Love Part 1

I want to write about love and growing up. My first love was Julia. No, not that kind of love. Just hold on, please.

I finished school a year early. I was restless and broke and wanted just one thing – to travel. My mother had one basic guideline (well, two basic guidelines. The other one is to always, ALWAYS, have a clean pair of underwear) – if I wanted to travel I had to do something worthwhile. I couldn’t fly to Europe to work. So in November 2009 I flew to Europe to volunteer. I volunteered in Greece at a wildlife hospital on a small island called Aegina. By chance, six other Israeli’s were there, and we built a tight knit family.

22358_232590947277_6760748_n

After a month the group dispersed and I decided to wander onward – to Italy! I found a place I could volunteer at, a small countryside hotel in Perugia, about an hour north of Rome.

The day of my flight from Athens to Rome, after an incredible month with people who had become my second family and heading towards the great unknown of a new country, I found myself at 4 in the morning unable to sleep. I wandered through Athens’s grey streets in the cold morning air and somehow found myself near the main square. The night before it had been full of lights and people gathering around the huge Christmas tree, now only litter was left. I entered a small shop and as if by instinct, bought a Kinder chocolate egg, cigarettes and a lighter. Now, I have never smoked and don’t even fully understand the mechanics of it. Somehow though it symbolized my transition into adulthood; the chocolate – my childhood and the cigarettes my adulthood. I can still see myself clearly sitting on that bench, eating chocolate and trying to smoke a cigarette, understanding that I was undergoing something immense.

In Perugia I met Julia, an American girl who was also volunteering at the guesthouse. We spent a month there, occasionally changing sheets and swiping floors, going out for lots of pizza with the owner and his boisterous Italian friends and accompanying guests again and again to the local chocolate factory.

22358_237644292277_6327241_n

After a month my money ran out and Julia was scheduled to leave. I set up a business meeting with my sponsors (mom and dad and my grandfather) and asked for a loan to stay another month. The plan was authorized and we went ahead with the logistical arrangements.

We had an amazing month – traveling by train from Perugia to Florence, Bologna, Verona and Venice, then flying to Catania in Sicily and traveling to Syracuse, Agrigento and Palermo before flying back to Rome. We stayed with locals through “Couchsurfing”, survived on baguettes and cheese we would ration out for several days, and the occasional cappuccino.

23831_340855317837_7873046_n

It only struck me how strong Julia and I were connected when we arrived in Catania. Julia needed to withdraw money from the ATM while I stayed and watched over our bags in an internet cafe. A man came up and offered to sell me some peanuts – suddenly it hit me that I couldn’t possibly go through this experience by myself. Minutes later, Julia returned and exclaimed the same thing. Spending almost every waking minute of two months together tied us at the hip. I understood then that two is twice the joy and half the pain. 

23831_340782432837_6085712_n

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s