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Thursday, June 27, 2013

View from the hills

I am back from a month in OPKS, and what a month it was.  It was really nice to spend time with my family and to see friends and co-workers.  Plus I'm a sucker for paved parking lots :)

It is so great to be back home again, except--- home is in a different city, Modi'in!  Yes, my gem of a husband not only flew solo with 3 kids for a month but moved to a new city.  I know.  I'm lucky.  I didn't have to be there for the move!  (Just kidding, Michael!)

I've already learned a few things since living in Modiin:

1.  There is indeed "Shredded Wheat" in Israel.  Hooray.  But at $8/box it's more of a luxury item than a wholesome breakfast cereal.   Make sure to savor every bite.

2.  We need gas masks.  No one mentioned it in the previous 11 months but during the move a friend mentioned it to Michael.  Now we have them but it is illegal to open them unless we are instructed to do so in a real emergency, so we need to watch the video in advance to make sure we know how to use them (which of course I hope we never do!)

3. Deer-shaped bush sculptures are really cool.

We are looking forward to settling in.  We've met loads of great people and tons and tons of olim (the reported number is that 50% of our neighborhood is Anglo).  We moved into a quad of apartments (think courtyards from Yale, Oxford, Harvard, etc., but without the distinctive architecture) which is dati (religiously observant) and almost exclusively Israeli.  We've been told it is called the "kibbutz" because neighbors are so friendly and take care of each other.  Since they all met Michael a few weeks before I arrived, I think they were relieved to see that I did actually exist.  I think they also assumed that my Hebrew was as good as his and I've held my own (though this morning I think I told a woman that the children's school had closed as opposed to saying that the kids were finishing the school year in our old town---but I'm sure she got the basic idea).

Meanwhile as our first year rapidly approaches the kids are changing by the day.  Ariella is a little chatterbox who is trying to teach me Israeli songs and cheers.  I start in the urgi-care next week and have contemplated taking her along as my translator but that likely wouldn't go over too well as she is easily distracted.

Lital has lost several teeth, grown several inches and though her spoken Hebrew is still growing daily her understanding of Hebrew is tremendous.  We were recently at an event and she told us what they had announced through the loudspeaker--even Michael couldn't make it out.

And N is happier than a pig in sh*t.  He has started using the word sh*t and when I asked him about it, he replied "I'm Israeli and sh*t here isn't a bad word--it's like 'darn' in America.  I don't think I could ever go back to America now or I'd have to stop using it."  So we can question and contemplate what makes a word bad in one place and not somewhere else but yes folks, it took a curse word to trump all the Johnson County luxuries that had previously been calling his name.

In other exciting news, N's baseball team won the junior league championship last week.  Driving to the game we passed through a town with bookshelves at the bus stop.  One of the kids remarked that "only in Israel would you find sefarim (scholarly religious books) at the bus stop." :)   Ironically, the team they played against was Modiin.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Made in China

I don't think 11 months is a long enough time to be away that you are considered a foreigner in your own country and yet there I stood on a Friday afternoon, like a stranger from far away.  Since I work every night except for Friday nights, I use Friday afternoon as my day to buy things that I want to bring back to Israel.  I was somewhat sleep deprived and left my sunglasses on when I went into Target.  My regular glasses were in the car and well, I wasn't going to go "all the way back" to the car to get them.  I saw a dress hanging on the clearance rack that was very cute but didn't have any particular clearance sticker so I asked a worker to price check it for me.

She looked at the tag, looked at me and in heavily accented English replied "twenty seven ninety nine miss".  I can read, so I tried explaining the whole "it was hanging on the rack so I was wondering if it was on sale" thing but she just repeated "twenty seven ninety nine".  It's likely she thought I was stoned.  And I suppose I was sort of under the influence.  The heady intoxication that can only come from buying cheap goods made in China.  I don't know why but the cheap goods from China that you buy in Israel are sort of expensive and  yet of an inferior quality.  If there are any readers out there who can explain it to me, I'd love to know why that is. Either way, I'll be hauling my 40lbs of goodies back with me next week when I head back to Israel.