Life: on all scales

Sometimes you look at things and they seem like such big deals, or so bad. And then you get up in the morning and hear that there is war again in Gaza and, well all that little stuff doesn't seem so bad after all.

Early this morning Israeli soldiers entered Gaza. They are trying to get back the kidnapped soldier. They are only inside the strip about one kilometer. But they have bombed some areas, like a powerhouse, an unused airport (actually the only one in Gaza), and they have distroyed some tanks.

Hopefully this will put the pressure on to get the missing soldier back. But it is still sad and scary. It is sad if more lives are lost for just this one.

Well my little problems is that I was promised to have work here when I return from the US and yesterday, Orly, the director informed me that I couldn't stay. So now I have to figure out where I will be going when I return. I sent a fax to a man that fixs new immigrants on kibbutzim when they are in the army. So hopefully that will be solved by the time I get back.

It does make me mad that this director is just toying with peoples lifes and doesn't really seem to take things seriously and I intend to get the number of the Jewish Agency today and call. Because this is not the first time and I am not the first person. And we who are here are all alone in this crazy jungle.

But I will be leaving in a few days, on an adventure to the US. And I will get to have Hugh's pancakes and salsa, and sit with my family and friends and it will be a good relaxation before the army.

Random Pictures

Dead lizard, and my realization that I like to take pictures of dead things....

This guy is Rolly and he was getting into the Ulpan trash and I think he got stuck!!!

This was taken as I gwas going up to my kibbutz. Sorry it is so bad. But you can see how beautiful it is where I live.

Take a look at this tree!!

A piece of a giant meduza and Noa and Kim on Ma'agan Michael

So yesterday I went on and just for the hell of it to compare how the mess that is going on in Gaza is being rported. WOW. It is like two different world. In the LA times they didn't even say a soldier was kidnapped. They said something like a soldier is supposedly missing and may have been kidnapped.
It is really weird to see the diffence.

I am really excited about coming to the US. Although I think I am in for some culture shock. Everyday as I am making my Israeli breakfast I am thinking, "it won't be the same." I want to make it for my family but it will be different. Oh well, just another lesson on going with the flow.

Look! It the picture you can see my my big bling bling gangsta earrings!

Bad News In Aza

Yeaterday, there was a sure bad feeling in the air. As two Israeli soldiers were killed, one badly wounded and one was kidnapped. Hamas tunneled from the Gaza Strip to an Israeli Army outpost nearby, roughly 800 meters or 900 feet, and attacked. For the past weeks there have been numerous reports of homemade rockets being fired into Israel. The rockets are powerful enough to reach towns near Ashqelon which if I remember correctly is 12k from Aza.

It is sad. Because there is no one in Israel who doesn't know someone who is in the army. Who is doing something very dangerous for the country. And it is a bit frightening to not know what is to come. Israel has given the strip back and yet the fighting still continues.


my brother has this link on his blog that I never looked at but you all have to. It is so amazing.

This is the father's day addition and it just made me cry, some are so beautiful and some are so sad and full of hurt.

I will add this link soon to my blog. The secrets change every week.

Two Funnies

Funny number one:

I went after work two days ago to Ma'agan Michael because Noa and her friends that are visiting from Sweden went there and told me to come along after I finished. I got there really fast and went down to the beach to meet them. They looked so tired and sunburned from being at the beach all day, but I was excited.

I went in the water alone. It was so nice. The waves were pretty small but still it was completely refreshing. I had forgotten that late June starts the jellyfish or Meduza (in Hebrew) season. So finally I get stung.

As I am limping out of the water in pain telling Noa what happened, she reminded me about the season. "Not only is it on the back of my leg. But worst of all" I say, "I have no pee inside me." (note: if you pee on it it takes away the sting.)

Without missing a beat Noa says:I'll pee on you.

So we went to the back of the beach where there are bluffs and yes I laid down on the sand on my belly and she squatted over my leg and peed on me! We were laughing so hard. We thought it would be so funny if someone saw us. They must think what the hell is that?!

Noa said afterward that I am the second person she peed on. The first being her mother when she was born. So, if I was ever wondering if she was a true friend I guess now I know.

