Saturday, June 5, 2010

Last Post - Lhitraot Israel

Last week on Year Course 5/23-6/1

I cannot believe that my 9 months in Israel are coming to an end and that this is my last week! It has been a really nice week.

Sunday 5/23

Our last Shevet siyyur. We went to a near by winery to learn about winemaking. I’m pretty sure that we just ran out of things to do and this would be something that we would all show up to. Still only like 10 of us showed up. We went to the Yatir Winery, which has groves on the Southern Chevron Mtns. We learned about what makes Kosher wine Kosher. The whole entire process has to be done by not only Jewish people but by Religious, Orthodox people. The head wine guy isn’t religious so he isn’t allowed to even touch the wine. He has an Orthodox person that does whatever he tells him to do about blending and what not. The Yatir Winery is considered to be a small Industrial winery. Their first year of producing wine was entered and won in some big competition. We tasted a little bit of a white and red wine. They were delicious. They sell in the states so I didn’t buy any there, even though we would have gotten a discount b/c I just don’t have any room.

I then went over to Katie, Naomi, and Julia’s apartment b/c no one was in mine. After lunch it was just Katie and I in the apartment. I got caught up on Grey’s Anatomy and Gossip Girl—both finales were absolutely amazing. And Katie kept yelling and grabbing my arm whenever anyone was shot. Julia went to do laundry and Naomi was out. Eventually we left for my apartment. I showered. We worked on Katie’s paper for Sikkum. We were running late. But Karrie and Emily came over to look at their old apartment. Section 2 came down to watch, including Or and Mike. We decided to get a ride to the youth center with the bus that was at the Mall.

The girls did an amazing job with the Vagina Monologues. It was funny, adorable, unnerving and just fabulous. Afterwards we had an afterparty Mama Mia style in our apartment with drinks. We didn’t watch much of the movie but it was a very fun night. Hannah, Bianca’s friend from BIU, came over to see her perform so she also stayed over. Everyone crashed with us. Hannah, Monica, and I went on a little adventure to the Mircaz.

Monday 5/24

I woke up at 9:15 to go to volunteering. I was a bit hungover. When I woke up I was surprised that others in the living room were up but someone left an early alarm on. I went to volunteering but was only there till about 12:30ish. It was really nice saying bye to everyone. It was weird that we didn’t volunteer that much in Arad but whatever. Ronit gave me mosquitoe bite stuff, repellent and after bite stuff from Orange Beam. She also gave me a ride home.

I came back to the apartment and everyone was still there. They hadn’t really moved. We just hung out all day. Ordered Chinese and played apples to apples, jewish edition. Eventually people left. My apartment—Jessica Leah and I went over to Katie’s apartment for dinner. We brought wine over, but no one had a cork screw. Katie made stuffed peppers and Leah had made a yummy apple honey cake. We are making due with what we have left and making lots of food.

We then went to Muza’s, we opened the wine and drank that. I ordered a Mojito, which was horrible. Muza’s sucks at making drinks. We eventually went home.

I had started packing and did a lot of it.

Tuesday 5/25

Our day of cleaning and packing. I finished packing. The others worked on packing. I cleaned the bathroom. We relaxed. We went out for lunch at Muza’s on the stipend. It was pretty good. Michal left for Bat Yam and we went back to cleaning.

Monica was over a lot during the day. And she, jess and I made our bracelets and burned ourselves.

At 7 we had to meet at Charlie’s apartment for our last peula with Shai, which was a bonfire! We finally got our Yam L’Yam bonfire. We cooked corn on the cob, potatoes and roasted marshmallows. There was also a watermelon! I ate too much watermelon. Eventually we walked home. Jessica leah and I were cleaning, we drank a little, cleaned more, put on dead sea mud and watched Moulin Rouge.

It was a fun night.

