Hello from the desert! We’ll be spending the next two days in the south of Israel, called the Negev, and we’ll be learning the history and culture of the region as well as getting to see some of the innovation that’s making the Negev a place with thriving communities.
We started our day at Shvil Hasalat, and organic fruit and vegetable farm. We got a tour of the farm, and anything we could eat was up for grabs. We tried everything–oranges (still delicious even in the middle of December), strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots. Everything was straight off the vine (or tree or plant or whatever), and was absolutely delicious. One of the most interesting foods was the carrots–they came in just about every color of the rainbow! Personally, we were fans of the purple carrots…
Eric and Catherine enjoying some fresh, purple carrots
Liana squeezes her own orange juice!
After the farm, we headed to the desert canyon Ein Odovat, where we took a short hike. The canyon is basically a crater, so we were surrounded by rock the entire time. At the end of the hike, we found ourselves at a waterfall, so of course we got some group pictures.
Finally, we made our way to the Bedouin tents! The Bedouins are a nomadic Arab culture, many of whom live in the south of Israel. They traditionally live in large tents and are very welcoming of guests. We stayed in Kfar Hanokdim, which provides Bedouin style accomodations for students, including a traditional tea and coffee ceremony, a Bedouin style dinner, and a tent for sleeping. The first thing I learned was at sundown: it gets cold in the desert at night! After donning some warmer clothing, however, it wasn’t too bad. We later went on a night hike, and then tried to make a bonfire (which failed pretty badly, but we tried).
Bedouin tea ceremony
That’s it for today! Next up: Masada, Ein Geidi, and Jerusalem!
When packing for college, the first thing on your mind is likely not about celebrating your birthday. However, months later, as the inevitable birthday approaches, you may actually start to wonder what a birthday looks like without the friends and family you’ve likely spent every year with. Thankfully, at Caltech, there are many opportunities to make sure that a birthday away is just as good, if not better, than the one at home. One example is the Venerable house birthday tradition.
Studying at Caltech is a lot like crewing a spaceship. You get to work alongside some of the most talented people on Earth, you’re constantly doing science in order to survive, and the environment tends to keep you under a lot of pressure. It’s an incredible experience, and also a very challenging one, to be sure. Sometimes you’re left feeling like an impostor among your crewmates, having failed to complete every task you think is expected of you. But fear not! These feelings are not based in reality; they are merely symptoms of a benign condition known as impostor syndrome. Think you might be affected? This post is for you.
Always not quite organized, my desk is a constant, yet subtle reminder of why I ultimately chose Caltech: the people. (sigh… I bet you haven’t heard that one before!). It’s no secret that Caltech has a small undergraduate population but, in my experience, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find your people, it means you’ll be able to find them faster!
With the third term fast approaching and the status of COVID on campus pushing all major events to the spring quarter, students of the houses of Caltech were excited. The reason? Interhouse season had arrived. Interhouses, a longstanding tradition of the California Institute of Technology, are summarized as parties hosted by each respective house, usually with a theme, in which the entire undergraduate population is invited to attend. As every undergraduate house of Caltech has its own personality and characteristics, these interhouses too have their own flair depending on the house who hosts them.