Second funny thing:
After the beach we met up with Roie and went to the dinningroom. A few other people joined us and it was really nice. One of the people was Noa's ex-boyfriend Barnardo (who weirdly, I was with him on the army base near Ashqelon the first time I was in Israel!)

I don't remember how the topic came up but all of a sudden he asked us: Have you guys ever seen the tree here that is shaped like a penis?

So as we were all interested and young, we went on a little trip to see the tree. It was pretty crazy. I didn't have my camera, but I am going back to Ma'agan this weekend for a concert so you bet I will take pictures.

It is hard to discribe, but someone carved out of an old tree penises. Every branch is one. It just shows you that kibbutzniks are pretty weird people.

This was about all the fun and excitement I could handle for on day!

מזל שלי My Luck

Some of you already know what I am about to talk about.

Last week I was talking on the phone with Mom and Hugh which is something I rarely do, and as I was being passed from Hugh to mom he said, "Look I want to let you know, if you would like to come out here for a visit before the army, do it."

Of course I say, I don't have that kind of money. And Hugh told me if you want to we will pay for it.

A few days later I had to call a third party for advice.

Lerone is basically in the same boat as me. She is one year older, moved to Israel. She is independent, but I am sure there are some things that her parents do for her too. So I told her what was up and what she thought.

Pearls of wisdom.

Don't feel guilty if you deside to go. They are doing this because they love you and they do miss you. And I am sure they would like to come visit you in Israel, but it is actaully cheaper for you to come to them. You deserve it. You have worked hard this year. Parents want to help their children and saving money is great, but if you have been working your whole life, then you should us some of it. Of course it seems like a lot of money to you and me but to them, not so much. Just feel comfortable with your choice.

So I desided it would be a good idea. For a few reasons. Honestly, honestly, honestly, my first reason would be to see my Grandpa Bob. Because I love all my family but he is my number one man. He is the most special person in the world and coming here last year I dreaded the idea of one day getting a call to hear the worst news. If I have the opportunity to see him one more time, I will take it.

And of course I want to see my parents. I miss all my family. I am a cancer after all. A traveling cancer, but still a cancer. My family is very important to me. I don't know if I will be able to see everyone in my immediate family, but I will try.

And so I have had some ticketing problems, but they will be solved by Sunday and I will have a definitve date. But it will be the first week in July to the end of July.

Another good thing about this whole desicion, is when I come back to Israel. I will have a month before I start the army. I had been trying to figure out a nice way to ask my boss to change work to one of the factories, so I can be around people to learn Hebrew. I didn't want to hurt her as she has done so much for me and has given me a lot of personal help.

When I told her about going to the US she said, well that means when you return you will be working in the factory. Oh boo hoo, for me right. OK so I know it will suck to work in a screw or elecrical factory, but it is only for a month and then the army.

I guess I am a lucky girl. And I am greatful to every wonderful opportnity and offer that comes my way. I hope the stars will continue to shine on me so I can do good in this crazy world.

שנת שלום לכולם רגוע וכיף
Shabbat shalom to everyone, relaxation and fun.

Change Your Destiny

I love myself the way I am
But still I want to grow
The change outside will only come
When deep inside I know
I’m beautiful
And capable
Of being the best me I can
And I love myself
Just the way that I am

(This is a song we used to sing when I was a little girl at the Church of Science and Mind with Doctor Tom)

It is time to talk about change, and life and all those great things.

Funny thing. I was just looking at these pictures that my mom took of me on my birthday last year. And I swear to god the girl in those pictures is not the same me that is hear today. OK it is me. It is a facet of me. But god knows it is not the me here and now. First of all I look so tiny and so young and so pure but somehow empty. Not that I am not pure now, but there is something missing in my eyes that is here now. And I look like a girl.

My journey of life has just begun. I know that. And maybe if you are reading this and you are older, you might laugh that such a young person is writing that I have grown so in one year, but I have.

As an example of physical growth, you would never believe how ridiculous my glasses look on me now. I had them for over 2 years and yet, when I put then on, I can hardly stand how I look. They don’t fit me at all anymore. And truly I thought I would have then forever.

But the times they are a changin’

This past Shabbat I met a few people that moved to Israel. There are so many reasons that people come here. For some people they come because they see it as the only way out of a horrible situation.

