Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Typical Kibbutz Day

Since life around here has gotten fairly routine I thought I'd share exactly how I fill the hours of the day I'm awake with you...

Every morning I awaken to the same familiar sound I have been waking up to for the last 4 years: " It's been one week since you looked at me
Cocked your head to the side and said 'I'm angry'
Five days since you laughed at me saying
"Get that together come back and see me"
Three days since the living room
I realized it's all my fault, but couldn't tell you
Yesterday you'd forgiven me
but it'll still be two days till I say I'm sorry"
Its a song by the Barenaked Ladies and if you've never heard it before I suggest trying to find a copy. It starts out loud and stays that way which is why it has been my alarm clock song for so long. Anyway I digress...

I wake up every morning at 6:15 AM. From there I generally do my morning routine. I get dressed in true work clothing provided by the kibbutz. Since its blue collar work we do they issue blue t-shirts and blue work pants. Work boots are also provided, but they're not blue.

By the time I'm ready for work I grab my ipod and walk the 15 or so minutes it takes to get to the factory. There I really wake up as I get my first cup of coffee. We stand around for awhile waiting for the foreman to come in and tell us what to do. Then its time work. We work from around 7:00 AM until 8:30ish when we stop for a break.

Between 8:30 and 9:15 we eat breakfast in the factory's own cafeteria. I usually eat hardboiled eggs, cheese, toast, yogurt (different fruit flavor everyday), and some more coffee. They serve all kinds of what Israelis call breakfast salads, but seriously when was the last time you saw me eat a salad?

After breakfast we head back to work, but its not long before its 11:15 and we take a break for about 10 minutes. I'm not entirely sure why we take this break, but then again I've spent the last 3 and a half years working in Minnesota where the protestant work ethic is king.

Anyway the break is quickly followed by the lunch break at 12:30. We get a whole hour break, but we have to eat in the main dining hall on the other side of the Kibbutz. Lunch is different everyday. Today I had schnitzel, with rice, chickpeas, jello, and water. Who knows what they'll have tomorrow. The food's not been terrible, but it is strange to see a completely non-kosher dining hall in Israel. They even serve pork here...seems weird to me, but secular kibbutznikim don't seem to care.

After lunch its back to the grind. Speaking of which its time to tell you exactly what I do at this crazy screw factory. I essentially box screws for shipping. We use some pretty sophisticated scales to measure out numbers of screws. Every box is packed and then labeled with all of the important information. Every time I refill the hopper on my machine it offers a new challenge. Will these be the screws that well...screw me? Anyway today the hopper actually was filled with nuts, which was a nice change of pace. (Commence with the jokes here.)

From the end of lunch to the end of the work day we have one more break coming usually around 2:45. Once again it seems like a strange time for me to break because we close up shop at 4:00 PM.

After work I generally shower an hangout with my friends. I usually help them study their ulpan materials, which in turn helps me study a bit too. Sometimes we smoke hookah, sometimes we play futbol. (No one calls it soccer.)

Dinner is at 6:45 but it is by far the worst meal of the day at the dining hall. It is the leftovers from lunch and the previous day's lunch. Its usually way over cooked from sitting in under the heat lamps. I usually opt for a sandwich and some yogurt. Many people in the kibbutz take extra from lunch home to eat for dinner.

After dinner is when the day varies. Being a socialist institution, the kibbutz dictates what goes on and when to everyone. For the Volunteers and Ulpanists, the schedule is especially strict.

Monday Night: 8-9PM Gym time. Its only one hour and no chance of getting more time.

Tuesday Night: 9:30PM-? Pub is open to all Kibbutz residents, volunteers, and Ulpanists. Its a halfway decent bar, but strange hours.

Wednesday Night: has nothing special during it. This is because the volunteer trips happen on Wednesdays. They're not every week, but this week we do have one. We're going into Tel-Aviv and for what I'm not entirely sure yet.

Thursday Night: 8-9PM Gym time. Its only one hour and no chance of getting more time. That's right only two nights a week are gym nights...good luck staying in shape or lifting weights if you are a volunteer or ulpan member.

Friday Night: 9:30PM Movie is played in the cinema. Just one showing and just one choice for movies. The pub is also open on Friday nights, same story, but a few more people come on Fridays.

Saturday Night: With the end of Shabbat, the factories start up again and work resumes. Strange, but the weekend here is only one day. This means that the factories are closed from around 1pm on Friday until about 6-7pm on Saturday. The same movie from Friday is also shown on Saturday, but at 8:30 not 9:30.

Sunday is the first day of the week and back to work. Not much happens Sunday night...its sorta like Monday night in the states...everyone's tired from work and the previous weekend.

So that's my day and week in a nutshell. Hope to have pictures soon for you all...the camera is not cooperating with me right now.


Lizzo said...

So many things to say about the screw factory though I know your family reads this...

Glad to hear you're getting settled in over there....

Miss you around here!

I've said it once and I'll say it again -- have a blast, be safe, and keep writin'!!

Love you!!

Phyllis Sommer said...

mm...nuts too. wow this just gets better and better, little bro!!!

seriously, it sounds so interesting to live on a kibbutz where you have gym time only twice a week and all the other structure...i never had this experience, i think that it's so cool that you're doing this!!!!

eat a breakfast salad for me...ha ha just kidding!

John Sklar said...

Thanks for giving me this look!
I spend a lot of my day wondering exactly what you are doing. Sounds like summer camp on steroids?

I assume you are meeting some interesting people and learning a little more hebrew.

Note: I did not say anything about the nuts... I wanted to but it seems... screwy to keep commenting on metal fasteners.

Love ya.

Dan said...

Three cheers for socialism, eh? See if you can find a copy of the Kibbutz's profit and loss statements. Market viable screws?

Jessica said...

I have never seen you eat salad and not so sure you are an active fan of going to the gym either. Good luck with that