After a sleepless night and a long day, our IST journey was finally coming to an end. We were all buzzing with excitement at the thought of being reunited with our beloved families, pets, and sashimi salads. Saying goodbye to our favourite chain smoking bus driver Yichiel was hard (he had a personal best of 4 seconds from parking the bus to having a lit cigarette in his mouth), however saying goodbye to the Promised Land was much harder. After a twisted turn of events though, it turned out we weren't leaving Eretz Yisrael so soon...
UPDATE 1 - Flight number LY81 747 ELAL - DELAYED
Considering IST has been so "organised" this was a shock to all of us! We mentally prepared ourselves for a long stay in the airport. With power-points being hoarded and vending machines being ransacked, over a hundred and thirty Jewish children grit their teeth and got on with the brutal task at hand; waiting.
UPDATE 2 - Flight number LY81 747 ELAL - CANCELLED
The atmosphere of 137 drained adolescents in an airport without a flight was chaotic, filled with tear, anger, and laughter. By this point a few of us started to break. For some reason everything seems to happen to the Jews. We had to say our goodbyes to our beloved Mads - Avichai and Adam, and got back to what we did best: Complaining to Benji about how unfair everything is.
UPDATE 3 - Dinner
We received a meal and coffee voucher after a long two hours of waiting and doing nothing, which gave us a wide variety of aeroplane food for dinner, which we were very thankful for. After a long hard day, there's nothing better than sitting on a dirty plastic chair and taking a big, juicy bite into a crispy "schnitzel" meal from Burger Ranch. After that, the typical IST rumour factory began, and at first we were staying in Bangkok for 2 nights and missing New Years and then we were going back to Gadna due to a lack of accommodation, and everything caused everyone to panic even though nothing was certain.
UPDATE 4 - Announcements
Rabbi Benji gathered us together to update us on how we were getting home. At this moment everyone was shaking with fear. He announced that we were leaving in 24 hours... We would be staying in Tel Aviv for an extra night! While we prayed at the Kotel a couple hours ago for this experience of a lifetime to never end, we didn't actually think our prayers would be heard.
UPDATE 5 - Suites
We all finally arrived in Kfar Maccabia and most pairs were put up in a suite with a personal lounge and at least two bathrooms, and we quickly established that the extra night maybe wouldn't be too bad after all. King-sized beds, showers with hot water, mattresses which didn't smell like the previous occupants, only reinforced the fact that we were living the dream. Not only were we staying in Israel for longer than planned, but we were doing it in style.