No this is not a typo. And no this is not another word for going number 2.

It is the way Israeli's say 'bowling'.

For some reason, who ever thought up the spelling of the word in Hebrew added an exra 'aaahh sound at the beginning and now we have 'boweling'.

I went boweling last night and I had so much fun. I went with Irit, her guy Gadi, Craig; a kibbutznik originally from Mississippi (he has lived in Israel since he was 19 and is now 34, so I guess that pretty much makes him an Israel), and a volunteer named Nina from Sweden.

Turned out that Irit was the best at boweling, but it didn't really matter we all had fun. I won the last game.

Before we left I made a huge conainer of guacamole because the week before Irit, Noa and I crawled under the fence signed, "do not enter" to steal some avocados. When i got in the car and said that I made it the the guys teased me the whole way there, "that's a random thing, guacamole and boweling". But then they tried it and they shut-up.

Afterwards Gadi and I played two games of air hockey, because we realized we both have the same passon for it. And he beat me both times, but the second time it was only by a point. You know what he did when we first stated? The air turned on and he said 'hey were is the puk'. I didn't see it on my side, and he said maybe it is by where we put the money, and when i looked he shot it into the goal. Totally not fair!! SO that just made the game more heated.

I think I need to have an air hockey table in my house some day. Maybe I will live in a little shack, but I would like to have one. It is such good fun and it really takes out so much tension.

In other news:
My friend Roie looked around for places for me to move to also. He found a job on his moshav either working in the fields or in the green house. But I called the woman at Bet Oren about the catering and it is a sure thing. And even Roie told me to that one because it sounds like a better deal. Irit's cousin said there is work and rooms. She said there isn't a lot of work in the month of June, but in July there will be tons of work.

So hopefully next week I will be moving on up, moving on out, nothing can stop me. And my darling roommate has went from saying, "what will I do without you." To "when are you going?" Nice, huh? Her friends are coming for a week and I guess I am just cramping her style.

I am not sure Irit will still be coming. She has a difficult situation if she goes away for a few months and hasn't gotten her immigration papers done, then it might be hard to come back here. But I don't mine the idea of living alone for a few months. I even had a few dreams about people telling me, it is better this way.

And you bet I will be posting tomorrow after I go for my army tests. I hope I don't pull out all my hair!

Break Down

This may sound really aweful to say I had a break down, but I think it was a much needed thing. It isn't good to hold things inside, when things bother you. And now I feel better.

My roommate Noa desided to have a birthday party. I have to say I was very impressed because lets just say she isn't the most organized person on the planet. Everyone did a little to help out. Two of her cousins came, her sister, Lerone, and then some volunteers from here. It was a really hot day as suddenly the weather has changed sharply to heat. And you know how it is, for the first few days it is a shock to the body (I have been drinking over 3 liters of water a day, and think sweating out every drop of it)

So, we were sitting around, the BBQ was warming up. The cousins knew that a few of us were learning Hebrew but understood, so they could talk freely. And Lerone turns to me asks me a question about me staying in Tel Aviv after the army tests on Wednesday. She asked it in Hebrew. And I said, "repeat it." She said it again, and as my usual self I was translating and repeated what I thought she said, "you... want to know...am I, could I??.."

And Noa's female cousin says, "I thought you knew Hebrew!?"
I say, "I didn't understand, and I told her to say it again."
She said, "You just said before you understood. I don't understand you have been here a long time."

And I really tried to stuff it. I said, "I have a hard time." And a few people chimed in: yeah you know it is hard here because we all hear almost only English. But she will be starting the army soon.

But by then I started to cry. And the cousin could see that she had hurt me. And she said," I'm sorry. It seems I said something wrong." And there I was starting to cry in front of everyone and I just excused myself and went and cried in the bathroom till I was good and ready to come out.

