Sunday, January 31, 2010

עשיתי שופינג...

Transliteration: "ahseetee shopping"
Translation: "I did shopping"

There is an actual word for shopping- k'niyot. But why not just say shopping? Sure!

I did shopping. It was an adventure. Micha and I went shopping-- actually Kaufy took us to Mega and helped us do our shopping. We ended up with a bill of about 500 shekels-- but that was for 2 of us.
Anyway, it's weird shopping where you don't know the layout of the supermarket or what's a good price or what's normal. And things are in Hebrew and kilos and grams and milliliters and liters...but I did it!

And next time I'll have a better idea of what I need, etc.

I'm sorry for the lack of postings lately. I've been busy settling in and then I was sick last week (more on that next time) and tomorrow and Tuesday are also crazy...tomorrow I have to go to the bank and pay for Ulpan and deal with health insurance issues and go shopping. And Tuesday I have meetings and probably more health insurance issues or going up to Chashmonaim or something...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Next iGoogledIsrael post!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

אההההה....איך אומרים...

Ulpan began last week. I'm in kitah daled (ulpan goes in alphabetical levels alef-vav, vav being the highest level) in my ulpan. I'm in Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem. What's unique about this ulpan is that there is the option to be an internal student (live in the absorption center) or an external student (live outside the ulpan). I'm an internal student-- aside from it being MUCH less expensive, it's nice because I get to get the full experience and not have to worry about when the last bus is to get back to my apt.
I'm still waiting for one roommate to arrive, but Eden and I have set up a LOT of stuff already, which will be good when Miriam (our third roommate) arrives.
Back to classes-- more about the accommodations later. I'm in kitah daled-- the ulpan only goes up to daled. They were trying to have a higher class, but in the end I don't know if they didn't have enough people or if they didn't have a teacher, but daled is as high up as it goes (but the level that's being taught is actually higher than daled). We are doing grammar and "reality"-- reading articles, listening to the news headlines, etc. It's a work in progress. There are about 15 people in my class, give or take, but the classroom is small so it's kind of tight space-wise. There are levels/classes alef 1-4, bet 1-3, gimel, and daled. Gimel is really big-- something like 30 people, I think. Most of the classes have 2 teachers; my class has 2- Mira on Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday; Esther on Tuesday and Thursday (like many other places in Israel, Ulpan Etzion is on a Sunday-Thursday schedule). I already have a test on Wednesday-- grammar (masculine/feminine plural nouns and adjectives). I actually remember this from about 6th grade- maybe 7th or 8th, but definitely Mrs. Eshed's class. I had a green/blue 5-subject notebook and I remember the list of words that look like they are masculine but are really feminine (it's a difference in conjugation). Brings back memories... One of the things the teachers are really concentrating on is higher-level vocabulary and proper, higher-level grammar and language use, beyond what's spoken on the street. I will update you as classes go on. But so far I like my classmates and my teachers.

Ulpan Etzion is housed in Beit Canada, which is a merkaz klita, or absorption center, in Jerusalem. There are other programs housed here as well, but I don't really know much about them. Beit Canada is pretty much the edge of Jerusalem, but there are 2 bus lines (one that goes downtown) that come every 20-ish minutes.

