First of all, I don't know if you are all aware, but Ross created a blog for these updates. The next step will be for me to learn how to use it, but that ain't happening before Rosh Hashana (tonight!!! Eek!!!), so i wanted to send out this last email. You could erase it and check it out on the blog at your convenenience if you want. Ross will add it.
But with the new year rapidly approaching, I want to share some cool thoughts about our new life here. Where to start?
We'll start with Adin's gan. he still says he doesn't understand Hebrew, but he runs to gan in the morning, and doesn't want to leave when I pick him up. His teacher says that when people talk to him hin Hebrew, he often responds appropriately in Ehglish. When one of hte moms asked him if he is learning Hebrew, he said that he doesn't know Hebrew, but he is just going to teach everybody English. So at least he has a plan.
The gan is very Israeli kibbutzy-- the toys are all old and broken-- some toys, and lots of old appliances and random household goods. One day the teacher announced that they were going to break up into groups, and they undertook a massive building project where each group made a "home" out of all these old random things. It started with big, heavy boards and broken tables, and old cloths that they used to make a tent-like structure. Then they added all kinds of small appliances and other random things. Then they did something really messy with diert and water and food coloring that I think was also related. And did I mention messy? It was VERY exciting for them! I am torn between feeling like we are getting ripped off and he is spending all day in a hazardous zone, and feeling like it is the most awesome recycling education!!
And my favorite thing about his gan-- all the kids and teachers are around all the time -- at shul, at the store, and everywhere. One of the activities for the first week or two was to go on "hikes" around the kibbutz, and to point out where everybody lives. How cool is that?! Adin was so excited to show everone where his house is!!!! It doesn't help so much for him to have seen the other kids' houses, since he doesn't really know their names (except his best local friend Shachar, who is yet another cute blond who lives right across the way from us! (sound familiar?)
Abaye (remember the negative infinity on the Aliyah meter?) said he LOVES school. He especially loves math and PE. He has good friends and seems to really be adjusting great (poo poo poo poo poo). He had one kid sleep over last week, and got aanother sleepver invitation from someone else last night (though he decided not to go).
Shai (er... Shmuel) is also doing great. He has decided to go by "Shmuel", unless we go and officially change his name to Shai. I can pretty much still call him Shai (I'm kind of grandfather claused in), but I try to use both to show him the respect of his choice but to not lose what I have called him all his life. He actaully tried this the last time we lived in Israel, and people knew him as both. We'll see what will happens with that.... He loves his teacher. He goes to all the activities happening on the kibbutz for kids, and he is making friends, though no one as close as Abaye has made so far. No Yannivs or Bens and Elis to hang out with yet.
Rivital also seems to be enjoying school. Did I mention that she is in the highest math class, which involves staying late at school an hour and a half once a week? She "complains" about it, but I ask if she wants to drop out, and she clearly doesn't. She is desperate for us to sign her up for some music and theater. the good news is there seems to be a place for each not too far away, and other kids from here go. We just need to settle in a little more before taking that on. I am hoping it doesn't really get into full swing until after the holidays.
Ross is starting to work (slowly, in between helping with the house and trying to get a drivers licence and buy a car). He is full of great ideas for work, which will probably also start in earnest after the holidays.
I'm fine-- a little sick of unpacking and buying stuff, but I know there is an end in sight. Everything seems to fit in the apt except for the books. But there is always room for books, so I'm sure we'll figure that one out too.
Last night Ross encouraged me to check out Slichot services at the yeshiva. I never enjoy them, because they go so fast and I never can follow, and I didn't see how it would be better with a bunch of Israeli guys. But it was really awesome!!! First of all, they combined ashkenazi and sephardi slichot, and for me anyway, it was the perfect mix of tunes-- old familiar songs, plus that sing-songy sephardi tune that is flowy and easy to follow. And what ruach!!! (spirit!!!!) They started at 11:00 PM. The singing was BEAUTIFUL and lasted until midnight. Then a bunch of yeshiva guys (ans a couple of the rabbis) stayed behind to sing some of the melodies and dance!!!! It was great!
And last night I went to choose my seat at shul for the holidays. Rivital and I have our own table-- with 2 seats and a cubby inside!! And guess how much it costs!! Well, it's included in our free rent!!
And finally, some of you have probably heard me say this before, but one of my favorite things about living in a Jewish state-- they are changing the clocks just in time to shorten the fast for Yom Kippur!!!! (I know, it doesn't really shorten it, but it makes it end at an earler hour, which makes it feel shorter). Then they change it back again just in time to help the Passover seder start earlier! I think they don't always do that anymore, because it affects the economy in some way (the length of the work day of daylight hours) and also the environment I think, but it's working out for us this year!!!!
On that note, I am off to go do 500,000 things before the holiday. If I list them all, I won't be able to do all of them, so I'm off.
Have a super amazing happy new year!!!