Well the results are in. Apparently the students at the Borg school in Mazkeret Batya were ready for some change because they elected one Nehemiah Merdinger from Kansas who does not yet speak Hebrew, to the student council. Yes, we were shocked too--though as I've mentioned before he can be rather persuasive. I had nothing to do with his campaign speech (as even he didn't know he was running until the day of) and doubt that he will be able to follow through on most of his promises but as Saba (Grandpa) Paul pointed out---Israel is a country that was built by people with big dreams and the history of Israel shows that dreams actually can be realized. So we shall see.
Besides the new playground and expanding the school property, also promised to rid the school of bullies. There actually is a bit of a problem with bullies at the school as we are learning. If anyone has suggestions for programs that we could try implementing, please leave a comment or contact me off-line.
Meanwhile I have some answer as to why little Miss A is a non-stop chatterbox when she gets home. We had "parent teacher conferences" (is it just me or do they seem young for this---in US these start at age 3!) and the teacher said that Ariella speaks with the children but is completely silent otherwise. She doesn't say one word to the teachers. She actually showed some of the same behaviors last year at her JCC preschool. The teachers asked us for the first 6 months if she could speak at all. By the end of the year they were more concerned that she couldn't identify an octagon. Fortunately she is our third child so we sort of took it all in stride. The teacher here has suggested speech therapy. Interestingly, one of my friends from KS who is a speech therapist gave me a chapter to read from one of her textbooks before we moved. It was about children becoming bilingual and all of the different behaviors that can be manifested--linguistically. Apparently not speaking at school is standard enough to be in the textbook and speech therapy isn't the answer--basically it's just time. However, the speech therapy would be free so we might as well check it out.
And today L starts a new after school program. We had her in a regular aftercare that focused on dance and she liked the dance part but I think the all day Hebrew was too much. I spoke with the principal of the school and she recommended putting her in an English setting. Our little town actually has an English club aftercare. An olah (immigrant to Israel) from England who has been here a very long time runs an aftercare that focuses on English. People who speak English at home or want their kids to get a head start on English send their kids there. It's arts and crafts/homework etc. but with the staff speaking English and several English speaking kids it hopefully will be the type of place where L doesn't have to be so exhausted with the effort of concentrating on a foreign language. Plus they get tea and biscuits! I don't get home from ulpan until at least an hour after school is out and now that Michael is working she can't really go home. Yes--did I mention Michael found a job? Wonderful development! Working for an outfit out of France so except for the occasional conference he might have to attend, there is no commuting which is also a plus.
And I just got back from the office of the Interior where I went to get my pre-passport. Can't travel on the US passport when I return from US but can't get an Israeli passport until we've been here a year. I took a day off from ulpan to do it so naturally the office was closed. Well why shouldn't they be? Wednesday is as good a day as any to close the office. I did also stop in the office of immigration to turn in my reimbursement slips for travel to ulpan. Because I don't have a local ulpan the state of Israel pays for my travel. When I got there the man at the front desk asked if I had an appointment. Nope. OK then he said just go into that room. I walked in and was immediately helped. I noticed a bunch of people sitting in the waiting area. Were these the people with appointments? I have no idea. I do not even try to understand how these things work but apparently making an appointment might mean that you have to actually wait. Or I just got lucky. I will probably never know. Anyway, the woman behind the desk filled out a series of forms and then pulled out what looked like a day planner and took out a small legal yellow paper and wrote my information on there. Didn't inspire a lot of confidence that I would be getting my $200 anytime soon but I will watch my bank account. I am not sure why the country that is second only to California with it's silicon valley (aptly named "Silicon Wadi) doesn't have this whole thing computerized. But again these are questions which I will not even begin to ask because I do value my sanity.