I first feel in love in my life when I was 15. I was spending the summer in Israel, in a kibbutz. Do you know what a kibbutz is? I didn’t, until I arrived there and experienced it all. So – to be very honest – I feel in love twice: with a brown-haired, wide-smile, hazel eyes Argentinian 16 years old boy. And with the farm and its lifestyle.
A kibbutz is a communal settlement, with sustainable farm and people who share tasks under a collective vision of joint dreams and values. The one I went to, Kibbutz Parod, had a population around 560 people and is located in the North of Israel.
The year was 1989, and my grandpa had offered me this trip with a combination of goals: to learn about Judaism (I am just half Jewish, which means I am not); to understand how a socialist system worked; to visit and get to know this very unique nation; and to become more independent. I was only 15 years old and I had no idea my life would change forever. I would completely connect to nature during my work shifts in a Middle East farm: collect oranges and avocado, pack apples, cook in pans so big I could hide inside of them. But, most of all, I would completely connect to my heart.
A Forbidden Night
Oscar* was shy and about to join the army. He lived with a roommate. In the kibbutz, when you become a teen, you move from your parent’s house to the dorms (heaven, right?). I met him at the New Year’s party that my group of Brazilian adolescent was throwing in a bomb-shelter for the Gregorian New Year’s Eve (well, if you don’ know, in Israel it is not on December 31st). It was a forbidden party, but we managed to quietly decorate with colorful balloons that fearsome place (where people hide during air alerts and bomb-dropping) to welcome 1990. Oscar was sitting there, across the long table with snacks and juices, under stroboscopic lights and Israeli pop music. I was on the other side of that same table, trying to remain still and not stare at him. Me, the one who loves to dance. Yes, he was painfully cute. He was gorgeous. What a smile! I tried to resist but at one point we locked eyes, and I fell in love. simple like that.
I am not sure if we lived a dreamily couple of months together because we were really into each other, or because this was our first love story. Think about it: a farm, a foreigner, orange trees, a full moon, two virgins. And a Kate Bush cassette playing Wuthering Heights. As a result, we lost ourselves into each other. Even though we did not speak the same language (we met halfway in Spanish).
We were madly in love, until so me bumps on the road made me crash a bit (yes, he had a childhood girlfriend who was studying abroad, which I only found out later). Soon enough, it was time for me to leave Israel and go back to Brazil. I got brokenhearted, and only my BFFs and ice-cream could save me from my total teenage destruction.
I never saw Oscar again. In the 90s, we wrote love letters, making plans of getting back together. In the 2000s, we exchanged emails to tell each other about the birth of our kids. In the 2010s, we connected on social media to say we would like to see one another again. I am hoping the 2020s will be the decade that we finally do it. I want to hold his hands, close my eyes and reconnect with the purest, primary feeling of loving and being loved for
the first time.
How was your first real love?
*names have been change to protect identity