Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Get the best from the worst" by December blogger of the month Ashley Voroba

A smart person gave me a piece of advice during the recent conflict:

Get the best from the worst.

It’s not really the same as “make the best of it,” or “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  It’s a little bit different. 

While most of my classmates went home following the announcement canceling school, I stayed in Israel.  For a lot of reasons.  The biggest reason was that I never had plans to go home for Winter Break in the first place (since my mom is coming to visit).  Another reason is that I didn’t really feel the need to leave. Most importantly, I knew I wouldn’t get a drop of studying done back in the States.

I think it took me about a week to really get my head on straight after everything that happened.  Living in uncertainty and feeling powerless takes a toll.  For days after the ceasefire, I compulsively checked the news, holding my breath as I hit “refresh” on Ynet’s update page, looking for an answer to the simple question “why?” and knowing I wouldn’t find it.  I checked no less than three news sources each day, feeling unable to really trust any of them to be accurate or unbiased.  By now my news consumption has dwindled nearly to pre-conflict levels, though I think I’ll never really look at news the same way again.  I was reminded during the conflict that while journalists strive to portray the accuracy of an event (some more than others), there is no such thing as “the truth.”

Returning to Be’er Sheva after the conflict was strange.  Most of the people I know here had left, making it seem very quiet.  And suddenly I had nothing but time.  No classes, no exam schedule announced.  I forced myself into a routine of waking up early and trying to study, though I wasn’t really sure what to study for.  Thankfully, a few friends were still here, and I think we helped each other return to sanity and normalcy.

I’m not sure I was able to exactly follow the advice I received, but I did squeeze some great things out of my unexpected free time.  I finally made it to yoga (in Hebrew) and found time for spin class (also in Hebrew).  I bought some cold weather necessities like a space heater and an extra blanket (yes, it really does eventually get cold here).   I spent some time exploring Be’er Sheva and the Old City.  And I found the best spots in the library for studying, places with windows and quiet.  Living with uncertainty is part of life here, and I think I’m learning to be ok with that. 

Maybe that is the best from the worst.  - Ashley Voroba, December blogger of the month