February 17th marks my 4 year anniversary in Israel. So much has happened in such a short period of time that writing about it would take a few hours. So I won't bore you with the details of the two stints of reserve duty, or the two promotions at IDT, or meeting my fiancee, but instead, I'll bore you with a few stories of the days leading up to my departure from the good ole US and A.
While getting ready to leave the US, I said goodbye to almost all my good friends from high school and university. The only person whom I had not had a chance to say goodbye to was one of my closest friends from uni, Brian. While pretending to study for SOM (School of Management) tests & helping to manage the fledgling Binghamton Club Footy team during my second year in Binghamton, Brian and I had become close friends. We shared many a good times and I was rather disappointed that I wouldn't be able to say goodbye to him due to his touring of Oz & New Zealand. The second to last weekend, the Binghamton crew took me out to a bar in New York City. As I walked in, a familiar face was already there smiling. Brian had decided to cut his trip short to say goodbye to me. After my usual 'faint' antics, we spent the night talking and laughing like the good ole days. It reminds me of a quote from S.E. Hinton's That Was Then, This Is Now: "If you have two friends in your lifetime, you're lucky. If you have one good friend, you're more than lucky."
Waiting in the coffee shop in Newark with my 'rents a few hrs before my flight was due to depart for Tel Aviv was extremely difficult. Being very close to them, I knew I would miss their constant warmth, love & support. In those same moments of sadness and teary eyes however, I could see how proud they were of me. Their eldest son was following his dreams, taking a similar path they had followed as young adults, and trying to plant his roots in Israel. It was still hard to hug and then kiss them good bye. As I walked away to the entrance gate, I still remember their faces from the glances I took as I turned around ... that rare emotion of 'Happy yet Sad' etched on their faces.
Four years ... I still remember writing the entry about three years and within the blink of an eye, I'm sitting here, engaged and still happily looking forward to life in this wonderful country. Here's to writing an entry on #5!