Reader Profile: Ryan King


Ryan’s reading happy place is either in his room or dining room, since that’s the only place he sits alone in silence. Although, he hates reading, it allows him to stay focused on his reading. Which is okay, because many other people don’t really like to read either. The current book that he is reading which the picture shows is “Ender’s Game” by “Orson Scott Card.

Ryan mentioned to me that if the current book was a person it would be “like a weirdo or someone who loves star wars.” I believe that he mentioned that because the book seems to be about outer space adventure from looking at the cover and reading the introduction in the back of the book.

The kind of reader Ryan would like to be is for “someone who can interpret things a lot better” after reading a book. “Distractions are holding me back”, he says. Unfortunately, he would read this book “zero times” because he strongly dislike it.

Little girls are the devil//Amado Alfaro-Allah

Back in the day, when I was a teenager before I had status, and before I had a pager… Nah, just kidding. I’m not that old! But when I was younger and had my super cool afro I usually get asks questions about it. “How long have you’ve been growing it out for?” or “How do you wash your hair?” I also answer six months for the first questions and for the second one I usually say “Well I put my hair under the water and wash it”. Every day I would get asked about my hair I kind of felt like a celebrity. The attention wasn’t always positive, though. I would get easily picked out super easily like small children called me out frequently and usually said “Mommy look at his hair” at the top of their lungs. This was always super embarrassing because It would draw a whole lot of attention to me. This was life for me usually, one of 3 things would happen first, an old person would lecture me on my hair and what it meant and it was usually really cool but when you’re in a rush you don’t wanna be mean so I kind of just sat there and took it. Second, there would be the people who think they’re out of earshot of me and either complain about my hair and how it’s “inappropriate” or say it looks like a microphone. I have been called Q-tip so many times I’ve lost count. One time I remember closely is when I was at the franklin institute doing my thing when another run of the mill runt shouts “Your hair looks like cotton candy!” her mom is laughing trying to cover her mouth and I just take it as another encounter of people that I’ll probably never see again. Then she said something really peculiar “Mommy why are you laughing, I love cotton candy!” Then things got weird. I was trying to escape this situation with a well placed “Welp!” but the little girl kept talking about how she wanted to eat my hair and the mom telling her why she couldn’t. At this point, I was really tired and not that angry. Then the little girl and the mom came to an agreement “At least can I touch it?” The mom looked at me and I nodded and sighed in defeat as I squatted down. The little girl reached her hand out and started touching my hair, then touching turned into rubbing, then rubbing turned into a sharp bite and pulling on my head. A handful of my hair was in her mouth and in the confusion I was stunned. The mother quickly pulled her daughter away “I’m so sorry!” she was rambling and whining until I stopped her and laughed really hard “Don’t worry about it, I’m super flattered.” The little girl didn’t seem phased about what just happened, in fact, it looked like she was confused on why I didn’t taste like she thought I would. She then started to cry, really loud which made everyone uncomfortable. When the mom asked her what was wrong the little girl kept repeating the same answer “He lied!, His hair is a liar!” At this point, I was holding in my laughter so much that I actually started to cry. The ignorance of a child is really funny to me what can I say, but what could I say or even yet what could I do to make this little girl stop crying. It’s not like I could pull cotton candy out of my pocket (as cool as that would be) so I started thinking. This was one of the reasons I cut my hair it was giving me a little too much attention then I would have liked and also it was the middle of summer and my head gets extremely hot. Don’t get me wrong it’s kind of my trademark style but I wanted to try something new. Then it hit me there was a cart outside of the museum that sells cotton candy. So I tell the mom and the little girl and she stop crying and her eyes light up. When I was outside of the Franklin institute I saw the girl and her mom buying her cotton candy. I guess when people point me out I should feel somewhat flattered because I get to experience situations like this.

A Questioned Relationship // Carolina Ortiz

“Are these your kids?”

The unexpected question came from a short blonde lady with the most judgmental look I’d ever seen. I was on my way to California from Arizona, and the cashier at a gas station decided to interrogate my mom and uncle just as we were about to leave. She had been suspiciously glancing at us, clearly confused by the fact that they had very pale skin, but my sister and I were a couple of shades darker and looked Mexican.


“That is such a rude question! For all you know we could be adopted. But yes, she is our mom and our dad has a darker skin tone than us, is there a problem with that?”, since I didn’t let my mom answer out of frustration I decided to ask the lady a question of my own.

“I am so sorry, I just thought..”

