Friday, December 29, 2006

Finishing and Leaving...eventually

In many ways I am a more than typical Jew, for instance I love cream cheese and smoke salmon bagels, will always make a point of noting famous jewish people, and am absolutely hopeless at manual labour. However, one Jewish trait I absolutely can not stand is the Jewish goocbye. For all those that have no idea what this is, although its fairly self explainatory, it is an incredibly long goodbye that can take over a couple of hours. For me however the best goodbye is a quick handshake or kiss and a swift exit. My loathing for the Jewish goodbye probably come as a reaction to my father who is a master of it.

So why you ask do I bring up this topic, the reason is simple, the end of Machon. Coming back from our Southern Tiyul we were scheduled for a two day sikkum which I think means review or analysis and it was essentially a two-day long good-bye, I was as you can imagine dreading it. My fears only got worse when I realised that there was something like a five hour wait between the closing ceremony and the time when Machon finally finished.

It all started at nine on Tuesday morning at about nine with a project fair, in order to graduate machon you had to make a personal project this could be anything from an essay to a piece of artwork, mine was this blog a cunning plan not to do any extra work as I was doing this already. So a couple of pleasant hours were spent looking at all the work that had been put into the projects, which ranged from a pamphlet warning of the dangers of Iran to an Israeli cook book.

A couple of hours later we had our last ever chavra which was essentially two hours of us saying how wonderful we all were and giving feedback about how crap Machon was. The entire afternoon was given over to packing and clearing up, although there was still time for a football match between Noam and AJ6. I am sorry to report that we were soundly routed with yours truly being in goal, however I must say that some of my saves made up for some pretty poor errors.

After dinner we had a closing party, this party had a dress code you had to dress up as someone else, usually of the opposite sex. I had to dres up as Jessie which was actually very easy and comfortable as she frequently wears a very warm hoody, although I had to wear her uggs as well, some people however were truly hilarious, taking an opportunity caricature whothey were dressing up as. I have had a complete blank as to what the party consisted of, except for a video time capsule which had been made as a personal project, and also some paper covering a light caught fire which I had to quickly put out.

After this party we went as a group to Underground. Underground is a nightclub, and it has a reputation for being the sleaziest club in Jerusalem and we were warned against it at all costs, which is why I suppose it became the favourite haunt for some Machonikim both boys and girls. Due to constant and relatively heavy rainfall throughout the day the floor was covered in about half an inch of water,and apart from us the club was pretty well empty as all sensible Israelis were avoiding the rain at any cost. I returned relatively early for my final nights sleep at Kiriyat Moriah.

Prophetic fallacy is a common dramatic device where the weather is used to show the mood and emotions of the characters and plot and as I awoke on Wednesday morning I could swear it was in use, as the first thing I heard upon awakening was the sound of thunder and heavy rain. This I felt reflected the despondency and depression of the Machonikim because of our departure. Despite the weather I arose in good spirits and with my three roomates (Danny, Joel and Richard) we finished packing and clearing our rooms with endless singing, causing many in the corridor to wander in and check if we were OK.

Having cleared our room we killed a couple of hours in the computer room before the closing ceremony. The closing ceremony and graduation consisted of a series of speeches, a bit of singing and a final graduation and certificate presentation. The ceremony was rather nice and actually not as cheesy as one would have expected. After the ceremony hanging around time began, my fear of the Jewish goodbye meant I had to get out of the Kiriyat, and so I decided to brave the rain and took a brisk walk down to a bagel place about ten minutes away.

The reason why the time between the ceremony and leaving was so long was because the powers that be at the Machon had to work out how much of our deposit we got back. As it turned out we all got all of our deposits back, which means the people checking our rooms were either really lenient or we were all goody goodies and did not fulfil our duties as Machoniks and trash the place. Owing to the place that working out deposits was meant to take five but only took five minutes, once the rooms were reviewed, we had absolutely nothing to do. So once I was back from the bagel place and collected my deposit I had nothing to do. I spent the next hour watching Friends which made life slightly more bareable. You might be asking yourself why I did not leave straight away, the reason was because I was one of hordes going down to the Southern Resort of Eilat, and the Machon arranged a bus for that which was coming at five.

Others who were not going to Eilat drifted out so at around at four we had said goodbye to everyone who was not going to Eilat, which meant there were about 30 of us bumming around waiting for the bus. At three it started to snow. This scared us as Israel is like England, ie it shuts down the moment the snow starts to settle, so you can imagine how anxious we were getting. Five comes, and the snow starts to settle, however there is no sign of the bus. We spent the next hour pacing around nervously and watching the weather praying for the bus and the end of the snow. Finally at six the bus arrived, one hour late but at least it was here, we ran to get all our stuff on to the coach, and of course we had so much stuff it did not fit. Finally with frozen hands we boarded the coach and drove for about five minutes, no dont worry the bus didnt break down or get snowed up, instead we went to a storage facillity to dump half our stuff. Finally we were off, well I say off, it took us an hour to crawl out of Jerusalem. Finally once we were out it was much easier and aside for a quick stop to get dinner it was a pretty uneventful ride. Then finally at 12:30 am I arrived in Eilat.


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