For us more lucky ones it is different. All three people I spoke with came from countries and situations that were “better” than the life they have in Israel. They all said how they had such made lives in the US/Sweden/England. Good jobs, partying, college, friends, apartments. But somehow something was missing.

“I wanted to be challenged” said a boy from London who is in an elite unit in the army.

Life here is a challenge. Everyday it is. Everyday I am learning and growing and seeing things I had never seen before. And I am putting myself in new situations that I might not have if I was still at home.

Adversity is like a strong wind. I don’t mean just that it holds us back from places we might otherwise go. It also tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that afterwards we see ourselves as we really are, not merely as we might like to be. -memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden

Getting Out Of The Dark

Well I am sure you are all wondering how the thing with the army went. It took a few days to write this because of holidays here in Israel. It is the celebration of Shavuot. Which means weeks. To be perfectly honest I am not 100% sure what the holiday is about. I never really remember celebrating it in the US. But this is a pretty big holiday here, and especially on kibbutzim. I know it is an agriculture holiday. Last night we had a very nice meal with all dairy and vegetables. Then afterwards there was a kind of carnival. Today they had a ceremony by the cow barns. They even had a little parade of the farm machinery and some animals! I think my Grandpa Bob would be interested in it.

So now here is the information about the army. To start with, it finally feels like I am getting information. The first few times I had to do anything for it I felt as if I was in a dark room and had to walk from one side to the other. I was so confused. Can you imagine going to the army offices and having to wait hours to take an eye exam and then, “Thank you. You can go now.”

I decided to stay over with Lerone the night before. It was a really good idea and we had a nice time. Her friend Amitai just came into town from the US and we went to a really nice little restaurant for dinner. This place is really cool because all the dishes are 30 shekels, which is about 7 dollars. We had a nice time.

Amitai had asked me to take some pictures of him for his webpage. And I was thrilled, because the first time I met him I told Lerone that I would love to photograph him. To me he has such a great and expressive face. Maybe you will think I am silly to think this, but check this out. On one side of his family he is German. OK. On the other side he is 14th generation Jerusalemite. And before that his people were from Tiberius. Which means, if you think about it. Maybe, he looks a lot like what Jesus could have looked like. OK maybe I am crazy to say this, but who knows…

Regardless, I think he is beauty and a nice and interesting person. So it was great company with the both of them.

So the next morning we woke up and ate breakfast and Lerone was kind enough to make a very extensive map on how to get to the army office Beit HaShirion. It was in an area that neither of us were familiar with. I could have taken the bus, but then I would have had to backtrack to the central bus station (which is a zoo) and take the bus back to the area around her apartment. Anyway, it was a good length walk and I got there a bit late, but it was fine.

When I walked in I was directed to a room in which many girls were seated writing. I handed over the army notice and ID and told the soldier I was an English speaker. She looked through some files and found the form that all the other girls were doing, but in English. She had no Hebrew accent when she talked with me and almost had a bit of a drawl when she spoke, “go sit in the last row in the second seat.”

This form was crazy. It was about 30 pages of questions and writing. If they had asked questions like: When was the last time your mother had a bowel movement? Or: How many hairs are on your father’s head? I would not have been surprised!

I had to write about my life, my health, my thoughts, all the schools I went to, and all the things that impacted my life for good or bad. And then also things about what I wanted to do in the army.

About 30 minutes after I got there a soldier who looked higher up in the ranks came and started explaining something in Hebrew. Seriously it is like this: If Israeli’s speak at a certain fast speed then in the army they speak twice as fast. I sat there in wonder thinking, “I can barely make out ONE word this chick is saying.”

But I could see everyone was turning to the front of the booklet and I could figure out we had 20 minutes to complete some exercise. Good thing on the front there were directions in English. This was the psychometric test that I had heard all about. So you are given 2 pages of incomplete sentences to complete with whatever comes to mind first, but try to have only 2 word answers. Now this is harder to answer with 2 words in English than in Hebrew because words like ‘the’ are just an add on the beginning of the next word.

As I was taking the test I found myself thinking how interesting it would be to be a soldier who corrects these tests, because it is so psychological. The definition my computer gives for psychometric is: a branch of psychology dealing with the measurement of mental traits, capacities, and processes.

