Sunday, July 19, 2009

First Few Days

Sorry, I know it’s been a while. I’m writing this from my room at the Merkaz Klita Calanit in Ashquelon . I lucked out and got my own room because the place is closing in August so they aren’t accepting any more people. My first few days in my new home have been relatively uneventful. I can’t get anything useful done because I don’t receive my ID card until Monday. And I don’t think I could accomplish anything anyways because I haven’t been able to stay awake for more than 4 hours at a time until today. The trip here was pretty good; another stroke of luck gave me a particularly roomy exit row seat far away from screaming children. And I met about 5 or 6 people that I want to stay in contact with. Everybody here at the Absorption Center has been extraordinarily helpful and friendly, from my floormates to the girls that volunteer here.

In fact, I so far have only one serious criticism of the people here (I hope this reprehensible character flaw does not pervade the whole country). They seem to have no regard for their environment. And I’m not just talking about the ecology; they don’t exhibit even the slightest compulsion to preserve the aesthetics of their surroundings. I live about a 15 minute walk from a national park and the beach beyond, and I have never seen a place so trashed. Cigarette buds litter every inch of ground, every inch of ground that is not adorned with broken glass, beer cans, and soda bottles. And don’t even get me started on the state of their public bathrooms, suffice it to say they are worse than any I’ve been to in China. It pains me to see the beauty of our homeland vandalized in such vulgar fashion; I thought we were better than that.