With Honesty I Write

So last night of course I sleep so shitty. How can you sleep good with all the bad thinks that are happening around you. I think my brother Jonathan's blog almost always had this undertone of darkness, a bit bitter. I have tried to maintain a nice happy blog, even when I have to say things like "there was a bombing, I'm OK." But there are somethings that I don't write home about and maybe I should.

In truth this Kibbutz is not all it should be and has left much to be desired. Let us start from the beginning. Of course when I came I wondered a little : what is wrong with this Ulpan that everyone has left and they or look for other people to come. But I figured life happened and that is all. My first week here there was a huge physical fight. I was not there thank god. It was for a guys birthday and he even came by my room and told me to come to meet everyone. I didn't feel up to it. I fell asleep and the next thing I knew there was tons of screaming outside my window. A guy got a black eye and another got kicked out. It was a huge mess. Nice welcome to the kibbutz right?

Then there was the volunteer who said that I slept with him. After a night at the pub where I couldn't get away from him. I went home, he did too. So that means we left together. The next day he told a bunch of the guys: yeah last night with Liz there was a little of this, a little of that and her pussy smells like strawberries. Even worse is the fact that no one had the nerve to at least tell me. SO I am walking around saying hi to him because I don't know about it.

And now this with Jonathan. I am really upset by the way everyone is taking it. It is so disturbing the things I have heard people say. I really don't know what to think about the human race anymore. Basically the guys here are more concerned with the fact that they might face drug charges, because of course there were drugs involved. It is really sick.

There is part of me that thinks I should leave and go to another Kibbutz, because after all I have 4 more monthes before the army and it don't feel like a healthy place to be. But I don't know if another kibbutz would be any better.

Last night I called Grandpa, my only voice of reason. It is really strange how he has an effect on me. He really is soothing. Maybe because as far as I can tell he is one of the best, most righteous people I have ever met. Of course he is human and has his faults, but he is a dimond in this sea of coal.

Of course I couldn't really tell him what was going on, but just to hear his voice ramble on about life in Cato, somehow made me feel so much better.

After that they were playing the movie, "Match Point" so I watched i. It was the first Woody Allen movie I liked. But i have to say it reminded me a lot of "A Place In The Sun" (if you have not seen it, go get it, it is my favorite) It was actually nice to watch a sad movie.

I talked more about the whole thing with a girlfriend and then finallty went to bed around 2 am. My body is so sore today, it feels like I was running fifty kilometers yesterday.

My Last Entry

Who write the comment on the last entry. I have to be honest, it is a bit strange. Of course eveyone will die one day or another. As an Israeli guy told my friend Yora and I "one day your here, the next your on the bus and BOOM." That is a bit of Israeli black humor. I guess if they don't laugh they will cry.

After hearing of the bombing in Sinai I went on the net and tried to find out more about the bombing in Rasa Satan. It was in October 2004 and many people died, but I could not find out what camp it was in. Not that it matters, but I wonder.

Rasa Satan means the head of the devil in Arabic.

I feel so strange right now. I just found out that a volunteer that was here and just left last night, is now in jail. Why? He moved to another kibbutz (Daliya, in walking distance from mine) yesterday. And as I have heard he got drunk and now is in jail for sexual assult. My heart fell. Horror. This is going to sound weird or maybe you won't believe it. But for the past week I have been saying to friends what is wrong with Jonathan. He is so different than when I first came. I never would see him in the dinning hall and he was loosing weight when I did see him. When I first came he hung out a lot with Noa and I because he and Noa both speak Danish, the only two Danes. And even weirder so much about him and the way he talked and acted reminded me of my brother Ben.

And this "sexual assult" comes in the time that I am reading "We Were The Mulvaneys" which is so sad and interesting and breaking my heart completely. Mostly it is breaking because it is so much like what happened to two high school friends. Rape, or well, we can't even say that word, so better yet sexual assult. And how the whole community shunned the girl it happened to. The book is set in upsate NY in the 1970s, but it is crazy because it sounds like when I was there.

So, truthfully tonight I am a bit sceptical of humans and I am sad at the way we act sometimes.

Sad Things

Well, just a quick THANK YOU GOD. Last night I was laying in bed reading and get a phone call from my boss: Is anyone from the Ulpan or volunteers in Sinai? Because there was a bomb right now. That's why I told you not to go!

Well of course, she is right. But then again. What if I didn't go and lets say went to Tel Aviv instead. I would be more likely to be in danger there. SO what can I do. I just try.

The Israeli government doesn't think that any of the dead are Israeli as now everyone is back to there lives. But most are Western travellers. It is very sad.

Last night was also the beginning of the Rememebrence day for those that died in the Shoah. Just one more sad thing.

A Passover Message

Literally it says:





Just thought it was funny and a little blunt.


