Life after Birthright....
May 28 - June 1
So I was sick--very sick. Shelly played mommy and took care of me well. We became bums on the kibbutz for a while and really got to know the kibbutzniks. For those of you who don't know, Shelly Farahan is my really good friend from Indiana University who I am continuing my Israel trip with and who you will hear a lot about in the future because we have been together 24/7 and it has been a blast. Her brother is what they call a 'lonely soldier' which means he made aaliyah and joined the army but his parents aren't in Israel. So, when he isn't on the army base he lives on one of the nicest kibbutzes (a communal living area where everyone shares almost everything) in all of Israel. It sits on the Med Sea and has a great beach. There are a lot of Ulapanistim (an Ulpan is a semester course where you can come to learn Hebrew. They have them all over Israel and people from around the entire world come to study at them and just have a chance to live in Israel for a while.) Shelly and I are very social people and after I began feeling better we met a bunch of lonely soldiers from South Africa and Ethiopia and Ulpanistim from South Africa, Argentina, America, England, Ireland, Scotland, Mexico, and more. Danny, Shelly's brother in the army, is a really generous person and let us stay in his room at the kibbutz whenever we needed. It has become our home base for the summer as we travel around Israel.
Danny's suitemates and neighbors (all soldiers) are really interesting people. Avi is an Ethiopian who was born and grew up on the kibbutz. He smokes nargillah (what they call Hookah in Hebrew) all the time and speaks only Hebrew. Therefore, Shelly and I are forced to speak to him only in Hebrew if we want to talk to him, which we of course do. My Hebrew has improved so much since coming here. The trick is to not be embarrassed to speak and make mistakes. Most Israelis will be patient with you attempting Hebrew and are forgiving when you make mistakes, which I often do. We also met some guys from the Ulpan one night at dinner and they invited us to their toga party that night. One of the Ulpanistim was from Scotland and Shelly and I made him say "Get in my belly" (from Austin Powers) all night. Very entertaining.
The Ulpan on this kibbutz is great and one much coveted over all the Ulpans out there. Ma'agan Michael (the name of the kibbutz) is beautiful yet secluded. I began to feel much more myself and it was time Shelly and I travel around the country. But first, SHANTIPI!!