Monday, August 21, 2006

We’re sure learning the bureaucracy of this place! Well, maybe it’s just our own ignorance of Hebrew. I went to see a nephrologist last week, and he ordered some tests for me, to see how my kidneys are since I told him about my polycystic disease. The first time we went to our health clinic here in Aleph to get the blood work done (last Friday), we got there at 11 AM. The sheet that told us office hours were 8am – noon and 4-7 PM. It turns out that the labs go in by 9:30 in the morning, so you have to get there early. Then they told us that we had to go to Beit Shemesh for the urinalysis (or what we THOUGHT was the urinalysis). So we decided to wait and do them all on the same day. So this morning we went to the clinic and got there at 9:20. There was a line (you just go to the door you need and wait till it’s your turn), so I sat down to wait. After awhile a young mother sitting there asked, “Are we allowed to drink water if we’re fasting?” The woman next to me said, “Sure, if it says that on your orders.” I said, “Hmm, I wonder if I was supposed to have fasted.” The woman next to me asked, “Well, what does it say on your orders?” and I answered, “I have absolutely no idea; I can't read Hebrew.” So she looked at it and said, “Yes, it says it very clearly right here” and pointed to the top of the page. So I laughed and went to find David at the bank. We decided to go do the other test (which was in Beit Shemesh) and hailed a cab. The cab driver was very nice, and in broken English told us how important it was for us to learn Hebrew (his brother-in-law has been here for several years and hasn’t learned it yet and the cab driver was a little impatient with him). We assured him we would be taking ulpan soon. He dropped us off at the clinic in Beit Shemesh with instructions how to call him to pick us up (except that we recognized where we were and knew where the bus stop was). We couldn’t find Meuchedet (our chupat holim – health clinic), but found a medical office and showed them my order for the test. It turns out it was for an ultrasound. First they asked what time my appointment was (no one told us we had to make an appointment; they just told us where the place was and the hours). Then they said they could take me anyway and wanted to confirm that I’d fasted for 12 hours. We just started laughing. I made an appointment for Wednesday and we went upstairs and to the bus stop.
It turns out that upstairs was the DVD rental store, the only one in all of Beit Shemesh and Ramat Beit Shemesh. Yesterday I took the 14 bus to find it and didn't know what bus stop to get off at, so I rode the bus all the way to the train station where the driver made me get off. I had to get on the next 14 bus back towards Ramat Beit Shemes to get to it. It's a small store and not air conditioned and most of the titles are in Hebrew (they're all English movies with Hebrew subtitles) and from what I could tell, they weren't in any order whatsoever. So I rented 2 yesterday and I can return them on Wednesday.
David wasn't happy about me renting them. Here we are trying to improve ourselves and get the shmutz out of our lives, and then I brought home some movies. They were really pretty benign except for one (totally unneeded) nude scene in one (which happened to be on the screen right when David walked into the room); I guess he's right that most of them really do have those kinds of scenes. Once in awhile I just want to watch something, but maybe I should just be reading anyway.
Or playing mah jongg! I called some different women who had answered my ad, and I think I have a game going tomorrow (Tuesday) night. One of the women was on our flight and we had shared a cab from the airport and really hit it off. They both started working right away, plus they have married kids here, so they've been pretty busy. And Tobi's husband, Zvi (who works for Aish here in Ramat Eshkol in Yerushalayim), has been leining at the Renaissance Hotel for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for the past 32 years, so their whole family will be staying there for the chagim. That's so nice! Tobi says they're getting a car tomorrow. It's a whole balagan here to get an Israeli drivers license and buy a car. Zvi takes a bus to Yerushalayim every day, and sometimes his commute is over an hour, even though it's only 13 miles away. When I asked Tobi if he'd be taking the car every day, she said, no, only part of the week: she gets 4 days and he gets 3 - and his 3 include Shabbos! We both had a good laugh over that one. She actually works from home for her boss back in the states. I like that idea...
David is going to Meron and Tsfat with a couple of guys on Wednesday. On Thursday he and I are going to Yerushalayim (finally!) to go to the kosel for Rosh Chodesh. Yocheved and Chanoch were planning to go as well, so they may give us a ride. We're going in the afternoon and will probably find a place to go for dinner. Personally, I vote for Yossi Peking, but my husband may have other ideas. Actually, my blood pressure has been pretty high, so Chinese food would probably not be the best choice for me. It just sounds really, really good.
Did I mention how well our new oven (bought in America before we came) worked on Shabbos? We had just gotten it hooked up last week and I was excited to be able to use it. Before I lit Shabbos candles I put it on time bake so it would turn off just before my husband would return from shul. He warned me that I shouldn't do it because if it didn't work, it would really heat up the apartment all of Shabbos. But I showed him that it was digital and I set it for an hour and a half, and I saw that it was counting down, so I wasn't worried. Rivki and I were sitting here reading when we heard a "beep" from the kitchen. I went in to check and lo and behold, the oven had turned off! I was a little relieved, even though I hadn't really been so worried. The oven beeped again and I went back into the salon to continue reading the Mispacha magazine that Rivki had brought. A few seconds later we heard another beep. Six seconds after that another. And six seconds later another. By the time David got home we were a little on edge. We were starting to worry about getting our dinner out of the oven. David went to get the instructions that came with the oven (no, I did NOT read them beforehand - do YOU ever read instructions for appliances? I thought not.) It seems that you either have to disable the beep before you use it, or you have to press on the "clear" button for 3 seconds to turn it off. Otherwise it beeps every six seconds. Forever. And ever. Every 6 six seconds. Beep. Beep. Beep. All of Shabbos. Beep. Beep. Beep...

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