The rude tone in her voice and disturbed facial expression let me know exactly what she thought. She had clearly assumed something along the lines that my sister and I were smuggled across the border or something just because we were in Arizona and had a darker and more Hispanic complexion than my mom and uncle. Maybe I had overreacted or made my own assumptions, but I was an eleven-year-old with a sharp attitude who was aware of the discrimination going on against immigrants.

This is a first time in awhile that I actually come back to this memory and tried to understand the thought process of the lady from the gas station. However, as much as I’d like to understand her reasoning behind the unexpected question the more I wish I had asked her while I had the chance. Nonetheless, I strongly believe that her opinion on immigration was the main reason for the interrogation. At the time, I recalled hearing about a legislation called SB 1070 that was strongly against illegal immigrants. It required people to carry their immigrant registration documents and allowed officers to enforce federal immigration laws. Officers also stopped drivers if they believed that there were people without documents on board. In turn, many people were detained and often times deported for their failure to comply with the rules of the law. Even though ordinary citizens against immigration couldn’t use the law directly to their advantage they inevitably gained a sense of achievement for the diminishing number of illegal immigrants that were a part of the Arizona population. This thought brings me to my final conclusion that the lady at the gas station’s objective was to try and intimidate us for possibly being immigrants.

I had never experienced something like our encounter with the rude lady back in Arizona before. Perhaps it was because I grew up in the upper east coast where problems with immigration were not as pronounced or maybe because I had failed to talk about the subject with others. Either way, it was not an opportune place to ask a question that very clearly was going towards that topic. The thing that bothered me the most about the lady’s rude question was all the assuming that she had to go through before asking it. I don’t think that I would’ve been as bothered if she would’ve asked the typical question of “Are you guys hispanic”, but instead she went as far as questioning my sister and I’s relationship to our family. It wasn’t even one of those nicely asked questions where the children are complimented for their looks after the parents proudly say they are the parents of their children. The lady had actually tried to pry into business that didn’t pertain to her and all because she had judged us based on our different complexions.

As a latina I have come to recognize and understand that many people in this society will try to set up barriers for latinos because we are oftentimes generalized as immigrants. Those barriers are not physical ones. Instead they are mental ones that intended to intimidate and ultimately discourage us from reaching our full potential on our road to success. However, the one thing that can be know for certain is that I will work as hard as it takes to show that I can be just as successful as any other non latino my age.

Modern age

One day during the 7 grade, I was in class with one of my friends, who was sitting next to me. We were getting bored, we were finished all of our class work about a half an hour earlier than everyone else. He pulled up a new article so that we can stay in touch with current event and so I wanted to look smarter than him so I went and looked up new article. After we started to read some story he read into a story to make him laugh and he showed it to me. Epic Apple Pie Revenge. I gave his a look of disbelief from just reading the title told me to wait until i read the rest of the attic. As I continued reading the article it talked about how a guy who was waiting in line in a burger king was getting annoyed by a m=woman and her child because the kid was loud. As the article goes on he said that he went and bought all of the apple pie in the store because of the fact that the woman-child expressed wanting apple pies and when the woman found out she start to go to him angrily before being stopped from the loud line. When I finish reading I looked at him in a shocked and surprised fact saying “how could anyone do that or offered that.”, He looked at me laughing like I have my face painted by a toddler. As he laughed he said that the mother and kid got what they decided for making to much noise. I looked at him trying to hold in my laughter saying “did you forget that this takes place in a burger king and not the a restaurant they were trying to get fast food and the articlel is only one sided.” as he looked over at me we could see that the both of us really don’t care anymore and so we drop the subject. A week and a half later my school gave us the a new bully policy this year they add on two knew things about respecting each other believes and also to try not to cause anger that could lead to yelling and violence. My friend looked at confusedly saying “Why would they add in the last part about do not do thing that could lead to yelling and violence, not like the article that we read a while ago about the guy buying all of the apple pies in burger king was pulling the mother and child.” “Why would you say that, based on the new paper it would be concluded it bullying because at the at the end of the article it said the woman was going after the man before being stopped because of the long line so you could say that she was going to yell or hit him.” I said looking at his confusedly because of his confusion. “Well we don’t know because the story ended and so we don’t know what is going to happen.” as he was talking he was pulling the definition of bullying on webster. I looked at the definition when he pulled up the definition and I looked at him saying. “Well the is only taking in account because of the fact the it only apply to the stereotypical type of bullying and not taking in account the internet and modern bullies.” as I spoke I could see the confusion on his face. “Well there is no modern bully bullying being mean to people” “No bullying is more than just being mean to people and I know that now in days people are using it more loosely but you can say bullying has not changed just look at the article that we read he is clear that he is being mean to a mother that we can only assume that is a working mother and was taking her kid to get fast food,” I said. “Well you are just assuming a lot it and not looking at what the story said” he said boldly. “You have to assume because for the fact that this store is one sided but you have to admit that bullying has changed for kid beating up other kids for lunch money to People people being jerks for other people for a laugh or being mean to other people because of they lifestyle.”

