Thursday, September 18, 2008

Still not Israeli...but getting there

Now that we're finally on our routine schedule I feel that I can comment about it with more certainty than before. I am so lucky to have been placed in the kindergarten with the kiddies. Even though everybody says that working in PalRam isn't too bad and that it could be worse, I think that mind-numbing manual labor would somehow be counter-productive for a good learning environment. 3 people have already left the group but I think that that will be the final number (assuming nobody gets kicked out or anything). The Kibbutz continues to be a hospitable and quaint place to live although my one complaint is the maintenance should be spelled "latenance" (it takes weeks to get anything done around here). My sink is broken in my room so everyday activities such as shaving, washing hands, and brushing teeth have increased in difficulty ten-fold. The kids from the previous ulpan have advised me to get used to it and that it will most likely not be fixed until late next week. Until then it looks like I will either be shaving with the Orange Fanta in our room or going to someone else's room. Despite their reputation as introverts, the Kibbutzniks have actually been pretty friendly. Of course, as a previous blogger put it, none of the Kibbutznik girls give us "the time of day" but that's alright...our main purpose here is to learn Hebrew anyways. Yesterday I downloaded the necessary forms in order to make Aliyah from Nefesh B'Nefesh's website so hopefully I will be a full-fledged Israeli citizen with a guaranteed 14,000 Shekels (~$4,000 or less now due to the financial crisis) and benefits by mid to end November. This weekend I am going to a good family friend's house in Herzliya and then next weekend to another's elsewhere. Gene and I have already talked about getting an apartment after the Ulpan and I have also talked with Phil about it. Gene is from Australia and Phil is from England. This would mean an apartment with a trifecta from the English speaking countries (kinda cool). The Hebrew is going well. As my notebook would attest, I still have a lot of vocabulary to learn but I can get around pretty well in most situations. I'm still looking for a gym that I could join around here for a reasonable price but have not been very successful in my findings. I would be okay with just running but unfortunately the army is not looking for the slim, Ethiopian runner build so I have to find a way to keep building muscle. I still have a while to worry about that though -- 6 months to be exact!

1 comment:

Allan said...

Howdy, Ben! This is just to let you know that the chatty old dude you met in CVS last month is keeping his eye on your blog.

Your adventure sounds perfect-the exact blend of excitement, boredom and annoyance that makes adventure adventurous.

I was wondering, did you ever find that accordian file for your music you asked me about? And have you even had time to think about music in Israel?

Keep blogging and I'll keep reading, kid. I barely know you, but some mystic landsmen connection makes me proud of you, nonetheless.

Allan Goldstein

PS If you want to keep up with some satirical developments stateside, you can check my latest weekly post on, under the Snark Twain link, or my monthly newspaper columns, posted on my website,