A letter from Alice…

This week started with something that I had looked forward to since the beginning of my Shnat experience. As we’ve mentioned before, we have set up a system throughout shnat where we have all written down a wish that we wanted to happen at some time during our time here. I wrote down that we had some kind of date night and on Wednesday night date night had arrived. We all had been ‘set up’ with our date using a random pairs generator and then had to go on a date together. These dates ranged from going on a treasure hunt, going to Akko, watching films in bed and going to Haifa. Everyone had a different experience and we all realised how much we had missed spending quality time with just one other person. It was so valuable for all of us and so much fun to get back home and compare evenings.

On Thursday we had our last tiyul of Karmiel, some would say the best! We went first to do a little walk ending up at a beautiful waterfall that is the main source of the Jordan River. We then went to a wine tasting in Odem Mountain, which everyone was very excited about (apart from me #allergies). We also found some wonderful cheese there that a few of us were very excited about, Israeli cheese just ISNT THE SAME! After that we went to a chocolate factory owned by a woman that moved to Israel from South America and brought her family’s chocolate legacy with her. This chocolate tasted nice, not very Israeli! After that we went to an amazing viewpoint where you can see Lebanon and Syria. It was incredibly real looking out at a place that was pointed out to us as occupied by Isis and then we heard a bomb. There is really nothing like the sounds of warfare to make the situation that you are in feel more real.  After this long day, we were then very ready to get back to Karmiel and have a relaxed evening.

We had a chilled day on Shabbat with some of us taking our last opportunity to travel and going to Tzfat or Akko and others of us joining our ‘Mum’ Galit planting flowers for Tu Bishvat in Karmiel. We then had a ‘pre-kabshab’ in the Havatselet flat before going to Yedid Nefesh community for their Kabbalat Shabbat service. After the service we all had our last host family dinners and then collapsed into bed after a very long week. Saturday brought us the rest that we needed before having Shacharit, Limmud and then a chat about how we are going to move forward as a kvutsah. We then had a lovely dinner with a family that we have all loved so much throughout our time in Karmiel. Whether it was helping Shai, receiving a food package every week or just watching Shirley laugh hysterically at the Tu Bishvat seder, we all gained something from knowing the amazing Solvey family. On Sunday we started our Sikkum to Karmiel seminar with a ma’amad followed by a talk by a woman who works in an amazing hospital in the area. This hospital takes in anyone who needs medical attention with no questions asked, including people who are ‘brought’ to them at the border of Syria. It was an eye-opening talk that allowed us to learn about some of the amazing people that help others in this country.

We then had an afternoon off to start packing up our lives from the past few months. On Monday, we had more talks closing this experience and then more time to pack up. Then Tuesday, doomsday, arrived and we had to clean the house ENTIRELY. It was exhausting, it was stressful, it was weird, WE SURVIVED! Then Miri our lovely Hebrew teacher invited us all over for dinner which was such a relief after such a long day.

Wednesday came and it was time to move. It still hasn’t really sunk in for a lot of us that we aren’t just getting back on a coach and going home to Karmiel soon but now is the time for us all to move on and prepare for what is to come. We have learnt so much from the Karmiel experience and created some memories as a whole Kvutsah that we will never forget. We will always be bonded by this experience and as we split, 6 of us to Machon, 10 to Etgar and me on my way home before going to travel in Borneo, we will hold onto the fact that we have this shared memory that brings us together. It’s been amazing, we will miss it but we are ready to move on and excited for the incredible new opportunities we are now approaching.

Speaking just for me, Ma’ayan North, I love you all. Thank you so much for everything. I am still with you in spirit I promise and I will keep you updated on me so you better keep me updated on you! xxx