Cleaner-Ariana Flores

I’d always heard of people getting poisoned in movies and books. In scenarios where an evil senior advisor wants the power all to themselves & poisons the king to gain it. Taking a life only for the sake of fame seems unrealistic. I had never really heard of people being poisoned in my life. That was until, my mom got an unexpected text message.

I was lounging on the couch in my sweatpants and my favorite old t-shirt. It was yet another bright, sunny Saturday and I was bored out of my mind. There were no homework or projects to do. So, the choices were to either go work on my unfinished poem for club, read a new book, or go watch my brother play video games. Watching Tony play video games won because he was so obnoxiously loud I couldn’t possibly do the other two.

“Hey Ana, come upstairs real quick,” my mom called. I hopped up the steps two at a time and turned right, then jogged to her room before flopping on the bed.

“What’s up?,” I asked with my speech muffled in the blanket. I looked up just as I saw her place her phone down on the pillow.

“I just checked on Brian the other day because we haven’t talked to him in a bit,” my mom stated. It was a habit of ours to see how he was doing because he didn’t live in the same state as us anymore.

“He got poisoned,” she sighed with disappointment coloring her voice. Although Brian is 28, and not related by blood to either of us, we kind of adopted him into the family. So this knowledge was a big blow shock. The fact that we no money, nor time to go and visit him

“What?! How?”, I shouted, my tone full of disbelief. I dove to snatch her phone and went to messages, so I could see his words with my own eyes.“This can’t be happening,” I thought. “Things like this didn’t happen to good people like him who had already been through so much in life.”

Ever since he had lived in Philly, then moved Alaska, I’d had questions regarding his departure. Sure Philadelphia wasn’t the nicest town, but I never found out what his line of work was there.

“His drink was served to him with cleaner in it while he was out at a restaurant…and you know because of his lupus he was put in the hospital. There’s no way cleaner could’ve gotten all the way from a maintenance closet or something like that and into his drink. That means there was most likely malicious intent. What is wrong with people?” my mother declared.

The exact same things were running through my mind. It just didn’t add up unless someone had done it on purpose.He had expressed before that he lived in a town where there was a lot of discrimination towards the African American race. This caused us to presume because he had spoken of altercations between him and Caucasians. However, neither of us thought it would go that anyone would have taken it to such lengths.

I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that one of my family members was almost killed. Neither us nor Brian ever found out who possibly put the cleaner in his drink or how this (what could only be explained as an accident from the restaurant) took place if there wasn’t someone involved.

Eventually, Brian was discharged from the hospital and decided to move back to Philadelphia after much deliberation. I was glad to hear the news, and personally, I wouldn’t blame him for wanting to move back. All people have a choice at some point in their life to something right or wrong.

A few weeks after the incident I looked back and shook my head in shame because this is the society we live in today. I just hope our generation is the one to change it for the better.

Ideas Anyone? - Harlem Satterfield

I’m a programmer at heart. I love making games and code for people to enjoy. Whenever I have free time, I’m usually on my laptop coding on Scratch. In case you’re wondering, Scratch is a free online coding tool for games and animations. I’ve made four games so far, and my friends enjoy them!

I first started coding in fifth grade. It was like any other day. I walked into computer class and sat at my desk, staring at the empty screen before me. That’s when my teacher asked us to log on to We were doing something new today. He then instructed us to make an account and start the HTML course on the site. ‘What is HTML’ I thought. I remember it saying, “Write anything between the brackets and click Submit.” I reluctantly did what it said. When I clicked ‘Submit,’ my words appeared on the screen. I was blown away. TECHNOLOGY!!!! This was completely unheard of in my life! I was so excited that I went on to finish the entire course. Now, I’m coding in advanced languages like Javascript and Python. I later found Scratch when I was 13.