Now back up a minute. I can tell you that learning has sometimes been a great sensitive subject for me. I have grown up with an older brother who excelled in school for many years. And a younger brother who slide by with decent grades most of his acedemic career really without studying. I shudder to think how brilliant he could be if he put in more effort. And me who had always had to struggle and study to get good grades. I never excelled in my music or in running although I loved both of them. My one great triumph was with photography, in my opinion.

And also I my head, I think, "Wow Ben was in Germany for one year and can speak the language basically fluently, and here I am almost at the one year mark and I get by."

I know statics show what with most Americans that move to Israel it takes 2 and a half years to speak the language, where as most other immigrants can speak fluently in 1 and a half. But still eventhough I know all this, it still is a thorn in my side that I am so far away from speaking well.

Thank goodness Noa wasn't there when the whole thing happened, but when I came back of course my face was all puffy and red and my eyes were blood shot. And for a while she wouldn't leave me alone, "what happened? what happened? Did you get a bad phone call?"

I didn't want to ruin her party after all. Later that night I told the cousin that I am a sensitive person and my language barrior is a sensitive subject. And she said, "I am sorry I should have known better, I too am a very senstive person." She has stuggled with Anerexia almost her whole life. So I can imagine how her self-esteem must be. We were able to kiss goodbye and I am sure I may one day see her in the future.

But she is not the first person to say this type of thing and it is a very big blow to the ego and self esteem. If you are trying to do something, the worst thing to hear is that you are doing the something badly.

So the moral of the story, stop holding things inside when they bother you, and think of others feelings before you open your mouth. And I will keep studying my words.

This is a picture of an article from the newspaper we get in class. It is an easy news paper special for new immigrants. The article was about tourism to Sinai over Passover. And this picture was taken at Rasa Satan, where we stayed. Actually it was just 2 camps down from us!!

This picture is of Noa and I on Israeli Idependence day a few weeks ago.

Goodbye Jora!! My friend Jora from Belgium left last week. Here we have Jessica from the US, me, Jora from Belgium, Daniel from Sweden in the back and Simon also from Sweden.

"Like, I'm like, living like right near, like the valley. Like totally not the valley in LA. Been there done that. this is like, a much prettier valley in like, Israel."
OK, OK, enough of these little five minute writing sessions. Its not like I have no time to write. But sometimes I forget what I want to write, or what is important.

More about Bet Oren, what I know is this: it used to be a kibbutz, but now is not, but it still is a community. There is no dinning room and all the homes are privately owned. But they still have shared childcare, like a kibbutz. There is a store there too, but if you saw how far away from everything it is, you understand it is a must. It is way up in the mountains of the Carmiel and is a bit isolated. There is only one bus a day that goes there. But then again there are only two that come to En HaShofet, but I still manage to escape now and then.

It is so high in the mountains. It has the most beautiful view of the land, trees and the sea past that. It is breathtaking. It was cooler up there. So they have an area that is famous in Israel for Weddings, Bar-Mitzvahs, and other celebrations.

The friend I am planning to move there with is Irit.

She is a really amazing person. She is my age and has been trying to get Israeli citizenship for over 2 years!! She has the same problem that my cousins had with their daughter. She is adopted. And Israel, for all the great things it stands for, sucks in this area. It is not fair. Her father is Israeli, her mom is from Finland. They adopted her from Brazil and moved to Sweden. How confusing can you get. No it does get more confusing. Her parents divorced, mom is back in Finland, dad moved to Thailand. And she wants to live in Israel. And her citizenship is almost finished, her dad came here to sign some papers and finish it up with her, and he had a stoke! Thank god he is healing fast, but can you imagine how much patience this girl has.

She just got her first work visa. All this time she has been living on the kibbutz working 6 days a week in a factory as a volunteer. So basically she has gotten room (not a room alone mind you) and board and about 100 dollars a month for the last 2 years.

Believe me, when I hear things like this, I don’t take my citizenship for granted I had it so easy in comparison. And also it makes me think how impatient I can be, when things aren’t going the way I want them to go. Like moving for instance. I want to go now I don’t want to have to wait and wait. Because also I don’t have much time before the army starts…..3 months, can you believe that!