Although the previous location of Ulpan Etzion was sooooooo much better and central to, well, everything, one advantage of Beit Canada over the old location is that the rooms are real apartments with proper kitchens-ish. The kitchens come with a fridge and 2 gas burners, and of course a sink. Eden and I bought a kumkum (electric tea kettle like thing), a toaster, an iron, and Rita and Dov lent us their old toaster oven, which is really quite large. It's really a mini oven-- and it works nicely; I already baked cookies in it :) The way the apartment itself is set up is: you walk in and immediately to your right are 2 closets and to your left is a table; in front of you there is a bathroom and the kitchen (yeah, they're right next to each other...I know...). If you make a left and walk just past the table you walk into a small bedroom which is Eden's. If you walk just past the table and make a right you walk into a large room (separated from the eating area by a doorway-- I need to get a curtain for it) with 2 beds, 2 desks, and 2 shelves (1 double, 1 single) which is my and Miriam's room. The bathroom is pretty standard-- toilet, sink with a mirror above it, shower (not a shoilet) with a folding rack that we haven't figured how to fold back up so it just stays down... The kitchen is really small; it has a fridge, small counter with 2 drawers (dairy silverware drawer, pareve silverware drawer) and 1 cabinet (medium, no shelves, dairy dishes) beneath it (we usually put the dishes to dry on this counter), a sink with cabinets above (1 small, 1 large, 2 shelves each, that we use for food) and beneath it (1 very large but no shelves-- just an open area; we put cleaning supplies and bags under here), and then another counter that we put the oven on and the burners are on with a large cabinet with 2 shelves under (meat silverware/dishes, and pareve dishes). We put the kumkum on this counter too. The toaster, which we haven't used yet, sits on top of the fridge with the aluminum foil, saran/cling/plastic wrap, cereals, paper towel roll, and containers (we got a set of containers in 3 sizes for storage). Not that we really need to cook because we get lunch and dinner every day; we are responsible for breakfast, but that's not too intense. I did make myself a grilled cheese sandwich in the oven yesterday, though.

What else? Well, the heating doesn't really work...we have 1 small radiator in the eating area that works but the big heater in the big room doesn't work and it's a bit chilly.

I think that's about it. So far so good.

More about shopping adventures next time!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Scott (Gfish) has been posting at iGoogledIsrael, and I've taken over the column (next-- the world!) Check it out here

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Flight, The Welcome, and The Wedding

The Flight:
There were 81 singles on the flight (I didn't count, they kept repeating it) and they put us all together. I was actually sitting near Avital (someone I know from high school) and a couple of other people I met while waiting. It was a good group of people in my section. Couples and families were at the back; the back of the plane actually looked like a playgroup-- kids playing in the seats and aisles, snack wrappers, crayons, toys...
During the flight, people from Misrad Hapnim came around to people who had not done the paperwork earlier and did the paperwork then-- checking your name, that all your info is correct. I tried to sleep but was not too successful.
And then we got to the landing.

They started playing "V'shavu Banim" and "Come Back" and it was just...I think I was trying to figure out if I was officially Israeli from the time I landed or if I was Israeli from the time I got on the plane. It was...everyone clapped and people were videoing...and it was just...overwhelming and amazing and intense and happy and sad and pretty much on par with every other emotional moment involving my aliyah-- very, very bittersweet.

The Welcome
We got off the plane-- there were steps for us to go down. You know like the president comes off the plane on steps that pull up to the plane and he comes down and waves and all that? Yeah, that's kind of what it was like. There were stairs for us to come down and I walked out the door, onto the little platform before the stairs, took a couple steps down and just stopped. I wanted to remember that moment forever. I didn't take a picture, but it's in my mind. Looking down, some people had already gotten out and were down the stairs, there were people on the stairs. I kind of felt like I was in a slow-motion or surreal sort of time warp. I got out of it, walked down the stairs, and then it hit me-- "Wait, I've just made aliyah. I think this qualifies as a "shehecheyanu moment." ["shehechayanu" is a blessing that is made on special occasions, such as holidays, new fruits, new clothing, etc.] Rabbi Fass (one of the founders and the head of Nefes B'Nefesh) was at the bottom of the stairs. I turned to him and said, "Rabbi Fass? Do I make a shehechyanu?" He said, "You can." On the video you can see me saying the bracha [blessing]. I was so excited. I was making my first bracha in Israel as an Israeli, and it was shehechyanu. How appropriate for such an occasion.
We took pictures in front of the plane and in groups, and then they bussed us over to the old terminal (Terminal 1) for the Welcome Ceremony. I had my own welcoming committee-- Avigayil, Basi, Yosef, Kaufy, and Scott (of Gfish fame), as well as seeing other people who came for other olim and to welcome the olim in general. When we got to the crowd there was someone with a big shofar and, of course, more music was playing.
I got inside and was whelmed. Very whelmed. Exhausted and exhilarated too. I think I was in a daze/half asleep for most of the ceremony. Yosef brought me an ice coffee which was really what I needed-- something sweet and cold to wake me up. About five sips in it got to be too sweet and I drank the rest of it slowly throughout the ceremony. Unfortunately Basi had an early class and Avigayil had to drive her so they couldn't stay. But Kaufy, Yosef, and Scott were around-- Scott said hi and then I have no clue where he went (hey, Scott? Where did you disappear to?). The ceremony was long, a lot of people spoke, two people got their teudot oleh on stage, and then the ceremony was over and the people who came on the NBN bus went back to Jerusalem and all the olim went to get our teudot oleh (well, one person from each family)-- we went up some stairs, into a room, and then they called our names. We got our teudot, taxi vouchers, and first sal klita payments. Then we went to get our luggage (eventually it all came through. There was a LOT of stuff), and to the taxis.
I had a taxi to myself which was nice. I did not want to have the "smush five people and all their stuff into one taxi" situation-- thank goodness that didn't happen. Got home (Chashmonaim) and got all my stuff inside.

