My fist vivid memory of you is from 2009. I came to visit and you put on quite a show. You were strong. You were so strong.
I remember you looked great. I saw other people with you and I was so jealous. I wanted what they had — and I didn’t even know what that was.
In 2014, I was lucky enough to spend a longer time with you. Only this time I didn’t have rose tinted glasses on. This time was different. You were going through a hard time. I saw how you struggled. I saw how we all struggled. I heard the songs playing and people crying, I saw you fight for survival.
I saw you survive.
It was in 2015 that I decided I wanted to be with you. I brought my life to you. And since those days I have learned your every detail.
I have learned more about what I love and more about what I don’t. And there’s a lot of both.
I have learned that it is okay to challenge you. To disagree with you. To scream from the roof tops “what the f$%k is wrong with you?”.
I have learned that this relationship is a unity of cultures and in that unity is strength that I didn’t have before.
Your strength is in the silence on somber days when we remember those no longer with us. It is in the protests of thousands that take place weekly. It is on days like today when every other car is covered in blue and white and the radio plays only Hebrew songs, the planes fly from the north to the south and everybody runs outside when they hear the engines.
Your strength is that no matter what, your people believe in you, for better or worse.
It is now 2018 and I am four months into civilian life — after two years serving in your army. It has been a roller coaster, but we are just getting started, you are just getting started.
Happy 70th birthday Israel.