gap year in israel

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Hello, my name is Elan Ganz and my story began 18 years ago, on August 9, 2000, when I was born in the lobby of a hospital. I am from Newton, Massachusetts, which is in the greater Boston area, and I live there with my parents Michael and Rachel, and my three siblings, Noam, Mira and Matan. Just to provide a quick summary of each of my family members. My dad really likes pocket squares and he is good at math. My mom is a good cook but she puts squash in places where it doesn’t belong. My older brother Noam can eat two boxes of pasta at once. My sister Mira is really annoying but I still love her, and my “little” brother Matan is basically bigger than me and he is only in sixth grade (also he will never be better than me at Mario Kart). I enjoy jokes, sneakers, getting yolked, listening to music, cooking and many other fabulous activities.

I decided to go on Aardvark for one simple reason, I wanted to feel a connection to Israel, nay, I wanted to HAVE a connection to Israel. Over the course of my senior year at high school as I was making my decision, I kept flip-flopping between coming to Israel and going straight to college. What ultimately convinced me to go to Israel was my older brother Noam. He went on Aardvark two years prior, and after hearing about his experiences, I decided that I too wanted to go to Israel. Looking back on my decision to come, all I can say is that it is one of the best decisions that I have made in my life.

For my internship this semester, I am working at the Jerusalem Aquarium. I work in the quarantine area and I really enjoy it. The aquarium smells like fish, but it is still really fun. I mostly clean up tanks and change filters, but also I feed the jellyfish and other small creatures. Interning there is very interesting for me because I have never pictured what goes on behind the scenes in an aquarium. The people at the aquarium are very hard working but at the same time, they know how to joke around and have a good time. Since I started working at the aquarium, I have learned many new words in Hebrew that I wouldn’t have learned anywhere else! One time I was cleaning the baby octopus tank and it grabbed on to my hand. The octopus was very strong and I couldn’t pull it off. I kept trying to pull it off but it would just hold on stronger. This baby octopus and I were locked in combat; it was a fight to the death. All of a sudden, I felt a sharp pain on my finger. The battle was over but I had sustained a brutal injury, the octopus bit my finger. Don’t worry, I survived.

Next semester, I will be living in Tel Aviv. I am looking forward to meeting more people from different countries, being by the ocean and getting to see the differences between the two largest cities in Israel.