1. The old man with four dogs and umbrella with doggie pictures asks me, “India?”. “Yes.” “Eechak dana, eechak dana. Indian, no?”
2. When I leave work every day, my boss says, “Thank you girls. Thank you for everything.” Sometimes, she gives us chocolate or cake.
3. My extremely aggressive and controlled room-mate gets wasted. The others wake me up to take care of her because they’re too drunk to handle her. She keeps asking for the English Girl, saying she’s her room-mate and stumbles into her corridor. The English girl runs into her room and locks the door. She then starts puking violently into the lawn, while the Nice Swedish Guy says soothingly, “Don’t worry, Sunny-D is here.” The red-haired Swedish girl is trying to calm her claustrophobia by instructing her to breathe in, breathe out. The Colombian Couple are calling out from the staircase, “That’s right L**! Throw the devil out.”
4. My shy South Korean roommate asks: Do you make frat in front of friends? D made frat in front of me. I think it’s very rude.
5. Things L says. For example: She looks like she can’t count till 10.
6. The Columbian Twins have a Bitchy High School Girls thing going on. One of them, M, has been thrown out of every job on the kibbutz for a. Being lazy b. Licking her boyfriend and distracting others c. Being bossy. Unfortunately for her, she tries to tell L how to do her job of pasting stickers on apple boxes. L: “I am not your fucking child. You don’t fucking tell me how to do the job. I am not fucking working for you. You are slowly and surely getting on my nerves.” M says something in Spanish to other Columbian volunteers and gives out a high pitched laugh. L, thrusting her palm in M’s face: You see this? I will fucking smack you right here.” Work halts and the managers pull L away. M’s Swedish boyfriend walks by, giving L hard looks. L yells at him, “IS THERE A FUCKING PROBLEM?” We make L tell the story again and again for the rest of the day.
7. The Member’s club behind Dinning that has comfortable seats, soft lights, magazines, 12 flavours of herbal tea, many types of coffee and cakes and cookies. It opens three times a week and I sit there sipping my tea, watching the members playing with their grandchildren on Shabbath, wearing their best. Some of the founder members still dress like it’s an evening in Europe — coiffed hair, silver barrettes, polished shoes and scarves.
8. The flowers. Made more awe-inspiring by the knowledge that the orchards and forests in this hills were hand-planted by kibbutzims, 60 years ago. The garden in Ba’ram, in particular, is looked after by a lady who has done this job since she was 17. She looks like she’s in her mid 60s and drives around in a modded golf cart with a stuffed doggie splayed across the steering wheel.
9. Pancake Wednesdays. Olives. Cottage cheese with olive oil on toast and tomatoes.
10. Things that happen in the bomb-shelter — poker nights, PlayStation wars, Hebrew classes, Karate classes and hormonal hook-ups.