A Trip to Adulthood

What moment made you realize you had become an adult?

Akim, Jerusalem. That is where I was sent for the summer by my parents, after they heard that a school for the mentally disabled was in need of volunteers. I appreciated the idea of helping children in need, but was not thrilled about it being in place of fruit smoothies and beach time.

After the long wait to check into customs, I had finally stepped into the foreign country, and was as ready for a summer of working as a child could ever be. The train ride to Jerusalem was filled with bad luck and hugging my broken luggage to ensure my over-packed clothes did not fall out into the crowded streets. Finally having arrived at the hostel, already a half hour late for my volunteer shift, I dropped my suitcase and caught a bus that led me to the place that had already caused me so much irritability.

I made my way up the hill that led to the gates and was welcomed by a lively woman with vibrant clothes and a friendly impression. She led me inside and into the colorful lunchroom where I was greeted by the group of children I would be assisting that summer, receiving hugs and being showed pictures they drew that day. The hesitance I had felt less than an hour ago left completely, and I immediately felt a connection to the children and a...

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