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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

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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

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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

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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

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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....

HOME!

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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.

Positives:

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.

Negatives:

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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