Weds 5/26

We relaxed and cleaned all morning. Shai came over and we still have a little more cleaning to do but we are mostly done, there was something in the freezer but not important. He played a mean trick on us saying that Jessica isn’t on our flght but she is! Now we are going to Jerusalem to watch our Marava kids’ ceremony. We got there late because everyone wanted to stop at the gas station that had Aroma on the way up. It was a cute ceremony. Like a mini induction ceremony—they only received baseball caps. But they all really appreciated it. They felt like this ceremony, at the kotel, made having this be there last 2 months in Israel worth it. Shevet got Burgers Bar which was a big dilemma b/c not everyone was on Shevet, but originally it was only supposed to be a Shevet thing. So it was weird some kids having burgers and others not but that’s life. Jessica and I went to the Kotel. It was our last time at the Kotel together this year. We davened together, but during the Amidah we were interrupted because we were going to be late to get the bus. We walked up the stairs instead of the big hill. Yael saw us and almost gave us a heartattack when she told us that the bus was at the gate of the Kotel but it wasn’t. We drove back to Arad, but didn’t get back till 11ish. Thursday was Masada and we would be leaving at 3:20 so I went to bed but didn’t sleep well. Some people decided to pull an all nighter.

Thursday 5/27 – Masada

We groggily woke up for our last siyyur in Israel, SunRise at Masada. We were supposed to leave at 3:20. It is an hourish drive to Masada. We weren’t cheating but the plan was to do the Roman path and not the snake path that most of us are used to. We were all on the bus but still waiting for people. At about 3:30 we decided to call Katie. They had slept through their alarm. Since there was a mini bus also it drove over to their apartment. No one wanted to wait for them. But we are always waiting for others, but when we are late no one wants to wait for us. Jessica and I, and others just wanted to sleep on the bus but the Britts were singing and yelling—as usual. We got to the gate too early, they won’t open till there is some sun light. So we are all antsy and just want to start.

Eventually we begin the climb. It is about a 20 minutes walk up. We get to an outlook and just sit on the ridge waiting and watching for the sun to come up. It was pretty hazy but we finally got a decent sunrise. Since we have kids that volunteer on Masada they gave the history and a little play staring Tamar and Joe. We went to a big water hold, which was Monica’s favorite spot b/c it had pre-48 markings by Zionists. We then went to the echo lookout. We yelled many things—Year Course, F**k it!, our names, California, and many other things. There are some good clips of them on people’s facebooks.

We went back to the apartment, relaxed, wrote letters, slept, I met Jessica at the Mall. We got our last ice cream together, bought some more food for Shabbat and chocolate to bring home.

We relaxed in the apartment. Watching movies, ate pizza and drank a bit. Hailey slept over.

Friday & Saturday 5/28-29 – Last Shabbat in Israel

Jessica and I got up and ready to leave our apartment with sandwiches by 7. We go to the taxi stand at the mall it is going to be 250. We go to the other taxi stand 250. Go back to the apartment to get more money and then back to taxi stand by the mall. Now they want 300. We get it back down to 250 and go to Ein Gedi. Jessica and I hike through David’s Wadi. (This was so early in the morning that it was practically empty). And up to the Cave. We go to the old temple and springs. The waterfalls are beautiful. We wonder what it would be like to climb up. We go swimming in one of the lagoons. There was a group from America but we didn’t want to be with them. So we were kind of off from them. My pants almost swam away from us. Jessica jumped in, I ran around there wasn’t a drop off so it was funny. We went under the waterfall and then got out. We layed out on a bench to try to dry off. The plan was to try and hitch hike either to Arad or to the dead sea and then taxi it from there. There were a couple of cars that stopped for us that were going to Masada. One car stopped but they were full but they still wanted us to go with them? A taxi stopped. We thought that we would just pay him to arad but he was going to eilat so he would drive us for free to the junction, for free. He could have charged us but he didn’t. Then, Jessica and I were stuck at an intersection/junction. Within 5 minutes a car stopped for us, he was going to sderot but we are on the way, perfect. He drops us off at the roundabout and we walk home.

We shower and start preparing food for Shabbat. Boaz came over. Katie and Julia came over. It was a nice meal with a ton of food. But we weren’t really hungry so there was plenty left over for the next day. We were all exhausted and passed out.

We woke up Saturday morning and I made French toast with the left over challah. We spent the day cleaning, eating, and relaxing. Eventually, Jessica and Boaz went for a walk. Katie and I were baking cookies with everything we had including eggs that I borrowed from the crazy neighbor. During the baking Jessica calls me and tells me that Shai and Roni will be over in an hour for an apartment check. SHIT! Katie and I start cleaning like crazy. As I’m cleaning the fridge I say remind me to take the … out of the freezer. And of course we forget. They come home and like 10 mins later roni comes over. He starts checking and opens the freezer. Oh shit! Katie distracts him and takes it out and puts it into jessica’s suitcase. Boaz argues that its just water because it is frozen. Shai comes over. They tell us that we still need to clean the floors—we know thank you.

