliss through my hunger. If I was sitting in Deerfield right now I know the hangrieness would be pouring out and the idea of three more hours with no food would for sure move my body to the pantry and binge on a bag of Doritos. It’s weird that I’m sitting here satisfied with the next few hours of nothingness until I hear the shofar and can throw down containers full of chicken, sweet potatoes, zucchini and chocolate wavers.

This bliss is different than I thought I would feel. Life in Florentin is pretty normal and normalcy was not what I expected. I fell asleep mid-movie yesterday and woke up to move to the couch and start a different movie. The wanderlust part of this program is still very present, like this morning when we left to find the highway and walk alongside bikes, skateboards and scooters on the busiest streets of Tel Aviv, it’s just evened out with the familiarness of Netflix on a quiet day.




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