Just a short blog this week as I prepare to start a full week of paratrooping training at the IDF's jump school tomorrow. I am actually pretty mad at the army, as I am only able to have a one day weekend today, since I got back to Ortal late afternoon yesterday and have to leave here today (and sleep at friends in the centre of Israel) in order not to be late on Sunday. Despite explaining my circumstances of being a lone soldier and living so far north, I still have to arrive to the jump school base at 9am on Sunday morning. I'm obviously annoyed because weekends off from the army are a precious but short space of free time and anything that makes it even shorter is simply frustrating. At the moment I just feel that I have left so much back home in order to give all that I can to the army; and this is how they repay me? I do realise that this is what the army is all about (not being home, both England and Ortal, for a long time) but I'm just a bit angry right now, especially since I know that I'll be missing most of my Garin's seminar next weekend for the same reasons. The Garin seminar is when everyone comes back for the weekend from the army and we have a reunion, so to miss parts of that is going to be painful.
The reason for all these late leavings and early arrivals is because I have officially started jump school, where there is a tight schedule and extremely high discipline. I've already done some training and have learnt how to fall, roll and enter the plane! It's so crazy to think that this week I'm learning how to jump and then the week after...I'll be jumping out of a plane five times!!! The course is actually quite hard physically, especially since you are falling on the floor for eight hours straight a day. It's a big deal for us, since we are paratroopers, and at the end of all the 'tsnichot' (paratroops/jumps) we will be given the pin to put on our uniform, which is the famous wings and a parachute. It's all very exciting stuff and I'll be able to talk about it more next weekend after I've finished the week of training. You can see some of the stuff I'll been doing this week... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzxTYe5LO_M.
For Shavuot I stayed at one of my friend's house from the army and we had a really great couple of days. His family made me feel very welcome, I met all his friends and we went out a couple of times. Shavuot showed me that I've definitely made true friends from the army, firstly, the guy whose house I stayed at, I am now really close to, and also, another guy, who volunteered to stay on base for Shavuot instead of me, after my name was pulled out of a hat. It's a long story, but basically my other very good friend insisted on replacing me as one of the soldiers needed to stay on base, in order so I could enjoy the Shavuot at the first friend's house after we had planned it for a long time. Both these guys are strong friends and it's good to know that I've integrated with all these Israeli guys, despite having some initial worries about making friends with Israelis before I joined the army.
Next week I have a full week's training at the jump school and will hopefully be back for the weekend (at some point), in order to spend time with the people from the garin, some of whom I haven't seen in over three months. Although I started the blog in a pessimistic tone, I'm not depressed at all, it's just a temporary annoyance of not having enough free time on the weekends and I know that it is only because of the paratrooping course, which lasts two weeks and is completely worth the short weekends in the end. I still am desparately missing my parents but in a way that I'm looking forward to seeing them (when I hopefully come back to London in the summer) and, since I speak to them every day, never feel that I am far away from them. Hope everyone had a nice and filling Shavuot, I ate a ridiculous amount of cheesecake at my friend's house! Wish me luck with all the jump training this week.