OJT Hebrew--Just DO It (and swallow your embarassment)
Emma S addressed olim mistakes while speaking Hebrew in one of her recent posts at Moving On Up Yep, Brain Fart describes it beautifully! I took great comfort from this post, because my own mistakes are fairly awful.
My husband, who lived on kibbutz for 5 years, has his fair share of mistakes as well. However, because I don't understand real Hebrew (as spoken by natives) as opposed to Ulpan Hebrew (which is recited at a quarter of real-life speed), I generally miss his mistakes, unless he points them out to me.
He did share this week's flubb solely because it was funny. We have a dog. Actually, Yona has a dog but the dog stayed with us when Yona moved out. She was working two jobs and her hours were not conducive to dog ownership at the time, and we had grown very fond of Pax. Pax made aliyah with all of us, including the two cats, both of whom were highly dubious about our adoption of a dog in the first place.
So Pax takes us for walks around Jerusalem now. Since school started, she takes Mike and Josh to the Ulpan for Teens, and three mornings a week I walk with them on the way to my ulpan. On those days that I don't have ulpan, we walk Josh to school, then stop at our favorite coffee shop on Derech Bet Lechem for coffee and breakfast. As a result of these frequent refueling stops at the coffee shop, most of the staff, the owner and the security guard have come to know Pax on a first name basis. There are seats inside the coffee shop, but one of the attractions of this cafe is that there are also comfortable, funky couches and tables outside in addition to the usual cafe tables on the sidewalk. With Pax, we sit outside.
A couple of days ago, the security guard approached and asked my husband if it was all right to pet Pax? "Of course," Mike replied in Hebrew, "She loves everybody!" The word for "loves" is ohevet--but what Mike said was "Of course! She eats (ochelet) everybody!" The guard, who was reaching out to pet Pax, snatched his hand back in anticipation of it becoming an hors d'ouvre.
Fortunately, Mike explained his mistake and Omri and Pax are now pals.
I have my own OJT Hebrew--on the job training. Last week, I needed a new book for this semester's ulpan. Unfortunately, the book wasn't available at the school but was available at Tamir Books on Yafo Street near Zion Square. That's too long a walk, even for me, so I took the 8 bus which stops near the top of Ben Yehuda, and from there it's a pleasant stroll down the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall to Zion Square.
For some reason, the word 'go' as in drive or ride refuses to remain in my memory. The word to go, by foot, or just generally, is different from go in the sense of riding in a car, a taxi or on a bus. (I know, I know--I was never going to ride a bus--that's another post.) I tried to ask the bus driver if he goes to Yafo Street but instead I asked the bus driver if he's married to Yafo Street. The guy did a double take, but he must be used to new immigrants mangling his language: without missing a beat, he said he went left to the souk on Yafo but not right.
I was simply grateful he didn't fall out of his seat laughing at me.