Speaking of the army, I had to go in to the draft office on Monday. Honestly I hate that place. I get so nervous inside before I go. Not because I am scared, but because I am embarrassed. Every time I go, there are these little 18, 19, 20 years olds there that mock me because either my Hebrew is wrong, or I don’t understand and ask if they know English. And it makes me so mad. It is not fair. Here I am trying to speak, and trying to serve the country and these little brats are mocking me or laughing at me.

So I go. I get my magnetic card and go up to room 302. There a million people there so I figure I will have to wait forever. You slide the card in a computer and then it puts you into a list. I was confused because I had been to room 302 when I first came to the draft office. But I wait only five minutes and a soldier calls me. She just had to check all my information and that was it. Then I went down to room 131 to wait for 2 1/2 hours. Wait and wait and wait. And mind you I had to pee really bad, but the thought of going and missing my turn was not worth it. In this room I didn’t know what I was supposed to do because there was no computer to slide the card. So I waited and waited. Then I went up to this window that was sometimes open and asked the soldier what I was supposed to do.

“Do you want the money?” she asked. “I don’t understand what I am doing here.” I say. “OK” she says holding my papers, “go in that room and give them your ID, then they will call you.”

So I give it to them. When I came out I went over to the only girl that seemed nice and asked her what we were waiting for. She said it was just an interview to see how you will be living in the army. Like close to home, a closed or open base, that kind of thing. So I waited and waited. Finally I was called. Thank god the soldier that interviewed me was the nicest one so far.

First thing I say to the soldiers in Hebrew is, “I speak English. My Hebrew isn’t very good. Please talk slowly.” And usually they pay no attention and go on as if no one said anything to them. So I say it to her and she asked if I would prefer to do it in English. So at this point with my about to explode bladder, my growling stomach, and my tired mind, I said OK.

All she did was take down info about all my immediate family, mom, dad, my brothers. Where they live, age, health, that kind of thing and then I signed papers asking to recognized as a “lonely soldier”. Which means I have no family in Israel and can get a little bit more money and hopefully a lot more help. They usually help you find a place to live and you get a bit more time off than regular soldiers. But it is help and I will take it as I am a bit lost on the whole army thing.

Also some good news is one of the girls that is a volunteer here will be going into the army with me. I am really happy to know someone else. We will be doing the Army Ulpan together. It is a good feeling to know you are not alone.

More things I am slowly finding out about the army is this: If you enlist as a volunteer your schedule of getting information and doing things is completely different than if you are automatically drafted. So for example, if I had come here when I was 18 and had to do the army service, I would have done things in a very different way than I am now. This had been confusing because some information that seems very important to me, like where I will be or what I will be doing I still don’t know about. I never got this very important paper telling me my choices for a job in the army. But I think that is about to change.

I got a letter a few days ago that I am supposed to go to Tel Aviv to take placement tests. I am glad this is finally happening because I was starting to get a bit worried. So Iw ill take all these tests and probably get an interview and then in a few weeks I will get the important paper I was waiting for. On the paper will be 4 job options, then I have to rank them and hopefully I will get my first or second choice.

It is all a bit crazy but it is becoming more real every day. The other day I was with my roommate Noa at a cloths store. She wanted to buy something for her friend. When I was waiting I over heard a woman asking the clerk if they had a lot of plain white undershirts because her daughter was entering the army soon. And it was just a mental note for me: Better buy some white undershirts soon.

Now that I am sitting here writing I don’t remember if a wrote about the fact that I pierced my ears. But I did. And here is a picture of the earrings that basically made me do it. I just feel in love with them. So soon I can wear them. The healing process had been very good. My ears are still a bit tender, but nothing bad.

I guess that is all my news. …..

That's Funny!!!

So Jonathan, my brother, thought that I was talking about him when I was writing about the big mess with the rape charges. He wrote a comment, are you talking about me?? No silly!!

