So Kibbutz Na’an is a beautiful chunk of landscape located next to the city of Rehovot south of Tel Aviv. Driving up, I had no clue what to expect. I was instantly blown away by the never ending rows of lush green fields, flowers and lines of houses in this quaint Kibbutz, Also noticing industrial equipment, my mind wandered to my eventual job placement here on the Kibbutz. Was I to be working in a factory?
My taxi dropped me off at the entrance to the Ulpan center where I immediately met some nice Ulpan kids. 3 Australians and a Brit. They are all 19. Anyways they were really nice guys, all attractive. They were witty, charming and of course have great accents. They made me feel right at home. I checked in with the director, Ilan, whose office is decorated with paintings from past Ulpan classes. There is everything to beautifully done artistic landscapes to class portraits drawn in South Park theme. He was really sweet, welcoming and organized. I loved that bit- the organization part; a beautiful change from Egyptian run things. Anyways the boys helped me bring my bags to my room and we almost immediately went into Rehovot to get some things. It was pretty cold so I bought a jacket, but we walked around this town, quite family oriented. The mall is that way too. Kids surrounding tables getting taught how to make pancakes, families playing in kids jungle gyms, etc.
Meeting people was interesting, as I suppose most first impression situations are. There are people here from all over the world: Mexico, Britain, Australia, Hungary, France, the US, Germany, Russia, and more. There are only 30 of us and the guy to girl ratio is quite off. I think there are only 10 girls. We hung out, smoked sheesha, and talked with each other, regaling our different adventures. Most of us are very well traveled, and were exchanging trips and stories about where we’ve been/where we are dying to go.
I woke up this morning, after homey-ing my room and went for a run. 2 other guys were supposed to come so they slept through it. The run was nice, and the kibbutz is so big, I ran for 30 minutes and hadn’t seen hardly any of it. There are fields upon fields of eggplant, corn and some other unidentifiable vegetable. Gorgeous rows of flowers and even stables with horses, peacocks, pigs and goats surround our Ulpan dorm area. The boys built a fire pit, clearly a crucial need for a five month program. My roommate’s name is Emily, she’s from California and really cool- very chill, nice and clean thank god.
The general way of life here is just drastically different. The communal feeling is evident. People greet everyone as they walk by, the locals are happy to meet us and show us around. Even the dining halls, where everyone eats, felt like one big camp atmosphere- everyone here knows and loves each other. Women walk around with stroller like objects- or at least purposefully so, but actually are cribs with wheels on them with a baby in it. I find it kind of cute, they stroll their baby’s crib along to the grocery store. When you grow up in a kibbutz, at age 16, you get your own apartment, separate from your family. Also, they have a communal grocery store, swimming pool, playgrounds, gardens, and even 2 pubs. I think I could get used to living this way. Everything is so calm and peaceful. Might be trouble though, I am already getting restless. Not in a bad way necessarily, I just have to learn to quiet my mind.