In two days I will return to a place I left 16 years ago, almost to the day. A place I intended to return to 8 weeks after my departure. Life happens I guess and 16 years later I’ m stunned that I have been away for so long. From a place I love so deeply and where I found my true north.
When you’re almost 23 years old, have seen a fair bit of life and decide that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be – dropping it all and heading overseas can be a make or break.
I like to think that my year of joy was something that I hold with me every second of every day and that it has shaped the person I am today.
How to explain the change in lifestyle from living at home to free living on a kibbutz, sharing a room with two perfect strangers from different countries and a bathroom with three boys plus two perfect strangers?
How to comprehend the concept of kibbutz living and the uncomplicated acceptance of us strangers into their homes, their dining room, their lives?
How to understand the feeling of belonging in a place you have lived only for a while but where you could happily stay forever?
How to say, I can’t take that job looking after the children because a thread more attachment would have meant never returning to the place where I was born?
And the heartache of saying goodbye and crying for three straight weeks because you’ve never been so homesick, didn’t fit in anymore and just wanted to go back to your place in the sun?
And made lifelong friends who understand me to the depths of my being. Where I never had to pretend to be something I wasn’t and was loved for it anyway.
It was also the place where my name metamorphosized from Lauren to Barbara to Barbie. Long story……..the name change is the short version of how I came to be who I am today. And every time I use my gmail or twitter accounts it’s a small daily reminder of who I want to be.