I started my new ulpan today. It seems like it will be a really great class. For starters it's less than 10 minutes away. That beats taking two buses and 3+ hours of round trip travel any day of the week. Looking back I can't believe I did that for last year's ulpan. This time the make-up of the student body is also pretty different. I'm in a bit of a comparing mood because we spent much of the morning learning comparison words. I learned that while my apartment in Israel is much smaller than my house in the U.S. that is not true for everyone in the class. The folks from Paris said that 800 square meters is considered a large apartment and could be yours for a couple of million dollars in Paris. Though I also learned from them that if you are Jewish you would not want to live in Paris right now unless you like being afraid all of the time. When we told people in Kansas that we were moving to Israel we often got "but is it safe?" type of questions. The French students said that the children in France only feel safe once they get to Israel.
The rest of my class is from different parts of the U.S.---including a retired surgeon who after 50 years of dreaming about aliyah finally did it!, England, Australia, Mexico, Belgium and two women from Russia. One of the Russian women, upon learning that I was from Kansas started to tell me all about how popular "Dorothy" is in Russia (where apparently she is known as Elly). When she asked me if I had been to the "Dorothy museum" in Kansas I was torn between making up a really great story for this woman and shattering her illusions about the midwest. Her face fell when I broke the news that we didn't have such a museum in Kansas City. I suggested speaking to someone from a place called Hollywood, California. Of course, when I got home and told Michael about this, he used his special Google power and discovered that while there is no such museum in Kansas City, there is, in fact, a special museumdedicated to all things Oz in Wamego, Kansas, several hours away. It seems that not only did I crush the dreams of my fellow student, but I did so needlessly. I think even if I tell her, she will never fully recover the magic.
I am hoping to improve my vocabulary and general Hebrew ability. I can still feel the sting from a couple of weeks ago when it was "aleph" day at Ariella's kindergarten. Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and she was supposed to bring something in that started with the letter aleph. Well didn't all those kids with "arnaks (wallet)" "avatiach"(watermelons) and even a real "arnevet" (yes, a rabbit that stayed all day in the class) look smug. I sent Ariella with an "iparon (pencil)" which I now know starts with an ayin and not an aleph. Sort of like sending your kid with a Kite on "Letter C" day. Not gonna impress too many people that way. But not to worry, I returned with an "agas--pear" so all was copacetic.