Shabbat is always a special time of the week, especially being in Israel. Whether it is just relaxing at home, or spending Friday evening with a host family, every shabbat here has been great. But, this shabbat was special. Yesterday, I came down to Tel Aviv to spend Friday evening at one of the Tikkun Olam’s (another Bina program) apartment. The second semester of Tikkun Olam just began, so there are new participants, so it was great to meet them over Shabbat dinner. We then played my favorite game, Cards Against Humanity to see just how horrible/hilarious everyone is!
I spent the night at their apartment, and then woke up early this morning to take a roomie road trip. In Israel, there is currently a festival going on called Darom Adom, at Moshav Shokeda. Once a year, around this time, the Moshav is covered in red poppies, and they have a big festival around it. We ended up renting a car, and driving the hour south from Tel Aviv. We were warned that there would be a lot of traffic getting into the Moshav, but we must have been lucky that there wasn’t too much when we first got there. We had to walk about 10-15 minutes to get to where the main festival area was. There was music, food, and of course camel rides, because what Israeli festival would be complete without them (rhetorical question!!)!
On the other side of the festival area were the giant fields of red poppies. We immediately started taking pictures, but as we walked, the poppies got more and more beautiful. It wasn’t quite the complete sea of red I expected, but there were some incredibly dense areas of flowers that were breath-taking. We spent a lot of time taking fun roomie-family pictures, along with plenty of pictures of the poppies themselves. As we continued walking down the paths through the flowers, we crossed a river to start heading back towards the festival area.
As I continued to take pictures, one of my roommates went over a hill, and discovered a whole grove of clementine trees! She had picked a few and put them in her scarf to “hide”. When I realized where she had gone, I decided I wanted to pick some as well. She then told me to grab a bunch, which I had all intentions of doing! Because it was such an amazing day outside, I was able to take off my sweatshirt, tie off the arms and hoodie, and use it as a bag for collecting the citrus! I meandered through the trees collecting a lot of clementines when I found a few rows of pomelo trees as well! I added 4 pomelos to my “bag”, and returned to the group, where we decided I had a large citrus baby that I was carrying around. On the walk back to the car, we also found lemon trees, so naturally I had to feed the citrus baby, and added four lemons to my sweatshirt. By the time we got home, I had 4 pomelos, 4 lemons, and 11 clementines in my sweatshirt, and that does not include the 4 clementines I ate on the way home, or any other clementines my roommates ate!
We had a nice drive back to back to one of our friend’s apartments where we hung out for a few hours watching movies, before we had to head back to drop the car off. As we were getting ready to leave, I got to FaceTime with my puppy!!! It was absolutely such an amazing call, and Savannah and I had a great conversation! She even brought me her rope to play with, and tried to talk quite a bit! Good thing she had my mom on the other side to actually play with the rope with her (thanks mom!), but maybe one day she’ll figure out I can’t actually play with the rope on my end!
The car then had to be returned to the airport, and we took the rental car shuttle to the terminal to be able to catch the train. Walking into Ben Gurion was hands down, the hardest part of the day. I did not like the feeling of walking into the airport, even knowing I was not yet leaving the country. It definitely showed me that my time here is NOT done, and the end of this year is coming much too fast. We went downstairs to catch the train which goes to Haifa, where we had to switch to another train for the journey back to Migdal HaEmek. One of the “joys” of Shabbat, is the lack of public transportation. Unfortunately, there is only one train from Haifa to Migdal HaEmek on Saturday nights, and therefore there is only one bus from the train station back to our apartment. To top it off, our train was 30 minutes late, meaning our bus was going to leave without us. Luckily, we have been truly blessed with amazing friends who live in this area. We started making phone calls, and one of our friends agreed to meet us at the train station to drive us home.This was just one of the many constant reminders of the generosity of Israelis and the reason I chose to stay in Detroit’s Partnership region!
We finally arrived back home after a long, amazing day of exploring. Today was such a great, relaxing way to spend Shabbat. I enjoyed traveling with my roomies, and look forward to wherever our next roomie road-trip takes us!