I am finally writing you from Israel! More precisely from Giv'at Oz, a small kibbutz near Afula.
It really feels surreal to be finally here and my first week and a half vanished in a snap of fingers. Which makes it really hard for me to tell you what happened so far because I don't know where to start from.
Possibly the beginning may be a good place to start, right?
I spent my first night in Tel Aviv, where I met some interesting people who had travelled, seen and done an awful
lot more than me: the introvert in me- the one always afraid of awkward conversations with strangers and of meeting new people-was really surprised on how easy you can chat with people you have barely met. The morning after I chose my kibbutz and headed there almost straight away.
Well, almost...beforehand I wanted to check out the famous beaches, which is also all I saw from Tel Aviv.
On the northward bus I was starting to get a bit anxious about the kibbutz: with only 4-5 volunteers it was quite a small place and if we dusk' get along, then...of course these were only the usual idle worries my mind likes to lull herself with all the time.
Because as it turned out, I needed not to worry. All the people here are very nice and I am making already great friends.
So far there is 5 of us. Sophia, my room mate, is from Germany and is studying speech therapy. We get along so well that is almost unbelievable: I never found someone who could follow my crazy lines of thought ad effortlessly as she does.
Then there is Sophia (I know, what are the chances?) who is from the US and is studying maths. She is really smiley and is always nice to have her around. She's been studying a semester in Jerusalem so she's become our person of reference for things to do or translating from Hebrew. Last ( but not least) there are Chris and Rose who are married with each other: they are very nice but they tend to keep a lot to themselves especially after work. Plus the young people from the kibbutz and a group of "lone soldiers"- soldiers who don't have family- from the IDF.
Kibbutz life is very chilled and it's almost like being in a bubble. There is very little to worry about: you wake up in the morning, go to work, rest after work (as of late in the pool) and on occasion you go and watch the match in the pub. Or more likely go for a run at sunset with both Sophias.
As we get all our meals from the kibbutz kitchen ( we get breakfast and lunch, but we take a container with food from lunch) there is no need to cook or buy food...it's completely stress free, at least for us volunteers.
It's such a good hakuna matata feeling that I am constantly smiling and happy...not bubbly-excited happy but a deeper sense of general contentment and serenity which I have been chasing on my runs over the past few months.
Because of the "bubble effect" of the kibbutz all the turmoil of the past weeks was just a faint echo brought by checking the news at lunchtime and after work. As of yesterday the situation has become a little bit more tangible as the kibbutz is expecting to host between 35-60 refugees from downsouth: Sophia and Rozy (a volunteer from another organisation) had to move out of their building to make room for them and initially we were asked to be ready to help with cleaning and moving their luggage across (which we didn't have to do in the end).
Meanwhile the news get a bit more worrisome as the tension between Israel and Hamas escalates.
We wait and see because at the moment it seems the best option: none of us wants to leave earlier!