Dear Mom,

You’re right. Time is moving at a crazy fast speed.

Since I returned to Israel from Passover vacation, I’ve felt the weight of time flying. I only have three months left in Israel.

Only three months is only twelve Shabbats, and it’s alarming. I’m starting to panic about fitting everything in. There are still so many family members and friends I need to spend time with, so many beaches I need to lay on, so many hikes and rooftop parties and papers and cooking and cafes and sites. I need to do it all, but how can I enjoy anything when I’m totally freaked out about fitting it all in? Thinking about time makes me feel like I need to hurry, but I know that’s not the answer. The pressure is exhausting!

This feeling led to a decision that I will never again live somewhere for only one year. Two years is the minimum (unless something/someone convinces me otherwise…it happens sometimes). I haven’t lived in the same place for more than one consecutive year since I was a sophomore in college, in 2007, and I’m not sure if that even counts since I went home during summers.

I’m so familiar with the one-year thing that I’ve traced a predictable pattern. The first three months are uncomfortable: I work hard to learn the ropes, navigate life and develop relationships (I’m slow). I buy things from the market that I don’t recognize (like sumac) and try to figure how to incorporate them into my salads. The second three months are bliss: I’ve established a routine, have friends and am in the thick of exploration and excitement. I buy things from the market that I’ve learned to love, like wine-soaked olives. The third three months are weird: I realize that goodbyes are approaching, but it’s not time yet. I buy only fresh produce from the market because I know I have a drawer full of weird spices and dried beans that I need to use before departing. The last weeks are a whirlwind: celebrations, goodbyes and preparations. I only buy easy street food, like falafel.

Now in the middle of that third three months stage, I prioritize my activities and question their worthiness of my time: Does this Arabic article translation deserve three hours of my Wednesday night? No.

By now, I’ve established relationships and identified meaningful projects, but it’s too late to invest new energy in them. I know it’s wrong, but in the back of my head all I can think of is how leaving will disrupt everything. And then I turn into a crazy person trying to fit all of the little pieces in.

The salad recipe I’m writing you with is chock full of little pieces. It was an attempt to use some of the weird spices sitting in my drawer since the first three months. It’s the perfect summer salad—cool and refreshing with zesty herbs. Enjoy!