Welcome to the good life: Snores, chores, bores and much mores
By Kovi Rose
Its 3:00am and I am woken by the sound of my roommate from Minnesota snoring like a disgruntled boar. He has said to me in the past that I should wake him up if he snores, but I never have the heart to do it; so instead I simply hurl whatever small belongings I have at him to try and shift him into a position where his sinuses are less clogged (later he will ask me why his bed was covered in my books, shoes and toiletries when he woke up). It’s alright for him, he goes back to sleep, wakes up for morning prayers at 6:15am, has breakfast and heads to work after that. For me however, I have to be up by 5:30am ready to work in the organic fields at 6:00am, so I really wish he would stop snoring and let me get some rest.
I turn my pillow over, pull the sheets over my head and try to salvage a few more moments of sleep. While doing this I find my mind wandering back to my arrival in Israel, walking out of the Ben-Gurion Airport gate to the baggage claim past a wall-mounted row of old Zionist posters; the sort that encouraged idealistic young Jews from around the world to move to Israel by depicting two fit and attractive teenagers smiling as they work the land. Before I came to this kibbutz, this was the sort of propaganda that had spurred me on, filled my heart with Zionism, and several other clichés. But now, as I sit here in bed with bronchitis writing, I wonder where that passion went, and why is it that I find myself becoming lazy and unmotivated.
On a weekly basis I have ulpan classes on every first day (8am – 3pm) and every other day, I work in the fields, kitchen, spice-factory, bio-bee farm and dining hall (6am – 4pm). The ulpan classes are generally not too bad and often involve translating Israeli music to practice our Hebrew; the only problem being that the program is run on an English/Hebrew basis, so the Italian kid who doesn’t speak English at all, has trouble learning any Hebrew.
The work is a different story, spending several hours at a time moving boxes of dried parsley flakes into a shipping container, or pouring bee food into hundreds of tiny cups, or pulling onions out of the ground, or weeds out of the vineyard, things tend to become sort of stultifying and boring. The other day in the vineyard we were attempting to cut down weeds with a dull, rusted hacksaw, and I turned to the Oleh next me and asked her whether this was making her feel more Zionist. She answered sarcastically in the affirmative, brushed a spider of her shoulder, and continued the fruitless weeding.
Other than the mundane routine here, the lifestyle is actually pretty good. The food in the dining hall satisfies. The people here are nice. The location makes sure that even the hottest day is accompanied by a cool breeze. And after the day’s work is done, we sit in the hammocks and talk about our families back home, or politics, or what we are planning to do on the next free weekend.
In fact, the only thing that I don’t like here is how apathetic I am sometimes. Perhaps this complacency is the reason I’ve come down with bronchitis, or maybe the opposite is true – It may be fate that I got sick now in order to give myself time for self-reflection.
In either case, I plan to come out of my hiatus with clear eyes and a full heart. According to some, the month of Nisan included the creation of the universe, and as such I feel as if it is the perfect time for rebirth and re-evaluation of attitudes and work ethics.
I will push myself mentally to push myself physically.
Kovi Rose is a Mount Scopus graduate who made aliyah in March 2011. This is the second entry of his aliyah journal that he is writing for Galus Australis.