Happy Holidays Readers!
Usually during the Holidays you get time off, hangout with friends and family, eat great food and get presents. This year I just got to hang with a few friends and got two presents. Thanks Grandma Mil and Aunt Nip! This is mostly because I got called to do my first reserve duty (Miluim מילואים) in the IDF. They are supposed to give you a very advanced notice if it is for routine/training purposes, but I only got a week notice. No clue why, but I had a few days off from school because of Chanukah and Christmas. Therefore I didn’t try to get out of it and plus I have been waiting to go play soldier for awhile. One of the reasons I came back to Israel. I was very excited to go back to my old base for a few days and help out. Best part would be that I could see old friends and catch up with them…. Turns out though that I’m old and there wasn’t a big call up of my friends for this week.
The weekend before I went to Tzfat for a Chanukah Retreat at my favorite place in Israel, Ascent. I have recently become one of their ambassadors for Haifa. Its a kabbalistic hostel on the edge of the old city of Tzfat, with the most beautiful view. *This is where I spent very Yom Kippur in Israel* The weekend was full of social events, praying, food, and spiritual classes. I highly recommend anyone to spend some time there when in Israel. I always leave spiritually and physically refreshed. Part of that could be the very cold dips in the 800 year old Ari Mikvah. We even got to go to a kosher winery and goat cheese farm, Adir.
Back to the Army… Getting to my base from Haifa isn’t the easiest thing and takes almost three hours on public transportation. Three buses and the train. I don’t have a car so this was what I had to do early Sunday morning…oh and I forgot that Sunday morning is the worst time to take the train…. sardines. Due to this trip being so long and exhausting I decided to stay on base for the five days. This isn’t something that most miluimnikim (reservists) do. They can go home if they are not doing an operation. When I arrived to base I find out that I’m only one of ten miluimnikim that have been called up for this week. Our mission: Restore order to emergency vehicles, storage (ימ״ח), and hangers. Dang, I didn’t get the position I wanted in the reserves, driver. Though this is a very important duty and someone needs to do it. I rolled up my sleeves and got to work, while plotting my change in assignment. I slept two nights on base, but I was so bored and felt awkward in other’s rooms. I decided to call up bestie Camille and Ellinor in Tel Aviv and hangout with them for the next few nights. Best idea I had all week. The work wasn’t so bad and we got a lot of breaks. We had a 20 year old soldier telling us what to do and she wasn’t always paying attention to us. She was very respectful to us, but I kinda wanted to do more. In my free time I did get a chance to seek out old friends that still were in the unit. Kaslasi, Gadi, Or, Neta, and Vaisvol were all around, but very busy. Vaisvol, my old commander was very helpful finding me a bed and getting my reserve position changed. There were a few others still on the base, but they were very “young (tzyiar)” when I left, so we weren’t so close. I ended up only knowing two other miluimnikim from the repair squad. The whole week went few quickly and it was in no time I was back in civilian clothes paying for transportation. Now I just got to take my completion papers to bituach lumni to get paid!
Chanukah used to be my favorite time in the army and I have many great memories celebrating with my friends in the field. Have you ever made Latkes in a dark forest? Well, these last days of chanukah in the army were very dull, at least I got to Tel Aviv on the last night to have a nice Sufganiot.
Check out some pics. Sorry, not a lot from reserves…you all know why.