Well I think good things are in the works. I friend of mine are just waiting on a room to rent, but we are looking at living on what used to be a kibbutz and being waitresses. The money is good and the area is beautiful. It is called Bet Oren. Mom, do you remember when we were driving in the mountains to get to the druze village and we passed a huge prison? Remember that the tour guide said they are the luckiest criminals, because they have the most amazing view? Well Bet Oren is right next to that jail. It is the most amazing view.

I will give more details later but I have to go to class. I am worried, because I had a dream that there were no rooms availible. But that is just a dream.

Middle Eastern Life.

Sorry I have been so delayed in my writing. There has been a lot going on. Along with me trying to find a new place to live, Yora, basically my best friend on this kibbutz, is leaving in 3 days. It sucks, it is not fair. She is not Jewish, so boot her out of the country. And she loved Israel so much, she loves the language so much. She is so much of a better student than I am. So today, we were bad. We ditched class. We went to Afula. And we got some piercings!!!

Don't worry. Its not as bad as it seems. She got her nose peirced and I got my ears done finally. Alfter all these years. The reason I did it, is a bought a pair of earrings I just feel in love with. These were made by someone on my kibbutz. And then I was like, "Oh, no, now I actually have to do it." So I did it and I actually survived. Yora held my hand for the first one and then I was like "Oh its ok I don't need it after all." It really barely hurt. So now I just have to wait 3 weeks and then I will be wearing my beautiful earrings. I will be sure to take pictures.

In other funny news....Yora and I went on a little outing to Daliat Al Carmel, which is a close by Druze village. In this 3 hour visit we got to see the best and the worst of middle eastern culture. Let me enlighten you. First we were sitting in this really nice restaurant eating shawarma. Enjoying, peaceful. When this guy comes up (we were sitting outside) and is talking loudly and very close to the guy working there. Mind you they were standing right in front of our table. I thought they were going to get into a fight. But I was relaxed, comfortable. So the guy leaves to his car parked in front. And maybe ten minutes later he starts yelling in Arabic. Fortunatly Yora knows some Arabic. He was saying come here to my car. And the next thing you know an all out fight had broken out. There was punching, a wooden plank, someone trying to smash someone else between the door of the driverside. The engine starts, screetching tires. The other guy runs after the car. Is in front of a storefront and grabs a Darbuka drum and throws it at the car. The car speeds away and may men go running after.

I who don't like fights am up on my feet saying lets just leave some money and go. Yora who isn't bothered by fights is siting there laughing hysterically.

Then we walk around. And after a while decide to sit for some coffee. It was quiet, peaceful. Nice guy working there. Then one of his friend passes, a girl, beautiful, and hands him a photo album. So we are sitting craining trying to look at them and finally he noticed and came to sit with us so we could see them. It was her before wedding pictures. He said her wedding would be in about one year, "first the house has to be built." It was great. So sweet and nice.

The worst and the best of Middle Eastern mentality.It was great fun.

Shabbat Shalom to all.

Its getting better all the time

I do have some pictures to put up, but right now I don't have the time. I had a wonderful weekend in Tel Aviv with Lerone. I will write more about in in a bit, but lets just say I had the best homemade meal, in my life. She moved into an apartment and it is so nice.

Things are getting better all the time. I have been asking questions, getting opinions and going to kibbutzim in the area to find out what to do next. Right now it looks like it is possible for me to rent a room for not that much and find work. But I think the finding work will be harder than I think. I spoke with a guy I know on another near by kibbutz. He is in the same boat as me. He is a volunteer there and is trying to work for money, but they don't want to give it to him.

But volunteering on that kibbutz, would be much better than on this one because, I would have my own room, I would only work 5 days a week instead of 6 and the pay is almost twice as much. So basically at this point it looks like the best bet. Also he told me I would be working in their factory, which is a soap factory and the up shot is that all the workers there are Druze. And he said I would be speaking only Hebrew, cuz they don't speak English. This is what i want most of all.

I am going to look into a few more possiblities, but this looks like the best solution to me. Well I have to go to class. Till next time.