(This is the final entry in Becca Schwartz's online diary about her experiences at the 16th World Maccabiah Games in Israel.) July 25.
HELLO from Wisconsin,
My family and I have made it home safely, only a little jet lag to clear up.
I am already missing all of the friends that I made on this trip. I think we all could've used an extra few days after the closing ceremonies to see more of Israel. Our last day we checked out of the hotel in Haifa, headed to Tel Aviv to check our luggage in at the airport and then drove to Jerusalem for the Closing Ceremonies. The Ceremonies took place at The Sultan's Pool, an amphitheater settled in a valley below the old city of Jerusalem.
Before the show we were given some more time to relax and trade more things if we wanted. The show, itself, was toned down from Opening Ceremonies, but still had lots of dancing, singing and celebrating. The walls of the valley above us were covered with police and soldiers so we could feel safe on our last night there. Afterwards we said our good-byes and went to the airport for the 11-hour ride back to New York. I managed to get lots of email addresses and we all promised to keep in touch, but it was still very sad to say good-bye to these people with whom I had become such good friends.
During the Games we were all keeping up with the World Championship results as well. So many new records being set! Swimming evolves more and more every
day. There weren't any world records set at the Maccabiah Games this time, but I know that all of us who participated really feel that we made a difference for the people of Israel and Jews around the world by showing our support, taking a chance and making the trip. I also know that we have gained something very special from these 16th Games.
Now that I am done swimming – at least until I join Masters – I need to dive into the next chapter in my life and look for a job. I have a degree in Industrial
Engineering, and because of all my friends I now have internationally, I am very willing to travel or relocate.
Thanks to everyone who made my trip and this online journal possible. Best of luck to all of you swimmers and swimmers at heart out there.
If anyone out there has any questions or would like to contact me, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org