It was so interesting. For instance, there were like 4 statements all with _____ is afraid of______. So it would be like: She is afraid of ______. He is afraid of ______. I noticed that on two I wrote the dark. But there were other questions like: A proper gentleman should __________. A good mother/father is ________. A bad mother/father is_________. I am good at _________. I am happy when ________. When the boy gets angry he _________.

We had 20 minutes and I finished in 12.40. There was also a thing at the end of the booklet where you had to look at some image and then close your eyes and try not to do something and do another thing. Make sense. No. Well it was like a big circle, with 5 smaller circles on it and they all got progressively smaller. My job was to close my eyes and try to go clockwise and see how many times I could get x’s in the circles. The first 2 times I only got 2. But the last time I got 4.

Back to the information pages. It was crazy all the things they asked me about. What where the things that changed my life for better, for worse. Write briefly about your life, any major changes, why you moved to Israel. And what you want to do after the army. It was wild.

So when I finally finished all this I waited till the first soldier who helped me (the one with the drawl) came back. I told her I was done but that I didn’t do one whole exercise because it was in Hebrew. She told me not to worry and if I had gotten an interview. No I hadn’t so I had to wait till I was called.

About ten minutes later I was called into a room for the interview. It was the same soldier, which was nice to have someone familiar. She said she would try to give it in English. First thing she asked me was if I knew why I was there. I told her yes. I was there to take tests for the army to see where I would be placed. She said wrong.

She told me that a few years back the army decided that they were going about things wrong. They felt they were not putting to use all the people they could and they were wasting good soldiers and time in crappy jobs. She said all the girls in here today have high profiles and we want to help you so you can help the army. Yes the army is selfish, but as she said, “if you put a rocket scientist to be a dish washer it is a waste of her mind and she probably will no even be a good dish washer because she is so miserable.”

So after taking more of the same personal info she asked me, “What do you want to do in the army?”
Me: What do you mean?
Soldier: I mean what do you want to do?
Me: I thought you were supposed to tell me? Not me tell you!
Soldier: Well, if you could do anything, what would you like to do?
Me: If possible Photography since I am trained in it for 3 years and that would be a waste for the army not to take advantage.
Soldier is writing
Soldier: OK what else?
Me: I really don’t know because I never thought you would ask me what I wanted.
Soldier: OK what I usually say to girls who have no idea, or don’t know a lot about the army is first break it up into two. Do you want and inside job, or an outside job. I am considered inside job and there are a lot of different things to do. But it is not physical. Or do you want an outside job. And that doesn’t mean only combat. You can be an instructor or something combat too, but it is more physical.
Me: I prefer outside job.
Soldier: You can also do something with international relations since you have English. Or even intelligence if your Hebrew gets better, but those are inside jobs.
Me: I am interested in International relations.
More writing
Soldier: Would you ever consider trying out of an elite unit or combat?
Me: Wow. I never considered it even because I never thought I would be good enough.
Soldier: Well you run. You look fit. You are in good health. Would you want to try?
Me: Yes I would be honored to try.
Soldier: I always push the girls who are able to try. I really regret not becoming combat now so I tell them to try.

After this conversation and more writing on her part she asked if I would be will to serve more that 6 months (I think that is the minimum for a girl my age who is volunteering). When I told her yes, of course, the army ulpan alone would be 4 months she got really happy. Then she asked if I had any more questions.

Me: What happens next? I wait to hear from you with my job results?
Soldier: No. First we send all this information we gathered today to offices where soldiers dissect it all and decided according to all the information what would be the best places to use you in the army. Then they will send your info to units that they think you would be good for and then they (the units) will contact you for further tests and interviews.
Me: OK. Wow. Thank you so much. You have given me the most information. I really appreciate it.
Soldier: Of course. It’s my job. Good luck with everything and have a great day.

Truthfully, I walked out of there on a cloud. I don’t know if one thing she said was true. Maybe they say that to all the people. But I do know that I have more information now than I ever had.

And that is a good feeling. Maybe I am not afraid of the actual dark, as I answered twice to in the psychometric. Maybe I am afraid of being in the dark, and the unknown.