Sinai was one of the most beautiful places I have experienced, and I was only one hour’s drive in from the border. If you look on a map, you will see how huge Sinai is and what I am talking about. I just got to see the tip of the iceberg.

First off, it was an amazing time. The amount of relaxation and calm I felt was unreal.

I think I would like to go there for my honeymoon. It feels like you are returning to a natural state. And Noa’s dad told her he would like to be buried in Sinai. Being there is like going back in time.

The journey began with multiple bus rides. We took the night bus to Eilat. All the way the moon was shining over the desert. We got to Eilat at about 5 am. We took a cab to Taba, which is the border crossing. Crossing was pretty easy considering. We changed money to Egyptian pounds. I called my Dad from Taba right before we left since I still had Israeli reception and I would miss his birthday.

Then we bordered a van with a bunch of other people and left. The drive was beautiful. The area that we stayed looks a lot like Arizona, except there is the huge sea.

We were the second to last to leave the taxi. It is funny because we really didn’t know where we were going. Noa’s cousin recommended a place, but it is actually just the area, not a specific place to stay. And I think the taxi picked the best place to stop. We stayed at Ramadan Camp in Rassa Satan.

Let me do the math for you. Egyptian pounds are a little less in value than Israeli shekels, but not much. So to stay in the youth hostel in Eilat (it is more expensive than the rest of Israel) costs you about 100 shekels a night. To stay where we slept was 15 pounds a night. See the difference. Also the peace and quiet cannot compare to Eilat. Eliat is like Las Vegas in my opinion.

We slept in a little hut with no electricity. Actually our whole camp had no electricity; they cooked with gas I guess. They were so nice and charged Noa’s phone in their car.

Some things I learned about myself those four days:
I really would like to not have a toilet, but rather just a hole in the ground. There were porcelain things, with a hole and a hose to wash the bowl when you are finished. I am sure this isn’t what you want to hear all about, but it is so much easier to go tot he bathroom in that position.

Also I really like sitting on the floor to eat. It is so relaxed and calm. And when you are too full, you can just lay down a bit!

Now a bad thing:
Many of the Israeli’s there (really only guys) were very rude to our hosts. If you don’t know Hebrew you might not notice. But they would talk to the workers in the female form and make fun of them to their faces. They really treated them with little to no respect and that was hard to see. Then you can wonder why they hate Israeli’s.

Not all the people there were rude. There were many Israeli-Arabs in our camp. And a woman who really got pissed when she heard some guys talking badly.

I think the Egyptians who worked in our camp were the best. We went over to another camp one night and it felt like they were so drugged out. The workers kept sitting asking us questions. In our camp, of course they talked to us, but they didn’t bother. The food was really good. No one got sick, so that is most important. For breakfast we ate fried egg, Israeli salad, a falafel, that tasted different than in Israel, eggplant, and this flat Arabic bread that is like a cross between a tortilla and chapatti. For the other meals we either had salad, shakshuka (Yemenite style eggs), or some times meat. They had really good meat there. Fresh fish, chicken, or lamb kabobs. I had saklab for the first time. I am not really sure what it is. Someone said it is actually made of a type of flower. I think it tastes like porridge that was sweetened and with banana, coconut and chocolate sauce.

One day Noa and Yora ordered saklab and the waiter brought it with strawberries and lots of chocolate, really nice ok. And some guys sitting next to us said, “Oh, we want it too.” As the waiter was walking away he said; “Only for the girls.” And when he brought theirs out they had ONE strawberry in it. We laughed so hard.

There were woman walking around selling jewelry they made. It was sad to see because I think they were really poor. Yora speaks a bit of Arabic and she talked to most of them and promised to buy from them. I wanted to buy something on the last day from one of the little girls in exchange for a picture, because she was so beautiful. But I couldn’t find her so I bought an ankle bracelet from this really funny lady, who couldn’t stop laughing. It broke already, but it’s the thought that counts.

It was funny, because on the first day I thought:
This place is so great, because you know they would never bomb it. I mean two years ago there were bombs in Sinai, but I am sure they were only in hotels where there could be great damage. In these little places it would be harder to kill a lot of people.

Then I found out that a few camps down, two years ago there was a bomb. So there went my theory. I can tell you I didn’t feel scared after I heard that, just sad. There was a police force around checking up on things.

I didn’t meet any girls, but I met a few really cool guys. The first two were Germans. They were in Israel for a year doing their Civil Service. In Germany if you don’t serve in the army then you have to do something to help for a year. They picked to come to Israel. One of the guys Freedman, works on a mosav that I read about and really want to visit. This is the only moshav that is Arab and Israelis working together, sending their kids to school together. I thought of volunteering there when I first came to Israel. So this guy is a volunteer and works in the school. He had such great opinions on both Arabs and Israelis. He loved Israel and said it was nothing like he imagined.

