|So, being a typical student, I was wandering around
bored and wondering how I should spend my summer vacation, when I noticed
an advertisement for an archaeological dig at Tel Megiddo, Israel. OK,
so all I knew about archaeology I had learned from Indiana Jones, but six
weeks in Israel sounded like lots of fun to me.
I applied and was accepted as a member of the Megiddo
Expedition, and in mid-June of 1994, I hopped on a plane with a suitcase
stuffed with clothes and a stomach full of excitement. I didn't know any
of the other team members, but I figured that just made me like everybody
else, so I strapped in and headed for the land of milk and honey.
If I were a poet, maybe I'd know the words to describe
all the fun we had that season, but any description I could give would
probably have to end with the statement, 'You had to be there'. However,
I can tell you I returned from Israel with a suitcase full of souvenirs,
my head crammed full of memories and lots of e-mail addresses of new friends.
More than anything else though, I had a yearning to get back to Israel
as soon as possible. During the next two years I finished my B.A. degree
and went on to graduate school. I also dreamed about Israel and applied
to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where I was accepted into a one-year
program for the 1996-97 school year.
This couldn't have worked any better, because the
Megiddo Expedition was digging again in the summer of 1996. So, come June,
I was once again on a plane to Israel, but this time, I had no ticket for
a return flight. A lot of members from the 1994 season returned, and we
renewed friendships, made new friends, did some fruitful digging, and had
loads of fun doing it. Israel Finkelstein, one of the directors of the
Expedition, said that this was the best season of digging he had ever experienced.
After the season, I moved to Jerusalem and began
my studies at Hebrew University. Though the demands of my courses keep
me busy, I have been known to take a week off and travel, for example,
to the Sinai Peninsula. But that's really part of the education I'm getting
studying in a foreign country, and I have to experience all I can while
I'm here, right? Living in Jerusalem and going to a university means I
meet lots of new people, and quite often I tell them about the Megiddo
Expedition and they ask how much it cost me. Now, I guess I could just
give a dollar figure and be done with it, and it might seem pretty cheap
for a six-week stay in a foreign country (including some expensive weekends
However, there's more to the story than that, so
I tell people about when I printed T-shirts for a living. A customer would
place an order and I might have to buy $1,000 worth of shirts. Of course,
it doesn't matter how much I spent, because after the shirts were printed
and delivered, I got paid and made a profit. The same investment principle
is true of digging with the Megiddo Expedition — I've definitely profited
more than could ever be summed up in dollars.
Now, I'm not an old man, but I've been around for
awhile. I take life seriously, but it 'ain't worth it if you're not having
fun', as the saying goes. I don't know where I'll be after this school
year, but whatever plans I make will include being in Megiddo for the next