Tomorrow, as a Garin, we start Gadna for 5 days. Gadna is a trial week for the army but from what we've been told by Kibbutzniks already in the army, it doesn't even come to close. Instead, this next week will be a bit of a laugh, taking orders from the Gadna commanders, but will also be a good chance for the group to really bond in a different situation. I am really excited for Gadna, I want to really excel as a 'soldier' (you get to wear uniform) and wantto try and prepare myself, even though it will be far from the real thing, for this new atmosphere.
It has been a superb week here in Ortal in the magnificent Golan Heights. Firstly, I received my A level results, a day after the rest of the world. Thanks to my Mummy, who managed to convince JFS to release my results to her over the phone, something they have never done before, but allowed because of the circumstances. I got A A A (English Literature, History and Politics) and am clearly delighted, as you can't get better than that. More importantly though, the fact that with these grades alone I could have got into any university or course in the country, but, instead, I am going to enlist in the Israeli army, what a feeling.
Also this week, some of the boys (including myself) had our first training session with one of the Kibbutzniks in order to get in some sort of fitness for the army. Even though it was only a glimpse of our training programme, which itself is only a minor glimpse of what we have to face in the IDF, it was one of my personal highlights so far.
Picture this...Four of us boys were painfully trying to stay in 'Matsav Shtayim' (the position that you start a press-up in, i.e. arms and body straight) for minutes at a time, while our 'commander', a Kibbutznik with massive dreadlocks who was in Nachal, stands over us. With my arms shaking, our fitness instructor was telling us things in Hebrew, like "the Israeli army is the best army in the world" and "these are the people who are protecting this land". It is difficult to describe it completely, but it was definitely one of those moments that I keep having where I'm reminded why I am here.
There has been a lot of ulpan classes this week, my hebrew is improving but is still nowhere near the level it needs to be. During our peulot (activities) only hebrew is spoken and I do need translation from other people. Language is probably the aspect of aliya that is frustrating me the most but I have faith that I will keep picking it up and hopefully I don't have to go to army ulpan. The garin football team is now starting to beat the kibbutniks, and I am definitely playing my best football since the days of Brady Maccabi!!!
Finally, for 18 years of living in England, I never really felt dizzy heights. But here in Israel, it's lovely knowing that Tottenham are sitting at the top of the league as I write this, long may it stay that way. I have watched both of Spurs' games this season and still feel like I am there with my papa. C'mon you spurs.
As I have said, next week is Gadna, so I will let you know how that went in the next blog. Much love.