The other German, Oley (he looked like Tzvi with dreadlocks!!) was working with blind people in Jerusalem. He said he loved Jerusalem and as a person with no religion spoke so beautifully about the power of the city. He said he loves to go to the wall.

Yora and were blown away at how mature these two 18 year olds were. We exchanged numbers and are going to get together since they are only in Israel for 3 months. I told them they are the most amazing ambassadors for Israel. The one working on the moshav asked, “Have you ever been to the West Bank? Ramallah is great!” I have never heard of Ramallah as being “great”.

On the last day, Noa got really sunburned. Luckily I didn’t get burned at all. Now I am a brown bear. But it is funny, I didn’t take one picture.

I wish I could have stayed longer, but all things must pass.

Yora left a day and a half before Noa and I. We left on Monday at 6pm and got to Tel Aviv at 1 in the morning. We walked to Noa’s sister’s apartment and slept there. Boy were we surprised to hear there was a bombing in Tel Aviv. The next day Noa went around Tel Aviv a little bit and you wouldn’t even know there was a bombing. The streets were packed, there was no fear in the air.

And that is Israel for you. Some things are not as they appear.

Back From Sinai

Just wanted to let you know I am back safe and sound. I had the most amazing time in Sinai. It is so beautiful and special. I will write more and post pictures. I just wanted to say something, as there was a bombing the day I got back to Tel Aviv in the old bus station. Seven people were killed. It is a strange feeling since people here were a bit nervous about us going to Sinai.

Happy second Pesach.
Well my dear family and friends, it is time for the Jews to return to Egypt. Tonight I board an all night bus with Yora and Noa. As the sun begins to rise we will be in Eilat, the most southern point on Israel’s map. Geographically it is a really cool spot. Check it out. If you stand in Eilat, you look out over the Red Sea. At night you can see lights from Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. That is pretty cool.

From Eilat we will probably wait a very long time to cross the boarder into Egypt. Once in Egypt the world is ours. We have a few places we have looked at in the tour book, but we are planning to play it by ear. One of our friends was just there and he said everything is so cheap. He said an hour and a half cab ride cost about ten US dollars. We have decided we want to stay pretty cheap. There are places were you can sleep outside or in little shacks. We are bringing sleeping bags.

Unfortunately Yora has to leave on the 17th because her mom is coming to visit. Noa and I are going to stay on till the 19th. On the 20th work and school starts again.

So, I just experienced my first Pesach (Passover) in Israel. I have to say I was very excited as it something we say at the end of the meal, “Next year in Jerusalem” I am not in Jerusalem, but I am pretty close.

I stayed on the kibbutz and I didn’t know how it would be, as this is not a religious kibbutz.
In the late afternoon there was a little festival out in one of the fields. There was singing and Israeli dancing. Afterwards all the kids started to run around in the field. It was so beautiful to see.

The meal was so nice. The dinning room was full and all the families of the kibbutzniks came. There was a lot of singing and many children performed. They sang a lot of the songs I know for Pesach and some I had not heard. There was wine and matzos. Haroset (a nut, fruit, and wine mixture. My mom’s is much better) and marror (horseradish).

The meal was really good. We had chicken, beef, potatoes, rice, and salad.

Maybe it was Bencio's first taste of Matzo. Who knows!!!

I wore I pretty skirt I bought in Holland and for the first time I wore the green stone necklace I took from my Grandma when she died. I had tried to wear it many times but every time I put it on it just felt wrong like, “Nana is supposed to wear this.” But I did it and wore it for the first time and it felt good.

There was a party in the pub afterwards. I was going to go but first I wanted to take a nap…. and well I never made it. But I slept really well. I found out this week that I am anemic. I went to give blood at the blood drive they were having on the kibbutz and they told me I couldn’t. I was really sad, as I have never not been able to give blood. But I do have to say knowing this makes a lot of sense. I would say in the last 2 almost 3 months I have been extremely tired. I can sleep anytime and I almost always wait up tired. So the first thing I did is get some green leafy vegetables. I thought they were spinach, but it isn’t. I am not sure what it is. It is similar but the leaves are thicker. I ate the whole package in 3 days. I am going to go online and find out what the foods are that are the highest in iron. It is hard on the kibbutz because if you eat in the dinning room the main veggies that are served are tomatoes and cucumbers. I know tomatoes are really healthy, but I don’t know if there is much vitamins in cucumbers. I have been doing more cooking for myself lately. I bought brown rice and have been eating that.