We try to finish everything. More people come over and we just hang out.

Sunday 5/30

Bags were to be down by 7. Bags were down by 7. They weren’t picked up till past 9! We finished cleaning the apartment, disposing of food and we were just waiting around on our computers for someone to do the final check. No one comes. But a phone call saying the bus is leaving does. We scramble to get everything on our backs and out the door. We see the bus full. We take out the garbages and go to the bus. We give our keys to Shai. He knows nothing of what happened of course. And we begin to make our way to Jerusalem… Good bye Arad

We arrived at the old Beit Ar El – Judaean Youth Hostel. There was a talk by Yael on not to do stupid. We unloaded our bags by flight. The Bat Yam madrichim came over and we talked with them about what we thought about Bat Yam. Its weird that most people didn’t like Bat Yam. I might have liked that section the most.

YC reserved Constantine for everyone. There was dinner and dancing. We danced all night with all three sections. The tsofim made a little dance and video for everyone. It was really cute. It was our last night dancing all together so we, well I and the JRKs, made sure that we got down. And we danced up on our madrichim. The different sections left at different times and eventually we left. Our bus went to Beit Ar El…opps.

We got back to the hostel and just chilled. I went with Monica to try and find a cork screw, instead we found some other tool to push the cork in and also make a mess. I was with the art kids. We were all tipsy and just singing and playing music. Others came over and ruined it. Leah took me aside and gave me my “active plane letter” which made me cry. I called some people at home. I was on our room’s patio with Monica, Stephanie and Kai at different points throughout the night. It was a really strange night. With different people coming up and saying goodbyes and what we thought about each other.

I went to bed about 1. Jessica and I slept together for the last time in Israel.

Monday/Sunday 5/31-6/1 – Last Day in Israel

So I gave up on the whole letter writing because if you write for some people than you have to write for others. And if one person gives you a letter and you don’t have one for them than its just weird so I made it clear that I don’t have letters. But I made people sign my shirt. We had to make these little albums with pictures from Bat Yam that people were signing so I wrote in those what I thought of people. We had peulot with Moran, and Shai. We put our bags back on a truck and did a lot of waiting. We gave back our phones. Katie gave a speech and a killer rap. It was great.

We go to some place for the Closing Ceremony. It was really nice. Everyone was there, including BG. Some people cried. Then came the time to say goodbye. The past two days were all about goodbyes so I was kind of burnt out on them. Seeing Charlie and Tamar say goodbye almost broke my heart. I said bye to my British friends and my Marava friends. There were some people who were just unable to function. It was so sad. I still had a 10 hr flight with most of my friends.

Moty and Efi came to say bye to me at the airport. After I checked in and got my ticket for SD as well I talked with them a bit and then they left me and then it was time to say bye to the scouts and some madrichim that had come to the airport. Saying bye to them was really hard. Eventually we made it past security and to the gate where I dropped my bags and ran to the other gate to say bye to the jersey kids.

We boarded our flight. I tried to sit next to steph but that didn’t work out. So I sat next to jess. We slept a lot on the flight. The food wasn’t bad. The flight was fine. I wrote a letter to Jessica. Katie’s I had already written. Stephanie ended up keeping my headphones. We landed and we were ready to head back to Israel.

I was functioning up until I got my bags at the carousel in NY and it was time to leave. Boy did I cry. I tore myself away from them and went through customs and then brought my bags to the delta counter to be checked. I went to my gate. I saw my teacher from freshman year at New Directions but didn’t say hi. I sat down to charge my phone and then I read my letters from Jessica and Katie. I was the only YCer on my flight. I broke down.

My flight was fine going to SD. I couldn’t sleep but I watched tv and read. Our flight landed early so my family was late picking me up.

Seth met me at the carousel to get my bags and mom was in the car. We drove to ilana’s work to say hi on the way home and then I was home.

Wrapping thoughts on the year:

It was an incredible year and I am so lucky and thankful to my parents for letting me participate. My favorite memories are with the friends I made getting into sticky situations with Israelis, traveling, eating and just hanging out wherever. Israel is a special place, a place where I don’t need to jump up and down and scream that I’m a Jew, but a place where saying Shabbat Shalom is as natural to say as hi, how are you. I’m going to miss the freedom and craziness of living on my own with 5 other girls. The people I met will always be with me, as will the land. Ain li eretz acheret. I have no other land.