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!
My favorite part about Caltech is the Houses! The easiest way to describe them is as Hogwarts houses: each has their own personality and group of people and the first thing you do at Caltech is go through a “sorting” process. The people are what makes the Houses at Caltech so great. As a frosh, it’s amazing to be able to come in and immediately have a group of 100+ people to support you. Because the Houses have students from every grade, you make friends with upperclassmen and can ask for help on tons of things like:
It’s crazy to think that it has been four years now since I was applying to college. I remember it vividly. This week we’re spending some time reflecting on our personal admissions processes, and how we ended up at Caltech. There’s one question though that I wanted to spin out into a separate post: “what advice would you give to the admitted class of 2025?” And I think the best way to do this is to tell a more detailed story than I did in my other post.
These past six months have been a whirlwind- from having to move out of Caltech housing in March within a week’s notice due to COVID-19, to starting the first term of my junior year, I’ve definitely experienced a lot of change. When I went home in March, it was to a completely new state-my family moved from Chino, CA to New Jersey in January (great timing, huh?). While I missed seeing my friends from home, it was fun to have the chance to explore a completely new place. The pandemic obviously limited what I could see and do, but I got to experience walks through nature and along rivers normally foreign to a SoCal native and had some time to focus on bioinformatics research for the lab I work with on campus.