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My Spirit Animal: Stanley Yelnats

You all know the 2003 classic movie Holes? Where a kid gets hit with a pair of shoes, gets sent to a detention camp, which actually leads him down the path to reverse his luck? It is basically my life since moving to Israel's city of Be'er Sheva.

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My name is Amanda but call me Cave(wo)man


I am born and bred in Long Island New York. My life hasn't been cursed up until now, but it hasn't felt like my own. I was a typical Long-guy-land girl; spent summers at Jones Beach, know all the 24 hour dinners in a 20 mile radius of my house, and when I was old enough I moved to NYC.

I feel like a caveman because I never felt like I belonged in this time. I like when friends just show up at your house, no need for plans. I like seeing and hearing kids playing outside. I like home-cooked meals! I like turning my phone off for days on end and just living. I have been called the grandma of many a group because I don't snapchat, or DM people.

That all changed when I went on....

Birthright, or camp for young Jewish adults


I came to Israel for 10 days and it was eye opening for me. It was not anything like I thought. People weren't riding around on their camels and hanging out by the watering hole. There was a vibrant culture with many different people, religions, nationalities, and views of the world.

After Birthright I wen't on a Masa program, which is like a sleep away camp (I like camp). I was living and working in Israel and learning how much I didn't know. Also learning that I fit in, in a weird way. That my grandmother tendencies were just part of the culture here!

Although sometimes it did feel like I was at a rehabilitation camp, I know now every difficult time I experienced in Israel was for the best. Shedding some of my expectations and preconceived notions about how life was supposed to be was very difficult but I am soooo much happier now!

After some time I moved here to Be'er Sheva. The desert....

The Negev


Now I don't go around digging holes here in the Negev, but I did build some character and make some friends.

One of the hardest things I have ever done in my life is move to a city where I didn't know any one, didn't have a full grasp on the language, or understand what hot means.

Like I said earlier I am from Long Island. It gets hot there but nothing, and I mean NOTHING prepared me for the heat that fill you up from the inside till you breath fire. I basically stay indoors all summer because my fair New York skin cannot handle the weather. But, and a huge but, is that I have never felt more connected to the people around me. It takes one good complaint to break the ice and I was breaking ice with people all over the place. At bus stops, supermarkets, restaurant owners, and just the random people I met on the street.

I just went through my second summer here in Be'er Sheva and I noticed a huge change in myself in the past year. I have grown accustomed to the weather, a bit, I have learned more of the language, and I have actually stayed connected with the people I complained to. Many of my friends now are people who have had the same shock as me but are a few steps ahead. It is nice to have people to lean on who truly understand the struggles you are going through.

Now on to my Onion Moment....

The Onion Moment


For many people comfort food is mac and cheese, or pie, or Matzo Ball soup your mom makes. I like those too, but nothing compares to a greasy onion ring. It must come from all my late night diner visits.

It is hard to feel at home when you are not with your love ones, and I don't know about the rest of the world, but the next best thing to family for me is food. Here in Be'er Sheva they make a horrendous attack on my favorite food! The shred onions, put it into ring form, and then fry it! The anger running through my fingertips as I write this is real. But, in December of last year, I found a place that forever changed my life. BBB (Burgus Burger Bar) has a dish called Burgus rings. They are real onions! Cut thin! And Fried!!!

I finally felt like I was....



I know it sounds petty to have onion rings be the source of feeling like I was home, but hear me out...

When so much new is happening to you at once; new country, new language, new culture, new foods, new people, you cling to the small things that remind you of home. And like I said before I never really felt like I belonged in New York.

Here there are some positives and negatives to all the new.


I get a fresh start.

I made friends easily here by just trying to speak Hebrew to them.

There are many more people in my situation that I can easily connect with.

I get to open my mind and surprise myself with how much I don't know.


New is hard, lonely, confusing, and frustrating.

But you know what is not hard, lonely, confusing, or frustrating???

Onion rings!

I now feel like I am home for many more reasons than onions, but it is where the turning point was for me.

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