Does anyone really have any idea of what a car means in their life? It's such a different lifestyle to have a readily means available to do whatever you desire at the drop of a hat. Need to go to the post office for stamps? Pick up some milk? Drop something off at someone's house? Go to a government agency to do some paperwork? Just jump in the car and do it.
But what if you didn't have a car? Can you even imagine what the smallest errand would entail? Find out the bus schedule. Have enough change to pay for the bus. Walk to the nearest bus stop. Wait for the bus. Travel on the bus. Get off the bus as close as possible to where you need to go. Get your business accomplished. Make your way back to the bus stop, possibly with a bag or two or three. Wait for the bus. Travel on the bus. Get off at your bus stop. Walk home. A simple task could take hours.
Every time you get into your car, appreciate it. Appreciate that Hakodesh Baruch Hu blessed you with such a gift. He does so much for us that we just take for granted. If everyone had to do without one major thing for just an hour a day (blindfold yourself, put in ear plugs, use crutches, turn off your cell phone), we would understand so much better all the gifts we have in our lives that we don't even realize. We're going to be so spoiled when Shaina and Yonaton come back and we don't have a car any more. We leave for ulpan at 8:25 to get there by 8:30 in the mornings, instead of leaving at 8:05 to walk. We stock up on groceries (especially bottled water) so we won't have to shlep so much after we give up the car. We went into Yerushalayim last week, and while we didn't drive (it was raining and we don't know the streets yet, plus the drivers here are, well, not the best), we left our car at the train station and when we got back late that night in the rain, we just had to hop in the car to come home. It was such a blessing!
So, Coco is a very sweet dog, much like our dog Anton we had in the states. Her only bad quality is her tremendous fear of thunder and lightning. And since the rainy season officially started, the first couple of days were not fun. It's only actually rained 3 times, and the weather here is actually gorgeous. No more temps in the high 90's; lots of breezes and things are starting to turn green after not having rain (ANY rain) for 6 months. Everything is starting to bloom; they say it's beautiful here in the "winter" months. I went to Rabbi Winston's shiur last night and there were women there in sweaters and jackets and scarves - it was in the lower 70's, maybe upper 60's! When we were in Yerushalayim last week for a doctor's appointment (it was at 7 PM), we got off the bus to pouring rain. We had umbrellas but no jackets since it had been clear earlier in the day when we left Ramat Beit Shemesh). There were people in ear muffs and winter coats - I couldn't believe it. I usually get cold easily, but even with the rain I was comfortable. Maybe I could get a good price for the wool coats we brought with us that we'll probably never wear...
So - after we had Coco for one day, we got Emma 2.0, our new puppy. You may remember we had an Emma in the states and she got out one day and we never found her. But we like the name, so we figure she's just a newer version. Emma is 5 pounds and won't get any bigger. She and Coco get along great, although Emma has boundless energy and Coco doesn't quite know what to do with her most of the time. Blogger isn' t letting me upload any pictures again. I'll try to do it after I finish this post. We're having so much fun watching Emma steal bones from Coco and jump up on her hind legs to put a paw on each side of Coco's face to kiss her. Coco just has to sweep her paw over Emma to knock her over, but she's so sweet and gentle with her, even when Emma is running circles around her and jumping all over her. I hope Emma stays happy when Coco goes back home.
Guess what? I'm actually doing pretty good in ulpan! At first it was overwhelming, but I'm actually getting it! Remembering all the words is the hardest, but I'm understanding the processes of putting the sentences together and also all the verb tenses. Ahnachnu tzreekim l'diberet ivrit habayta (babayit? Labayit? labayta?). If I went to get my notes I'd know if it was l' or b' or h' or m' or whatever. Gam, anachnu tzreekim l'lechet b'Beit Shemesh l'pet store po. L'hit r'ot!