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Thursday, November 29, 2012

In Another Land

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.  Good news.  I have now been here for 3 consecutive months and was able to submit my paperwork for the pre-passport.  The Ministry of the Interior really reminded me of any bureaucratic  government office except I think they were having fun that day because several of us seemed to have the same numbered ticket so that when number 209 popped up on the board you had to get there before the other  guy with the same ticket or beat the person who had 210 when their number popped up.  It was also good ulpan practice because the woman sitting next to me clearly did not appreciate my current Hebrew knowledge and kept engaging me in conversation regarding the difficulty she was having with her paperwork.  Anyway, I should be good to go in a few weeks.

Now that we have been here for a few months people love to ask us what we think of the schools.  Well my answer dear readers is:  I have no idea.  My kids don't speak Hebrew.  Seriously though they understand very little of what goes on during the day.  I have spoken to numerous educators about this and they all seem to say the same thing which essentially boils down to missing a year in your education is no big deal.  Just keep up with the math.  I found that kind of surprising but apparently a lot of what the kids spend their time learning is not that important to their long term educational plan.  The caveat being that when I started 8th grade in a new school system  I missed their year of geography but hadn't yet had one at my old school.  To this day I would be pretty hard pressed to find North Dakota on the map.  And by hard pressed I mean that I couldn't do it.  (Sorry to any readers from the North).  And there was the great Megerman Trivial pursuit championship of 1990 that my mom and I lost because we couldn't name the 5 oceans.  She was an immigrant and probably missed that year too!

We have started working with a really incredible tutor.  I haven't seen the kids so excited in a long time.    He's young, totally laid back, and a good religious role model.  Unfortunately, the school has yet to let us set up the tutoring hours during school so we are having to do it on the kids' free time.  He said he is going to speak to the principal "it doesn't make sense that they can meet every special need except for the needs of two children who moved here specifically to live in Israel."  Well you can see why I loved him right away.  Seriously though they are both getting super motivated and doing the assignments he gives and I am feeling hopeful about their learning something.

Lital and I were at a grand opening in Mazkeret this week.  We now have a fruit/vegetable shuk.  A shuk is traditionally an open air market where you can get inexpensive items from kiwi to a fly swatter to some unique cooking spice.  A true carnival for the senses in every way.  So being that Mazkeret is a bit gentrified this is more like a shuk that has been sanitized and bright lights added.  They had loads of candy they were passing out for the opening and L took some for herself and her siblings.  She is so sweet that way.  We were also there when they put the mezuzah (piece of parchment with Biblical verse) up on the doorframe.  "What fun," she commented "candy we can eat and getting to kiss a new mezuzah."

N has his first baseball game in a couple of weeks, on Hanukkah.  The Gezer "Bats" vs. the team from Hashmoniam.  Totally excited because the game is in Hashmonaim which is the Maccabees old stomping grounds.   This time, however, the Maccabees are going down!

Thanks for the suggestions on the chanukiyah. In the end I went with Carol K's idea for the clothespins glued together.  It's creative, different and well let's face it a pretty easy project.  I think Lital was pleased and she took it to school today.  Next week is my oral exam at ulpan---wish me luck and then we go on Hannukah break.  Hooray!  Looking forward to some downtime with the kids and traveling a bit around Israel.  We definitely will miss being near family. 

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