After two extensive days of traveling and waking up jet lagged the swim team and I were excited to finally make it to the pool. We knew we were really in Israel when we looked above the pool and saw the picturesque view of the mountains; it was one of those perfect backdrop images you could find on a huge stage. The pool was different than any other maccabi pool I have seen in my four years as a participant. The blue padding covering the pools every inch is a different exciting feeling. I’ve already made new friends at the pool because it’s not just about the competition to us, but meeting new people and making new friends. The pinning ceremony was a site to see. Tons of pictures with strangers and old friends, our own personal concert, marching in, and to top it off fireworks. It was the eventful day I wanted for my 16th birthday. I’ve never been to Israel before and this was a real treat. As for today, I’m pleased as well. The chicken actually tasted good and I got to go kayaking in the Jordan River. The Israelies were crazy energetic and fun chasing me and my friends in our raft while seeing who could splash each other more. We got back with time to get ready for the night event, hanging out at the hub. Everyone got to meet a ton of new people, see a camel, and watch people on stilts. After our bus ride back to the dorms we had some time to hangout with our friends. While my friend Rebecca was meeting this guy, Jake, we established that they both had common Jewish names. They were getting to know each other and realized even their siblings (Rachel and Leah are a couple of examples) Jake said “rockin the bible” about the names. That was my favorite line of the trip so far.