One of my games is called ‘Boulder Dash.’ It’s where you have a little character collecting coins while avoiding falling boulders. Each coin equals 100 points and the boulders will drop faster for every 5 coins you get. Sounds simple, right? Good. I like keeping things simple. ‘Boulder Dash’ has an easy concept that can become so difficult. In fact, no one has been able to get past 1700, the high score. I have reset it a few times, but only if I’m testing it for bugs or something. I want my games to be the best they can be.

An older game I made was called ‘Ship Brawl’ (I should give it a better name.) It’s a space-themed two-player game. Basically, there are two spaceships; a player controls each. The goal is to shoot your opponent’s ship five times. I put a lot of work into this game. It’s coolest feature is the speed mechanism, which allows players to have their ships travel in speeds ranging from -10 to 10. You have the power to go super fast and chase your opponent, or show off your skills by flying in reverse! However, I’m not writing to explain my accomplishments as a programmer. A few weeks ago, I went on Scratch, eager to create a new game. I got right to work, but something was wrong. I wasn’t feeling inspired about anything. I was drawing a blank. I tried to think of the things I liked, but nothing came up. My mind was deadlocked and it’s like I was in show hole or something.

For days, I was pacing around my room, desperately searching for an idea. A few came to mind, but I later decided that they’d be too hard or too bland. Among these bad ideas were a pizza-making game and Pong. There was so many things I wanted in a game- multiplayer modes, secret levels, power-ups, you name it. The thing was, I didn’t know what I could do to combine them all. I didn’t show it, but besides my school work, this was a serious situation.

Eventually, I decided to take a little break for game making and focus more on other things. I gave myself a few days to think, and of course, nothing came of it. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I don’t get it, I thought, why can’t I think of an idea? If I have no inspiration, my brain begins to hurt, and when my brain begins to hurt, I can’t focus on anything! To this day, I’m still waiting to be inspired, but I do keep myself alive by actually playing games. Hopefully it’ll help.

P.S. If you want to play my games, look up “UptownAxe” on Scratch. That’s where they are.

Family at its Finest

Eli Zimmerman Miss. Pahomov English 2 29, September 2016

Just to set the record straight: I love my grandparents, as well as my aunt and uncle. However, every three months or so my parents and I travel down to Virginia to see my family, every time I go I’m terrified. It’s just what they think to be normal is completely different from my variation of normal. Both my fathers grandparents come from a Catholic and Republican family. I am Atheist and have what I believe to be left wing points of view. My Aunt Val and Uncle Bryce do not care about politics at all, because they believe each side has a major flaw that deters them from either party. Nonetheless, they still have a very country suburban lifestyle which at time can be intimidating.

My first time going to Virginia I was 10 and out of all the trips we have made down there, this one was by far the worst. I remember getting in the car, ready to drive down to see my uncle for the first time in a couple years. I had no idea what to expect, I was nervous, anxious and excited. So my family made the three hour drive down to Purcellville, Virginia, a suburb of Washington D.C. My uncle lives in an old country style log cabin that is 4 stories with old windows. To get to the house, you have to drive down a gravel road. At this time my grandfather and grandmother had retired, so Bryce had offered up his guest house to them as a permanent residence. I remember pulling up to the house and being astonished by how nice his property was. In total there are two houses, a 4 car garage, a loft above the garage, and a swimming pool. All of this is on nearly 8 acres of land.

As we arrived in our Volvo station wagon I noticed Bryce, Val and my grandparents were all out in the driveway waiting for us. My Uncle Bryce is 6’3 stocky man with a grey goatee that matches his somewhat long hair. My aunt Val is short, about 5’5 and has blonde short hair. I remember getting out of the car and giving my uncle a handshake, I was astonished by the sheer size of his hands in proportion to mine. Bryce can be a very intimidating man when you first meet him because he’s a technical thinker, this means he does not always take into mind the feelings of the person to whom he is conversing with. So he began asking me questions I did not know the answer to, which embarrassed me infront of the whole family.

After his bombardment of questions I went over to hug my grandparents, they lived in Florida prior to the move to Purcellville so I rarely ever saw them. My grandma and grandpa both have an old fashioned parenting style so I had to go out of my way to be super precatious around them, especially when it came to my vulgar sense of vocabulary. I remember after all the hugs and hellos we all went into the house to eat an early 4 o’clock dinner. Once we all sat down my grandfather asked me to say grace and I quickly became terrified, I had never said grace before. After a couple moments of silence my grandfather breaking the quiet by beginning his prayer. After we began serving my grandma scolded my granddad for asking me to say that. I felt so bad at the time, I felt as if I was letting my family down by not knowing how to say christian prayer at the dinner table which scares me now to think about today. How could I have been expected to know how to say grace when I had never been exposed to christianity. Bryce told me later on in the stay my grandfather had done the same exact thing to his kids and it was no big deal. It felt as if my grandad was expecting all kids in our family to know about christianity and a god. By the end of the trip I felt as if I didn’t belong to my family solely based on the fact I didn’t know how to say grace. I will never forget this event because it reminded me how different I am from my family but in reality I am proud of my independence because that’s what makes who I am.

