Hannukah is rapidly approaching and for the last few weeks, major department stores have all things Chanukah related. I love walking in and being greeted with Hanukiyot (Hanukah menorah), candles, matches, oil lamps, cooking oil. Seriously anything you can think of that is somehow related to the holiday will greet you on the shelves as you enter the stores. I saw mesh skimmers and tongs for deep frying, cake and doughnut decorating utensils. In fact, my challenge to you dear readers: Name a Chanukkah related item that you think is NOT on the shelf ready to be purchased at my nearest grocery (well, okay, no Channukah bushes--oy). In the meantime, the doughnuts have come out in full force. Everywhere you turn is another doughnut, more decorated and frosted than the next one. No need to worry about overeating during the Hannuka season, because seriously the grocery carts are so hard to push in a straight line that you easily burn an extra 100 calories every time you go to the store. (I said I wasn't going to complain about them anymore but note that I'm giving an upside--not a complaint!)
It's a super fun time to be here with all types of parties and events. We went to Ariella's class party and I am still such a newbie. I teared up seeing all those kids dance and sing about Chanukah and living in Israel. It really is miraculous and to be part of it can just hit you all of a sudden. After their performance we made Hanukiyot. Since this is Israel it wasn't just glue some parts together it was the full organic experience. A potter came in with his equipment and the kids got to spin clay on the wheel and then make clay Hanukiyot. Messy but fun. Naturally we were the only parents who forgot to bring the clothing for craft time but that's nothing new. At least I understood the e-mail that had instructed us to bring the clothing.
On the school front, a classmate of mine in ulpan was an ESL (English as second language) teacher in the US and she told me that on average it takes 3 years to gain Academic fluency. So my kids, at year two, are in the middle. If you have school aged children and they struggle with any subject, imagine how much more difficult it would be for them if they didn't fully understand the language of instruction. Modiin does seem to have incredible schools and thankfully they are set up to work with olim. It is a lot of effort but we are charging ahead. And sometimes I wonder what fluency even is. Today I told someone in English that I could see an item under discussion even with my "blind eye," which she politely reminded me is actually called the "naked eye."
I celebrated a
little success this week that I might have thought a year ago at this
time would have been a miraculous event. One of N's closest friends
from KS called to Facetime. So they're chatting and continuing their
cartoon series when I overhear them talking about when they might be
able to actually see each other. His friend is likely moving to
Colombia (the country) at the end of the school year. I mentioned to N
that perhaps they can see each other in KS before the friend moves and N
responds with "But I want D to come to Israel. I want him to meet my
all of my friends and see how great it is here." Well, I knew things
had been going well, and life here is so amazing for kids, but you could
have knocked me over with a jelly doughnut when I heard that one.
Special welcome to readers from Yaldah magazine. I felt so honored to be mentioned. I do hope you enjoy the blog, clearly Leora W. has exceptional taste!
Meanwhile back on the ranch, Bubbie woke up one day, sold her house and moved into a retirement community. OK, maybe not that fast but it was pretty impressive. The other day I called to see how she was adjusting to her new surroundings. Even though Bubbie left Russia 70 years ago and has been in the US over 60 years, people usually ask where she is from. Even though she knows what they mean, her usual response is Leawood (the town in KS). Well apparently when the members of her new residence started asking, she told them she had arrived from Sweden. This is technically true because they were in Sweden for a few years before emigrating to the US. The best part is the responses she gets are usually along the lines of 'Yes, I thought that was the accent". Thank you Bubbie for reminding us that it is never too late to reinvent yourself.
And even as I adjust to all the inventions of our new lives, I wasn't quite prepared to hear Lital on the phone with one of her friends in Hebrew. It's not that she's never spoken Hebrew before in our presence, it was the comfort and the fluency--wow! I don't know the right word to describe how it feels to watch your child converse in a new language. A word that would combine "strange, but mixed with pride and inspiration" would be close to the word I'm searching for.