The Wedding
Went earlier to Jerusalem than I had planned because Andrea needed my help with Squishy, and then EliAvi/AviEli (depending on who Squishy is talking to) got married and then I went back to Chashmonaim. Exhausted. I think I was sort of only half-conscious during the wedding. But what I remember of it was beautiful. The chuppah I totally remember, and that was Beautiful. Avi was an amazing kallah.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

and moving forward

I'm in Ulpan Etzion now. I took the Hebrew exam and got my key, but I'm waiting to do all the rest of the paperwork. Things are moving s-l-o-w-l-y.
I'm going to be in the highest class they have, but they're not sure which level is going to be the highest. I'm not exactly sure.
I've moved my stuff in-- I'm with Eden, which is good. And Miriam is supposed to come on the 26. Gives me time to organize my stuff. I have a lot of it.

That being said, I'll update you when I know more.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Backing up

Starting with JFK. We (the olim) got an email from NBN with all our flight info-- what time to be at the airport, baggage limits, pet info, what to bring...all of that. So I packed according to what they said, or as best as I could (translation: my luggage was overweight and I was praying they would ignore it.
Mom, Dad, Lis, and I packed up the car and went off to JFK. We got to the airport and there was a sign for NBN olim and a section set up for us:
There was so much luggage for the amount of people that there were. I have to get the pictures from my mom's camera, There were dogs (a lot of them) and carts and...lots of luggage.
So we get there and we're putting my luggage in one area, and this girl comes up to me-- my roommate from Ulpan Etzion (who I haven't met until this point). She flew in that morning from Toronto...and her luggage did not arrive. And because of Canadian regulations, she had one bag with her, and all her documents were in her other bags, aka- not with her. She had to go sort out that mess. Thank goodness for cell phones-- she took mine, I had Mom's and Elissa's and Dad's. Then they called us to get our tickets and start checking in our luggage. On line, I met a bunch of people who were going to Ulpan Etzion AND in my section of the plane. Sweet! And Chari and Marcus came to see me off also! They came when I was on the line and brought me plane letters!

I got my luggage checked in (they didn't even LOOK at the scale) and went to wait for Eden. She eventually came back, checked her bag, and then we all went to the farewell ceremony (sounds so much better than, "goodbye ceremony." Dudy Stark spoke, Rabbi Fass spoke, some other people... (don't remember-- there was no mic and it was hard to hear) , and then they had cake and drinks and then we went to check in.Marcus had to go after this, but Mom, Dad, Lissa, and Chari came with me to the TSA security, as far as they could. It was definitely sad and happy.

More on the flight and the welcome to come...
At one point

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Not so much of a proper update but something

So, in the past week I've done:
Opened a bank account
Gotten a cell phone
Signed up for kupat cholim

Let's see...I don't know what else...there's so much more...I have so much to journal about first.