I Was Supposed to Be in Israel Right Now, But...

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Mike & I were supposed to go to Israel on March 19th. Did I tell you that? Well, we were. Following a surprisingly rigorous application & interview process, we were absolutely thrilled to be selected as participants on a Honeymoon Israel trip with a bus full of other couples from Cleveland.

We were scheduled to spend 10 days in Israel – 10 whole days of shuk shopping, camel riding, history learning, Goldstar drinking, Masada climbing, falafel eating, & friend making in the Holy Land.

And then coronavirus started to spread.

Mike works in tech & AI, so he started to worry before I did. That fact, in itself, got me worried, as he's usually the one of us with the "Whatever, this will be fine" attitude toward safety. As Google, Apple, & others started canceling events, he began to question whether we should be planning to travel abroad.

We didn't want to be the only ones to back out of the trip, mainly because we worried it would mean that we probably couldn't get on a future trip – but as the news ramped up, we decided we were going to bail, no matter the consequences.

On March 5th, two hours before our group's trip orientation, we got a phone call that officially delivered the news: The trip was off.

Initially, some participants seemed surprise, angry, felt that it was an overreaction. As U.S. fears started to ramp up, though, the Israeli government's precautions seemed increasingly appropriate. Our trip organizers planned an in-person gathering here in Cleveland; that too was soon canceled.

So here we are. By now, I'm on day nine or 10 of quarantine. Who can remember at this point?

I thought I'd spend these this time feeling devastated about not being in Israel, but March 19 came & went last week without my even realizing what day it was.

I expected to be daydreaming of Israeli breakfast & Jerusalem stone & the sun over the Western Wall & those thick, familiar accents. Instead, I'm just daydreaming about what life was like before this all started.

Life has changed so much in the last few weeks that instead of missing out on the vacation we didn't get to go on, I primarily feel devastated not to be missing, well... living normal life.

And what is normal life now, anyway? This is the new normal, it seems, & even if – when – the pandemic is finally contained, there's no pretending that things will suddenly be as they were. No, everything is going to be different after this. Everything is different already.

I'll save the rest for a future post, because God knows there will be plenty of time to write in the coming weeks. In the meantime, yes, I'm mourning the Israel trip we didn't get to take, but more than that, I'm mourning the lives we no longer get to live – all of us, around the world, in whatever form that takes for each of us.

There is no going back. There is only surviving the present & looking to the future – & as the saying goes, the only way forward is through.

Stay safe out in there, friends...

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