On Monday I went to Tel Aviv for the day. I had the day off and I really wanted to get away for a day. It was really nice. I caught a sherut (mini-bus/taxi) all the way into the city. It was actually really fast, maybe only 45 minutes. I got off in Azreali Center because that is where Lerone works and we had planned to meet up. I hung out in the mall there for an hour, till she got off work. I bought two CD s. One is an Israeli singer named Liraz Charchi. She is an actress in the Israeli movie “At The End Of The World, Turn Left”. Also her cousin is a very famous Israeli singer named Rita. And I bought a Roy Orbison CD because I have been in Roy withdrawals. It was so nice to listen to Roy again. And this CD is great because it has all the songs I love. It is really funny to say, but his music is such a part of my childhood memories. I remember when Mom and Hugh first met and we would all pile into Hugh's little white VW bug and go to the beach. This is the feeling I get when I hear Roy. It is funny how music can take you back like that.

So back to Tel Aviv, Lerone and I had a nice lunch of shawarma and falafel (it was my fault, I was really craving it!!) We caught up on everything. Lerone just signed for her first apartment here and is so excited. Then she had to go back to work and I continued my adventures. I walked to the beach, and on my way by the Dizengoff Center saw the bomb squad had closed a street and were about to blow up something that looked suspicious. I sat on the beach for a long time. It was really warm and there were a lot of people out. Then I decided to slowly make my way back to where I started so I could go home. Once I got to Azraeli Center I couldn’t find the same bus line back. So I ended up waiting an hour for the bus that passes by Ma-Agan Michael. That route is so long. It took 2 1/2 hours. In Hadera there was a car accident right in front of us. Thank God it was not bad. And some of the passengers got off the bus to move the car so we could pass. I finally got home almost at 10. It was a very exciting day. In some ways these strange events are becoming less strange. Bomb squades, sick people on the bus, accidents, it is life in Israel.

Yah Baby!

This was on the first day we got to Drontan in Iris's house. The houses are cool because the kitchen/living/dinningroom are completely separate from the rest of the house. You walk in the house and there is a door to that area, or you can walk up a spiral staircase to the bedrooms. Her parents cooked a wonderful meal and Roie and I sleeped up in the attic. In the morning when I woke up all I saw was sky. One wall was just windows.

After we ate with Iris and Yoni's parents we went to a little town near by. We met up with another friend from the Ulpan, Aviva. And we also got to meet her sister. It was a really old town, hundreds of years old and a really old pub.

On our mellow boat tour.

This is at the town with all the windmills that i posted pictures of before. The air smelled like chocolate, I swear.

Well here I am, one week later still putting up pictures. What have I been doing you might ask? Taxes!!!

It is really hard to taxes from in Israel. First of all I can't file online because my bank card can only be used within Israel. So I had to print all the forms and pray that I am doing it correctly. I have a pretty big refund, but I am not sure how they will send it to me.

This week Iris celebrated her birthday 19! And I returned from Holland saying her famous phrase: Yah Baby! Even my friend from Belgium is saying it now!

My classes are pretty boring I can say. We actually only have 3 people in our class and one will be leaving us shortly. Instead of moving fast and learning more, it feels like the class is really draging. It is a problem. I actually have been doing a lot of study on my own. I am translating songs like mad. I really think it is such a good way to learn, because if you like the song then you will hear the words all the time and learn it. Now we are out of class from the Passover vacation for two weeks so I have to stick with it.

On next Thursday, the day after every Jew in the world celebrates Passover, our Exodus from Eygypt, I will be going to Egypt for 5 days! Me and almost every other Israel! This is not a strange practice at all for Israel. It is just ironic. Noa, Yora and I will be staying pretty much right across the border in Sinai. We are just going to stay on the beach and relax. It is just dollars a day so it is well worth it.

Amsterdam Pictures part 1

These are the pictures I took. Later I will put on the ones that Iris took.
Our story begins with my friend Yora throwing water behind me as I leave. I can't remember but I think it is a Turkish thing to bring you back home safe, before a trip.

Noa and I went to the beach at Ma-Agan Michael before I left.

This is my sick humor but I thought it was funny. We had just visited the duty free and were waiting for the flight.

Roie wanted me to take a picture of the quiet orderly travels in Budapest, Hungery. He couldn't get over how polite they were in comarrision to Israeli people.

On the train from Iris's house in Dronton to Amsterdam the next day. I liked the graffiti up above.

OK a bit backward, but we were waiting for the bus in Dronton.

Amsterdam!!! The buildings and canals were so beautiful.

One day we went to a little village that was modeled after the old Dutch villages. We got to go inside the windmills and see how they worked.

OK, OK we are all adult. We went to the Amserdam Sex museum. It was funny but after seeing so much sex, you are actaully a bit turned off. I thought it might be a little scaary but it was clean and didn't feel creepy. BTW the guy sitting with Iris is Yoni her older brother.

In these last picture we are in coffee shops, but they are real coffee shops, not the special kind. I had a lot of fun and don't worry I will write more, but I just wanted to get some pictures up before I never do it.