Time cannot be gained - James Adams

“You may delay, but time will not.”-Benjamin Franklin. I have never been good with time, partly because i procrastinate and partly because I lose track of it. The more i grew up the more I understood how time works but I still don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Being focused on time caused me to be forgetful of other things, but being not focused on time made me late and uncaring.

“Jimmy wake up you’re late for school!”

Oh boy. Here we go again. As soon as I hear those words, I already know that I’m going to get slapped and get water thrown on my face because I’m a heavy sleeper. My Dad takes waking up very seriously for some reason even though we’re usually late so it really doesn’t matter

“Ok ok I get it I’m up!” I exclaim. During my 8th grade year, I was late every day so it wasn’t a surprise when I got woken up like this.

“Were gonna be late get up! If your mom finds out about this, you’re not the only the that will be in trouble,” The worst part about being late wasn’t getting beat up by my Dad or being talked to by the principal or the teacher, but it was my Mom.

“Jimmy this is your 4th lateness in a row. You need to pick it up this is your 47th lateness. You need to realize that being on time is important. It interrupts your learning and everybody else’s, I also need to tell your parents,” My advisor explains. Unfortunately, this information went in one ear and out the other, the only word i heard was parents.

When I got home, I was preparing for the inevitable. I heard the door opening a little earlier than usual and I was not ready.

“‘Beep Beep Beep…’ Jimmy wake up it’s time for practice,” I hear my alarm and my mother at the same time, which means it’s time to wake up for practice again. Fortunately, I did all my homework except for one. Usually, when I do my homework, I do all of it except for one and I have no idea why. What this means is that I do it in the car on my way to practice or at school. This usually works out fine for the most part.

“Jimmy, are you doing your homework in the car again? It looks like you’re not done and we’ve arrived,” my Dad says. Sometimes when you plan things out, it doesn’t work out in the end, and this is a perfect example of that. When I said saving my homework for later usually works, I lied. It never works but almost always I can finish it at school.

“Rockets on three family on six!” It was the end of practice and we did the usual chant. We, unfortunately ended a little late, but what I had was faith. Taking the bus to school is the fastest but I Already knew it was probably going to make me late. I also knew that taking the trolley was going to get me there and was consistent, so I decided to take that.

“Of course I get here at 8:10,” I say with a sigh.

Turns out it didn’t work out. Sometimes when you think things out, time just doesn’t go your way. If only time didn’t flow then you wouldn’t have to worry about being late or early, you could have time for anything you wanted to do, but I don’t know if it would be a good thing or a bad thing.

Tech Today - Maddi Etxebeste

Maddi Etxebeste
- Silver Stream - English 2

          “Tech Today”

I don’t know if it’s your case, but I love listening to music and I’m 90% of the time with my earphones listening my songs. I usually have discussions and arguments with my mom, because she sees that I’m with my earphones 24/7 and says that it’s like I didn’t care about the things that are around me. And, well, this can be true, sometimes I put my earphones on to relax and I don’t see what is happening next to me. It’s a way to “disconnect” from the real world for me. That’s the reason why my mom blames many tasks that I don’t do while I’m on the mobile phone.

And all this made me think about, nowadays, it’s like we, teenagers, are addicted to the mobiles phones,PCs, and to all the technology in general. We have “grown up” with them. When I went out with friends, when we finished bored, we all take our mobile phones and try to see if there’s activity in any social media to entertain ourselves. For example, when we’re in a fast-food restaurant and we’re waiting for what we ordered, we’re always using our cell phones, chatting with someone, seeing photos on Instagram, videos on Snapchat, answers and questions on Ask.Fm, etc.

