Am now back on the kibbutz after spending my first free weekend with Dov Newmark and his wonderful family in Modi'in (Dov also met me at the airport after making aliyah just 11 days ago!). I had a really relaxing weekend in the scorching heat of central Israel, unlike the cool Golan, and enjoyed the religious atmosphere of Modi'in. In fact, on Shabbat we were evicted from the shul before the service had ended, as the Sephardi community, who owned the shul, wanted to start their service. So, we had to finish Mussaf on the street albeit with people driving past. I really felt like I was in Israel with this unusual situation.
Although I had a great "sof shavuah", I really missed my Garin and my kibbutz. I think this weekend showed me how important the group is for me, especially as I have no immediate family in Israel. Also, since the 7 days we have been together, I feel that we have become close friends and speaking for myself, I know that I have made some strong friends that I will be able to count on the difficult upcoming months.
I also wanted to let you know how, after being dropped off at Arlozorov train station in Tel Aviv, I needed to get a train to Modi'in. As I waited for the double decker train (!), I realised that it was the first time I had been properly alone in Israel, post-aliyah. As I sat there, I started to become quite emotional (not in a sad way) thinking how I have actually succeeded in following my dreams. Seeing the dozens of soldiers walking past also reminded me of why I wanted to come and gave me that buzz that zionism does to me. That feeling also came to me on Friday night at Modi'in, where at the Kabbalat Shabbat service, I looked around to see all the religious men. I remember thinking that I came to Israel because I want to contribute in all that I can in protecting these sorts of people and our right to follow our beliefs in our own land. This isn't just a cliche that I am writing, I truly believe in everything I have said and sometimes think that these beliefs are for people much more mature than me.
I will quickly let you know what I have been up to in the last week within the garin. We have had our first ulpan lesson, been on a couple of trips around the north (much like tour) and have completed many bureaucratic procedures, such as, mobile phone (which will be coming in 2 days!!), bank account and "teudat zehut", which is my Israeli ID.
This week will be filled with ulpan lessons, ulpan lessons and some extra ulpan help for those who need (....me), so next week's blog may not be as exciting but keep reading it please.