For some reason that I just don't understand, everyone who meets me for the first time in this country assumes that I just finished high school. In Chicago, people assumed that I was older than I really am. Now I've suddenly lost six years of my life. At first it bother me, but now I'm thinking of it as a fantastic opportunity. I never got to take a year after high school to come to Israel. Now I can pretend that this is my post-high school year. A few people here have also assumed that I'm a chabadnikit, which I really don't understand. I don't think I have that chabad aura at all. I'm getting a kick out of being eighteen again, but there's no way I'm becoming a chabadnikit (no offense to the chabadniks in the audience, of course). Silly Israelis.
Life in the Love Shack continues to lose its summer campiness. We're getting three new girls next week, though, which will shake up the group dynamics once again. The few guys in the ulpan giur are moving into the Love Shack, in order to make room for more girls, since we don't have space for the new girls. Some of the "older" girls are therefore moving into the ulpan giur. Being one of said "older" girls, I was offered a room in the other building, but I turned it down. As frustrating as the children can be, I don't really want to separate myself from the group that drastically. And, as conceited as this will sound, there are few other people in the Love Shack with the ability to keep the peace. I kind of feel like it's in everyone's best interest if I stay put. That, and I don't want to be so far away from Jacque and Dan-Dan. I'd miss too many funny moments. (Digression: Major shout-out to my paternal unit for giving me such an appreciation of British humour. I'm single-handedly restoring the reputation of America which Dubya has destroyed. Now people know there is such a thing as a clever American.)
Someone told me only a few moments ago that they hate it here, and hate living with all these people and never having the anonymity of a big city. Stranglely enough, I disagree completely. When I want to feel alone, I go for a walk by the cotton fields (very pretty at sunset, btw) or find someplace to lay on the grass and watch the stars. When I want company, I have a house full of people who (surpise!) all like me. I love it here. I walk down the road singing happy tunes, consciously aware of how happy I am. Yesterday I went to Yerushalayim for a few hours to pick something up from someone who's going back to the States on Sunday. He was so unhappy that he's leaving, and I was reminded of last August, when I was at Ben Gurion, on the phone with my paternal unit, crying because I didn't want to leave Israel. I couldn't help but think, "I get to stay! I get to stay!". I thought about it for much of the bus ride back to the kibbutz. It makes me grin every time.