On Thursday June 26th, I arrived to Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport with a warm welcome (both literally and figuratively). As we were descending to our destination, we were blessed with the view of Tel-Aviv’s infamous beachfront view, which was indeed breathtaking. The juxtaposition of the dry barren tones of the desert and the deep aqua-marine blue of the ocean reminded me of an oasis, and I couldn’t wait to step my foot into it. The flood of excitement of seeing the city from an aerial view suddenly changed into anxiety as I landed and entered the airport. Although I did a fair amount of research before entering the country, I was nervous of the cultural and language barrier that existed. After successfully passing through customs, I realized that I shouldn’t have been so concerned about these barriers because even though I am an outlier in this country, people still treated me as if I were just like everyone else.
Once we arrived at the hostel, we checked in and got settled in. Soon after, we were informed that it was a holiday special to Tel-Aviv called “White Night” where everyone in the city comes out in the evening to celebrate in Tel-Aviv’s famous street, Rothschild Boulevard. The person who checked us in at the hostel said it was such a coincidence that we arrived on that specific day. After changing into something more adequate for the hot climate, we left the hostel for the main street. The entire street was closed and people were walking on the road, talking amongst themselves and watching the various street artists and performers. I had heard that Tel-Aviv was famous for its nightlife but I was so surprised when I was experiencing the vibrant lights and the relaxed atmosphere in real life. My assumption was that only young people were going to bars and clubs, but what I saw was the whole community come out to just spend time with one another, which was so special and it made me realize what an intimate culture Israel was.