|Hey Folks, |
I know it's been awhile, but things have been pretty busy here. A couple of weeks ago my mom came to visit and to see Tali's play. I figured that she could take a different kid out of school each day and do something fun with them. That way the kids would get special time and not miss too much school, and I could keep working. That worked will for two days, until Rivtal and Abaye came down with pneumonia. Then my mom stayed home every day playing Beatles monopoly (among other things) with sick kids. After a week of the kids not getting better with their antibiotics, we spent the morning of Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day) in the ER. Which I have to say, was the best time to be there. It's like going in America at 7:00 AM Christmas morning. It was like a ghost town. Though it was crowded compared to the rest of the city, which was literally a ghost town. The only thing open in the whole entire city of Afula was the pharmacy. OK, not entirely true. I did manage to find one open restaurant, from which we got take out. But not the sushi restaurant we were hoping for (which we've never been to and happens to be located right next to the pharmacy...).
Did I mention that Ross went to America two days after my mom arrived? He got back this morning. (Yay!) And in more good news, he came bearing this new macbook I am typing on (can you tell?). It's taking some getting used to, and it has a few really annoying drawbacks (like that it isn't compatible with the program my school uses for grading-- and they assured me on the phone that they are compatible with all PC stuff), but on the plus side, when you download an attachment, it flies down to the bottom of the screen, and then it starts jumping up and down like it's shouting "Pick me! Pick me!"
But now for some highlights: Before all the sickness started, my mom took Adin to the kangaroo park, which is right next to where we live but we still haven't been. Later in the week, when I finally had to stay home with the sickies, my mom took Shmuel to Jerusalem one day. They were supposed to go to the tunnel tours (tunnels under the Western Wall with excavations-- which we keep trying to do, but something always goes wrong. I've never seen them. Though we manage to keep them in business by purchasing tickets from them and then never showing up...). Instead, they got lost in the Arab quarter. They called to tell me that they had no idea where they were and all the signs were in Arabic and no one seemed to be able to point them in the direction of the Western Wall. They said they were going to trace back their steps, see the one museum they had passed, and head back to the car to buy bagels (a rare treat for us). Amazingly, though, they came out of there, made their way to the Jewish Quarter, and then found themselves right in front of Shmuel's old school from when he was in 1st grade! And it was recess time, and all his friends were outside playing!! Everyone was so excited to see him!!
In other news, Beni (the radio guy-- remember him?) just crossed the halfway mark in his attempt to get all of the members of Knesset to participate in a group hug. Yesterday was the first day he had on a Knesset member I've actually heard of-- Amir Peretz, a major leader in the Labor Party. He tipped the number to 61 (of 120) who agree to participate in the hug. He pointed out to Beni that it's not an easy thing to get a majority in the Knesset. But Beni still has twenty more people to speak to, and several who have refused or are undecided. Today he brought on one of the undecided guys who was ready to make a decision. The guy started by going on and on about what a worthy and beautiful idea it is. He then said that unfortunately he can't participate because there are members of Knesset who are against the state of Israel and who support violence against Israelis, and it would be disingenuous for him to participate in a hug with them. Beni suggested that he will continue to try to convince him to change his mind, and the guy said, well, we'll see who you've got. Maybe if all his enemies aren't participating either, then he could join. Beni said that's not the idea. Beni plans to go through with the hug even if everyone doesn't join, so we'll see what happens. He mentioned today that he has yet to speak with the prime minister, the secretary of defense, the foreign minister, and the head of the opposition, so things could still get quite interesting. Peretz concluded his interview by saying that he hopes we will see the day soon when we can all hug each other, and have nothing better to do than to listen every day to people trying to guess what Beni is singing quietly in his head....
What else? Hmmm.... Well, the water is back on all the pools at Sachne! And I went for a swim for the first time in ages yesterday. It was amazing. I had the place almost entirely to myself. And I could tell that the fish really missed me. They were waiting with particular eagerness to get a taste of my feet....
Back to Yom HaAtzmaut, if I look past all the fevers and coughing, the day was unbelievable. The programming they organized on the kibbutz was, I thought, more spectacular than any program we could have travelledl to participate in. Everyone gathered outside in the main courtyard at the start of sunset. Several people spoke briefly about a place that is vary meaningful to them, and in between speakers there were singers and dancers and all kinds of performances, including Adin's gan singing the most fabulous song (Shir HaEmek), and he performed it with such gusto! The ceremony concluded with the traditional flag dancing ceremony, which Shmuel participated in beautifully.
After the ceremony, people went up to the synagogue for a festive Hallel prayer, complete with instruments and drumming. I didn't go because I was watching Adin outside, but you could hear the music from all around. My mom and Abaye went back to the house to take it easy and play, you guessed it, Beatles monopoly.
AFTER the prayers, there was dancing, followed at NINE THIRTY by a dinner. At the dinner they played a big game of name that tune (which I would have loved if it were rock from the 70s and 80s, but unfortunately I really don't know most of the Israeli music...). Abaye was coughing like crazy, so we went home "early" (11:00?) and went to bed. The next day was when the nurse said I should take the kids to the ER. I figured afterwards maybe we could pick up a special lunch. My mom was flying out that night. But that's when we discovered that all the restaurants were closed, and that there was absolutely nothing to do in the entire country except have campfires and roast meat. In fact, on the radio they announced several public parks that were not admitting anyone new because they were already overcrowded. Next year we are definitely finding friends to make a fire with!!
I should say something about my new job, but it is late and I am tired and this is already getting long. Sufficeth to say that I am finding it challenging, but I am working hard, and things may be getting better. I will tell you after it is over and I can look back and just remember the good stuff. It's just as well, since I went to a meeting in Haifa where I was "interviewed" by all sorts of Education officials, to be told that I would not be able to teach here without another two years of school. The good news, they said, is that they are accepting me into a free program of study. But I don't know that I am up for that. He didn't even look at my experience of my recommendations (which I worked tirelessly to collect). He looked at my education (and most of my formal training is in Social Work, and he wasn't remotely interested in my certificate of Jewish Education, because "Jewish Education is not a subject here.") So that was fruitful.
BTW, I would never in a billion years have found the meeting if it weren't for the fact that I borrowed my mom's GPS. And while I was there, I took advantage and went to the Motor Vehicle Bureau, which I have putting off for a a long time for fear of getting lost in Haifa. So that's great news. It means that soon I will start my driving lessons, followed (please G-d) by my test, so stay tuned for some good stories there!! (unless I have to sell my new computer to pay for all the lessons the guy will make me take...)
But did I mention that it is late and I am tired and this is long? I think I did. So off I go. I know there is lots I'm forgetting, but maybe I'll write again soon.
Until then, good night (or whatever it is where you are...)