Last week was pretty much a rather pointless trip to Eilat involving minimal hiking and lots of 'bonding time' with a bunch of eighty, fourteen year-old Israelis from the local youth club in Karmiel. As the places we went were vastly identical to places I visited when living on kibbutz I won't bore you with the repeated details. The first night in the bedwin tent was a slight nightmare (picture being trampled on repeatedly and having loud voices shouted in your ear and things thrown at you when trying to sleep) but the latter few nights when we were camping were a lot more enjoyable and we began to make friends with some of the kids. One of them taught Kyla and I a song 'Yonatan hakatan'
I spent Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday in the Etgar flat with the shvil-niks in Jerusalem and then spent most of Sunday attempting to get home in the biggest storm and worst rain Israel has ever had. That set the tone for the next two days were we spent most of the time getting soaked and trying to avoid the rain.
On Tuesday morning we went to Jerusalem with the Olim Hadashim, the 'new immigrants'. They are the bunch of Russian teenagers we met before who made Aliyah two months ago. The morning was spent in a tour around the Kineset which was actually really interesting as I’ve never been there. After lunch we went to watch the ceremony where all 80 of them received their I.D cards and officially became Israeli citizens. It was a pretty amazing moment which was an unusual event to experience.
On Wednesday we had a chinuch day on minorities in the Galilee. We spoke to a rather unusual guy who was running a Zionist youth movement in the Arab village. We had lunch at the best humus place in Israel (or so they say) and we spent the afternoon talking to Bedwin teenagers about the differences and similarities in our lives. I also had a lovely surprise visit from dad that evening who came to Karmiel and took me out to dinner for the one night he was here :)
Thursday morning was my first full day of volunteering which pretty much involved spending the morning talking about myself to Israeli 12th graders, fun times. It was actually really nice, I think I’ve chosen the best option for actually making some Israeli friends as we get proper time to sit and chat with the teenagers a similar in age to us. In the afternoon we had ulpan at the central bus station in karmiel...an interesting experience. That evening most of the group left for various weekends so Emily, Kyla, Hannah, Rio and I had a girls night in and made yankakes and chocolate fridge cake for dinner.
That weekend I spent in Pardes Hannah with Ardin and Osnat. It was a lovely peaceful weekend filled with a great deal of home cooked and home baked foods, some cycling and walking on the beach at the kibbutz and a lot of reading in the sun and by the fire. I returned to Karmiel on Saturday evening somewhat rejuvenated and ready for the final (and very jam-packed) week before chofesh.
On Sunday we had a meeting with Galit to discuss the week ahead followed by ulpan, lunch and an afternoon shluf. The afternoon consisted of an intro to our one-to-one tutoring and a meeting with Karmiel's youth. When taking a brief shluf before our weekly asefah that evening I was awoken by a call from Colin. Much to my happiness it was to tell me I had finally received a place on Machon and now know exactly where I will be and what I will be doing from February to June.
Monday morning was another morning of volunteering. After one class however, we were told we could go home as they wanted us to make some recordings for the kids to practice with. As a result of this we had a nice midday break to prepare us for our afternoon tiyul to the druze village...and that's where I am in my day right now
All my love