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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Checking Back Into The Blogosphere

In response to friends, relatives and fellow bloggers, no, I haven't died or gone on an extended vacation.

I'm having a hard time squeezing blogging into the daily schedule, which looks like this:

0530: turn off alarm

0540: turn off alarm again

0545: roll out of bed and walk dogs (or in the alternative, The Husband walks dogs and I make coffee and breakfast)

0600: roll out the laptop and go to work

0745: coffee break with Yossi, followed by gym

0930: back to work

1600: turn in the day's work, turn OFF computer--avoid anything electronic for the next hour and let the eyes come back into focus.

1615: take dogs for a walk, stretch the shoulders, enjoy the outdoors for 15 minutes.

1630: help with dinner, catch up with The Guys and their day

1700: two nights per week, go to ulpan (language school); home at 9pm.

1800: on the nights with no ulpan, do homework from ulpan, review lessons, try to retain some semblance of sanity. Quit around 9pm.

9-10pm: veg out in front of television, or in the alternative, fall asleep in front of the television.

The exception to this, of course, is Friday, known here as Yom Shishi, the Sixth Day, or Erev Shabbat Sabbath Eve.

That starts a bit later--0600. Then we do all the same things except work, and I put together a grocery list and take off for Rami Levy, Israel's answer to Costco. You go at the crack of dawn because otherwise there is no parking and it takes you an hour to get through the checkout. From Rami Levy, I go to Ne'eman to buy challah (you want me to MAKE challah? On THIS schedule? You're nuts...), and sweetrolls for Shabbat morning. I also buy wine, run errands, pick up medications if needed, go to the greengrocer (since no one in my family will eat Rami Levy produce), and until HaPoalim closed on Friday, I was also doing banking....

And I stop to see Rosette who every week makes my family a Morrocan dish for Shabbat--this is Yossi's mother, who has adopted me and makes sure my family eats right.

I get home around 11:30 or 12 and start cooking for Shabbat, setting the table, make a dessert unless I've cheated and bought one, put out the blech and the kum-kum and somewhere around 2:30 or 3pm, I'm almost done. Done enough to take a nap when we're not on Winter Hours (Standard Time) but on Winter Hours, benchlicht is at 4:00 p.m., so there's no chance to nap---have to hustle the guys awake and chase them off to shower. I do Minchah while they're showering and vice versa--by the time I race the clock to candle-lighting, they're already davening and I'm lighting.....just in time.

And this is an electronics-free zone on Shabbat---no television, no computer, no blogging. Which is good because by the time Shabbat afternoon rolls around, I'm ready for a nap....

Uh, so, no, I haven't been blogging.....even finding time to read Other People's Blogs has been tough.

I have, however, been trying to improve both my Hebrew and pick up a little Arabic. My ulpan class has interesting demographics: olim from Portugal and South America; a guy who is in the IDF; a nun from Poland who is now stationed in Jerusalem and is trying to learn both Hebrew and Arabic; the usual cluster of Anglo olim and students here for a visit; a professor of art history who is doing her sabbatical year here; a woman who is a social worker specializing in helping people with disabilities and whose career involves traveling to other Middle Eastern countries to facilitate this; and five Arab students who are beating the pants off of us in Hebrew. They are all young--two are social workers, one is an engineer who does something I don't understand with computers; one is a teacher; and one doesn't talk to the rest of us.

So when class first started, we heard some of the "kids" greeting each other in Arabic, and I had to ask, "What does that mean?" Shireen, the teacher, explained it is the same as "Baruch H"S".....and taught me. I can now sort of say al hamdulaleh, and my pronunciation is duly corrected. The question "how are you?" is ma nishmah in Hebrew, but kif halek in Arabic (or kif haleich, if you're asking a guy--spelling doesn't count, ok?)

Laila saidah (good night) is easy because Hebrew and Arabic have the same word for night.

During the breaks, I discovered that we share a common disability. The Arab students want to be more fluent in Hebrew because, like English in America, it's the key to advancement in tests, in government positions, in jobs generally. Moi aussi. Heck, I just want to have an intelligent conversation with my neighbors. I was explaining during a break that despite living in a non-Anglo neighborhood surrounded by Israelis speaking Hebrew, it was still tough to keep up Hebrew because I work all day in English; my colleagues all speak English; my family all speaks English, despite pleas that they speak Hebrew to me, and invariably the English-language stations are what the guys watch on television......and Achlan said she had the same problem--"I study Hebrew, but my family speaks Arabic, all day long my clients speak Arabic, so I work in Arabic, write my reports in Arabic, and go home to dinner and television in Arabic--when do I get to use Hebrew?"

So we are bound by a common goal and a common lament.

Tonight we learned about Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice. It follows the Akeidah exactly but with Ishmael in place of Yitchak, and in Mecca instead of Jerusalem.

But what we have in common is the Sacrifice--Korban in Hebrew, Qurban in Arabic. Like Judaism, which commands tzeddakah for the poor at religious holidays, Eid-al-Adha commemorates the near-sacrifice of Ishmael with lamb or beef--most of which is given to the poor.

Eid al-Adha starts at the end of this week. If I didn't know from my classmates, I would know from the large number of hijab-clad women shopping excitedly at the Jerusalem Mall. Like Rosh HaShanah, it's a holiday where one's husband buys new clothes and shoes for the wife and children.

I don't have David Bogner's talent for posting every day. I had hoped that at a minimum I could post twice a week. That's still my goal--but my exhaustion quotient is reached much more rapidly in my fifties than it was in my twenties, and I still need to squeeze in The Husband's medical appointments as well as The Boy's---we have been successful in getting him new glasses, a new eye doctor and a transfer to adult neurology.

What I really need is either a 28-hour day or the ability to get by on four hours of sleep.


Blogger rutimizrachi said...

Great little taste of life in the Bakasphere! Thank you for sharing. I would like to say that I have missed you -- but I have been in a similar boat: too busy living to type about it, or even to read what my fellow bloggers are doing. BS"D, I'll get back to it soon. I hope I'll write it up as interestingly as you did. :-) Looking forward, even more than before, to our in-person meeting.

Monday, November 23, 2009 at 7:30:00 AM GMT+2  

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