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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Forgetting Farenheit

We've been here for slightly more than a year. While I still feel very much the New Immigrant, in looking back I realize that certain changes seem to point to my extremely gradual evolution into an Israeli.

The most telling example is watching the news. Especially watching the weather. Last year when the news station posted the daily temperature, as well as the expected highs and lows of the week, I was lost. "Thirty degrees tomorrow in Jerusalem" the graphics showed, and I would ask the Husband, "What's that in English?" I remember learning something about Centigrade in science class, but since I had no mathematical aptitude whatsoever, learning Centigrade seemed like an enormous waste of time.

Now I can pick up the Jerusalem Post (no, I have not yet graduated to Hebrew newspapers), turn to the weather page and see "36" next to Jerusalem, and groan. Likewise, when we tune into the European news and see the weather reports, we're not surprised people are dying of heatstroke in Greece because we know that "42" is really, really, unbearably hot.

On the subject of Hot....before I lived here, I knew the word chamsin. From very bad English and American movies, I thought it meant a hot sandstorm. In ulpan, I learned that it literally means "50," leaving me with the impression that the 50 hottest days of summer were so described.

Not so -- it only SEEMS like 50 days, but in reality, chamsin means "heatwave" in colloquial English, and it can last one day, three days or a week.

Right now, the temperature has been rising steadily and doesn't look to drop until Sunday.....

Which isn't Sunday. It's Yom Rishon. Israelis are endlessly confused about the days of the week outside of Hebrew, and since each western language has its own day names, I can understand their confusion. But this is another benchmark of acculturation: when you start to think of days of the week by their Hebrew names, and Yom Rishon no longer feels like part of the weekend, but is instead thought of as the first day of the work week, you have transitioned through one more step.

The Husband was the first to reach this level. He took the dog for a walk one morning, and returned home, puzzled. "It was very, very quiet this morning, except I kept hearing bells ring. They must be coming from the Old City, but why would they be ringing bells?" he wondered aloud to me.

I thought about it for a minute. "What day of the week is it, motek?" I asked him with a grin.

"It's Yom Rishon," he answered, still on Israeli time.

"Yep. Sunday morning. That's when churches...."

"...ring their bells," he finished with a laugh.

4 Comments:

Blogger Esther said...

What a heatwave these last days. How was the last shabbat? Esther

Sunday, July 29, 2007 at 3:49:00 PM GMT+3  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

Last Shabbat we confined ourselves to the air-conditioned apartment--none of us wanted to risk heatstroke hiking to the Kotel. The heatwave didn't break until Yom Rishon, and even now its still warm. Folks are staying indoors until the evening, but the evenings are buzzing!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007 at 7:53:00 PM GMT+3  
Blogger Jilly said...

Sorry for the long spell without contact...this has been quite a harried Summer. On a positive note, we have had exceptional weather-what a fluke!

Saturday, August 11, 2007 at 7:51:00 PM GMT+3  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

I know you've had a lot on your plate--we understand, and its nice to hear from you, always, whether here or email. Exceptionally nice weather, huh? Your heat-wave relocated to Jerusalem, hon {grin}. It's been visiting us for weeks, now....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 at 8:09:00 PM GMT+3  

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