A lot of people say the secret to happiness is living with low expectations, but I disagree; how can you possibly be happy if you maintain a pessimistic outlook? Instead, I have adopted the no expectations approach. In my last blog, I had grumbled about the lack of information given to me about my program, but my ignorance worked to my benefit regarding my two-week quarantine. I wasn’t disappointed at the dingy apartment we were placed in, and I was surprised and pleased when the program manager mentioned we could sit outside. When I told anyone that I had quarantined for two weeks they flashed a pitying smile and asked if I went crazy. But, in fact, I enjoyed two of my most relaxing weeks ever. Although I was cooped up, I experienced an unexpected sense of freedom. Usually, when you have time off from school or you’re on vacation, you feel pressure to do something: meet up with friends or family, have a cultural experience, cook something… But since we couldn’t do anything in quarantine, we could just be. My roommate and I spent our days reading, exercising, sitting outside, and watching Israeli tv shows (pro tip: watch a show on reduced speed to improve your language skills).
Of course, despite a rather pleasant quarantine, we left the second we could. We had a free week before our program started, so like any youngster in Israel with time to kill, we headed to Tel Aviv! We had a blast doing the usual activities: going to the beach, buying fruit and chachkas in Shuk HaCarmel (the Carmel Market), and roaming the slightly disheveled, art-deco streets. We did, however, have one rather unusual experience. My friend read about an outdoor play at the Jaffa Theatre in the Jerusalem Post and asked if we could go. I had lacked cultural stimulation for the previous five months due to Corona, so I jumped at the chance to see a play. I was surprised that I not only loved the play but also understood most of it! We were so impressed with the acting that we approached the actors and asked them to sign a program as a memento. They stared back at us incredulously, so flattered that they invited us to their next show! I hope we can make it, but I’m not setting any expectations in stone.