First, I thought mainly in teenagers and young people, you know, but in big cities adults behave in the same way (although it could be because they are business men/women). In addition, technology evolves faster each time, so we want to have the new thing. When we were young we saw the first real mobiles phones, these Nokias, the first generation of “famous” Apple products, Samsung Galaxies , and all this old mobile phones which in those years were the bests of the bests, and that now they’re all old and worn out. What will we become in the future? If we have been got used to all this “new” technologies, how will we be later? If now we’re attached with all this stuff, in the future we won’t interact with the people, we will text them even if they’re next to us; what kind of disaster would it be? Because actually, when someone loses his phone is like if he lost all. Will the humanity, our humanity, disappear? We’ll meet by video-call… What will happen if finally technology invades all the fields that actually exist? No jobs, no income, no food; or maybe, all would be free? We can’t make the people change their personality, so we’ll keep from being addicted to our electronic devices so much.

And I talk about this as a testimony, because I think that most of the teenagers panic when we don’t find our phones. First phones only served for calling and texting, but now, we have Internet social nets, stupid but entertaining apps, the calendar, clock, voice recorder, camera, weather, calculator, note recorder, music, practically all in our cell phones, without needing a TV, a PC or an iPad. Summarizing, we have all in our devices. Anyways, I prefer going out with my friends in the center of Irun, meeting people face to face, asking to friends “hey! If someone wants we’ll be at SJ square at 5 pm, everyone that wants to come can come!” and then walking in the town and see a known face (it happens often) and say “hi! How is it going? See you later!”. I really don’t know what will happen in the future, but our situation can’t change. We are who we are and our being is unique and cannot change easily. In my opinion I just have to accept the reality and that finally all this new technology is winning importance and is invading us, little by little, even if we don’t notice it, even if we think that all this stuff is kinda normal and ordinary thing nowadays.

Planes To Israel Fly Slower Than Time

I bounced on the balls of my feet as El Al’s security questioned my parents in the airport. Why were we going to Israel? Who we were visiting? What was our relationship with each other? This was all new to me as this was only my second time in Israel, and only the first time I went at an age I would remember. I was excited to be going and seeing all the sights, but there was also an anxious feeling at being out of the country for a few weeks.

After the security personnel witnessed my parents’ bickering, it was made clear that they were a married couple, and we were free to move on. Dragging my suitcase behind me, I looked around the airport, mindlessly following my mom. Slews of people moved about, a tangle of different languages hitting my ears. My mom’s voice broke through the other conversations as she directed me into the waiting area. I settled next to my dad, preparing myself for the two-hour wait to board.

A couple hours later, the flight attendant lady’s voice sounded over the loudspeaker, and my dad was telling me people were starting to board our plane. There was a lot of jostling and unwanted breathing on the back of my neck, and I began to feel a little bit sick from nerves. Once on the plane, I grabbed onto my mom’s arm so I wouldn’t get lost among the people in the aisles. We found our seats without incident, and I settled down for a twelve-hour flight, thinking about how I would fare navigating a hectic airport by myself.

Many naps later, I groaned as the pilot announced the descent of the plane. It started to go down, causing my ears to pop and making my stomach lurch. I ground my teeth until the plane landed, bumpily, onto the runway. Exiting the plane was a little bit wobbly for me, but I managed to make it into the airport without toppling over. Finding our bags was relatively uneventful. Supposedly, we would be meeting a small group of other students’ relatives once we got to the hotel in Jerusalem. Getting to the hotel seemed pretty easy at first. It wasn’t easy at all. Cab drivers in Israel don’t care, and once we did get a cab the language barrier was fierce. I realized this would become the norm if I decided to come here. My dad was able to communicate where we wanted to go without too much yelling, and the driver helped us cram the large luggage bags into the cab’s trunk.

Eventually, my family and I were safely deposited in front of the hotel. There was little hassle as we met the group of other students’ relatives, found our hotel rooms, and set off to visit my sister and the other students. The building was tucked away on an almost hidden street. Everyone filed in through the doors and were greeted by the corresponding student, and we were given a small tour. That night, I had my first dinner in Israel, and it really left something to be desired, especially compared to the foods we got later on. Since it was Shabbat at the time, and the head teacher was religious, there were a lot of chanting before we ate: acknowledging the Sabbath, blessings over the challah and wine, and thanking the Lord for this day of rest. I didn’t participate in singing with everybody else, but I listened for recognizable words. I was slightly disappointed in the quality of the main course, but there were plenty of persimmons to eat afterward. During the dinner, I was able to catch up with my sister and ask her questions about what Israel had been like for her so far.

As we toured through Israel, we would also be sitting in on some of her classes and visiting different family sights with her and the other students. My parents kept reminding me that I would be doing this in a few years. I figured four years was plenty of time, and I was actually excited about doing this myself. However, now that the time to go is less than a year away, those few weeks I spent in Israel barely seem like anything compared to the few months I might be spending there.