Ten minutes ago, I lugged my two heavy suitcases into our apartment - that's right folks, I'm officially here in Jerusalem. My plane ride was decidedly less eventful than Daniel's. I sat next to a quiet Israeli high school student and exchanged a few smiles and some small talk with her, but mostly read a novel (I Married a Communist by Philip Roth) and tried to sleep.
After they turned on the lights and we'd already eaten breakfast and I was settling down to finish my novel in the hour before the plane landed, I glanced over at the window and saw the most beautiful sunrise - stunning oranges and yellows in sharply defined stripes against a dark, clear sky. By the time we landed (7:15 AM Israel time) the sun was already up and I could see the palm trees by the runway, standing self-assuredly on the sandy soil as if they were there to remind me, personally, that I wasn't in Charlottesville (or Toronto) anymore.
Already, in the short shared taxi ride from the airport to the apartment I could feel myself straining to understand all of the new sights and sounds - listening in on conversations in the taxi, trying to understand the news on the radio (and failing miserably), trying (and failing again) to get my bearings and understand where I was based on the maps I've looked at and the books I've read. It all seems a bit overwhelming, and alarmingly real. This half-baked plan I had of going to Israel for a year, this idea that's been in the works for a long time but always felt like a novel I was writing about a possible future, rather than plans for an actual one... it is actually happening. So I here I am.