Friday, September 25, 2009

Swirling Thoughts #44 – lizards, jets (the other kind), savlanut revisited, special people and a special pass.

Nighttime sights and sounds
A tiny lizard just ran across my stone floor. He’s the color of the floor – peachy white. Fast and quiet.
There are F-16’s over my head tonight. I mean really loud fighter jets swooping really low. Fast and not so quiet.

A 311 hotline for Kever Rachel?
Our painter is supposed to make his daughter’s bat mitzvah at Kever Rachel Tuesday. As of yesterday he heard Kever Rachel had been closed. My friend Michal is on her way to Kever Rachel right now. I guess she’ll find out if it’s still closed. We’ll go together Sunday before Yom Kippur. Assuming it’s been opened and stays that way.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step” ...
One of Bob’s Israeli cousins called last night to check on us. We spoke for a while – I told him about the car, the kids’ school, the house, Bob’s work, my big belly, just about everything that’s been going on. Then I told him how I feel like an ignoramus trying to decode the mail and the kids’ flyers from school. In broken English he offered up an ancient Chinese proverb. “If to go a thousand steps, you must to start with one step.”

Patience 101
Nothing in Israel goes as quickly as you might think it should. One month after our initial missed meeting I finally met Eddy my driver’s ed instructor at Misrad Harishoui to give him my driving papers. My driving test should happen sometime acharay haHagim. Flash back to Bob’s email and all the jobs I was to do in his absence. The rental car was picked up yesterday. The post office papers for the car have still not been obtained. Did I mention the side view mirror is being held on by crazy glue while the car broker searches for some kind of special car glue? That seems to be a time consuming search. I sent Bob out to pick up a sefer (book) we ordered for Asher – I got a call that it had arrived at the bookstore. I know from my own experience there is no such thing as a quick in and out at the bookstore – even if they are holding a book for you. I forgot to mention it to Bob. It took 40 minutes. Exhausted, he took my relatively small shopping list to the other (bigger) makolet – remember the one with the delivery boy who screamed at me? Three hours later he returned, defeated.

I listened to Bob speaking to his father this morning on the phone. A lot of what he was saying was about how things go slowly here. You go to the bank and they ask about your whole mishpacha (family) before they begin your transaction. It’s nice. But it slows you down. You go to the hardware store and if five people are in the store, they try to help all five at once. It’s nice but it insures nobody will walk out in five minutes – in fact it’s lucky if all five come out a half hour later. But after every example he told his father, “It’s okay. You get used to it.” It’s funny. He’s a New Yorker through and through. I lived there long enough to recognize what offends a New Yorker. It’s slowness. Easy-easy-ness. And that’s just what defines Israel. It’s slow and easy. Liat liat. (Easy, easy). A New Yorker works harder to achieve the savlanut needed for survival here.

People impact your quality of life here – not just friends and neighbors.
It's almost everyone you interact with. On the second week of school when the fourth grade finished later than the first grade by an hour (and I had no idea) I got nervous when Becky and Barbara didn’t return home. I called the principal and asked him if he could help me find them. I had visions of each one wandering Efrat all alone. Gd bless Rav Yehuda – when neither girl responded to an announcement over the loudspeaker and he couldn’t find them on the school grounds, he got into his car and went looking for them. They were, of course, happily walking home, oblivious to the whole situation.

The gardener, the painter, the carpenter who built our pergola, the fridge guy, the other painter, and even the cleaning help – each one has a unique story, something to offer. Nobody just comes, does a job, gets paid and leaves. There is common ground to find. Connections to be made. Information to share. Each one feels like part of some extended mishpachah. It’s an unexpected addition to our quality of life here.

Do as I say not as I do (read: don’t jump in front of buses and NO hitchhiking!)
Asher is taking the bus to ulpan now. I took his school picture from last year to city hall, had a laminated bus pass made and so far each morning Bob has walked him up the steps to the main road where they are trying to figure out the best stop in which to wait for the bus. The first day Bob threw himself in front of the bus to make it stop. The second day they walked down a big hill to a designated stop. Tuesday they will try walking up the hill to the other designated stop. He has a friend around the corner who takes the bus but when I asked the friend what time he gets on the bus at his stop, he mentioned that he often misses the bus and “hitches in a tremp”. And so a new rule was born – absolutely no tremping without mommy or Aba. Becky is so very jealous of Asher’s bus pass. Apparently the 10 minute downhill walk home from the girls’ school is more than she can bear, especially knowing there is a bus that takes her friends home to nearby streets. It’s not for lack of inquiry on my part that Becky and Barbara don’t take the bus – but it seems we live too close and don’t qualify. So I heard Becky whispering to Barbara the other day, “Let’s sneak on the bus and get off at Avigail’s house!” Rule number two – no sneaking on the bus.

1 comment:

  1. my darling , you have a novel in the making!! so enjoy , getting this everyday. Makes me feel closer, and really getting to know what your life is like. Keep on!!! love and hugs mom