After not very much sleep, I went to get breakfast and learned that we would be evacuating that day. This plan gave us no time at all to get used to the idea. We met for what was supposed to be a discussion of the literature but instead needed to be a giant figure-out-all-the-plans session. Lori was trying to work the phones and coordinate flights in accordance with the destinations we each required; meanwhile, we fidgeted and joked and laughed and cried and played a few games of hangman. At one point an impromptu aerobics dance workout broke out.
There was a strange, surreal kind of tension that none of us quite new what to do with. We personally knew we were safe. We’d seen rockets intercepted above our heads, we’d read headlines of attacks, we’d heard sirens and run for cover. And yet we knew by that Wednesday morning that thanks to the Iron Dome, no harm was going to befall us. But this was beyond our need for a sense of security or lack of such a need. Flights to Tel Aviv were beginning to be cancelled by many major American and European airlines, and Northeastern understandably panicked in the face of such a high stress situation and decided not to take risks with the lives of 16 students and a professor. So home we would go.
Once the flights were finally sorted, we were given time to pack and say goodbye to Israel before we were to leave. Jon and Alex and I went to the beach, where Jon collected seashells and I stood in the waves and got my dress wet. It certainly is a beautiful beach.
On the way to the airport, Elan suggested that we each say a few words to try to bring some sort of closure to this very intense experience. It was nice hearing what everyone had to say; everyone was sad to leave, but it was obvious from each speech that we’d had a great three weeks while we were here and that we each deeply respect and like each other in a way that is rare with such a large and diverse group. For my part, I feel extremely lucky to have gotten a chance to get to know each of the characters in this experience and I look forward to seeing them back in Boston.
The line at Ben Gurion airport was extreme – it seemed a lot of people were trying to get out while the opportunity was still there. We flew to London and were put up in a hotel for the night, then the next morning most of the group headed back to the States while two of us stayed over on the European part of the world. I’m certainly going to miss all the people.
– Maggie Clark