Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I can't believe I haven't written anything in almost two weeks. And still, there have been over 300 hits to my site since I started keeping track! I think life has just caught up with me; between ulpan and then studying for ulpan, and getting places by bus again, and going to physical therapy 3 times a week (back pain) and taking care of Emma (our little sweetie), every day just whizzes by WAY too fast. We get home from ulpan by 1:15 and it's already dark three hours later. And it doesn't matter if it's only 4:30 in the afternoon - if it's dark out, it's late and I'm tired!

Today we didn't have ulpan - we had a tiyul (field trip) to Tel Aviv. Since I've never been there, and David's only seen the train station and bus stops, we decided to go. Most of the class went except for those with kids because we didn't get back until after 5. Our downstairs neighbor, Shaina, came up and got Emma for part of the day so she (the puppy) wouldn't be home alone for so long. In fact, Shaina is going to come upstairs to get Emma for an hour or more every morning when we're at ulpan so she and Coco can play and get some exercise together. I'll have to get Shaina a present for her "doggie day care."

So the tiyul was really nice. I was worried about the bus ride, but David and I sat in the front seat and I took my ginger pills and did all right. It was in the mid-70's, not a cloud in the sky, and we had a great tour guide even though he spoke in Ivrit and kept forgetting to repeat himself in English. Almost everyone understood him except for about 6 or 7 of us. The last half of the day I just stood near Toby, who's in the gimmel class, and she just translated to us as he spoke.

We spent a lot of time in Yaffo, which was the the part of the city built before Tel Aviv. It kind of reminded us of the old city of Tzfat. There were a lot of artsy and expensive shops there. Then we walked around an old part of Tel Aviv (it was first built in 1909 so it's not as old as Jerusalem). They gave us 20 minutes to find chairs in the lobby of a building and eat the lunches we packed. It wasn't so comfortable but it was 1:30 PM by then and most of us had already snacked on the lunches we'd brought. The best part of the day was going to Independence Hall. That was really spectacular. First they showed us a movie and then we actually sat in the room where Ben Gurion announced Israel's statehood. The guide there spoke English and she really told the story well; we felt we were in the room with Golda Meir and Ben Gurion and all the rest - it's a great story. Then she played an audio of part of the speech he made and then Hatikvah - I looked around and saw that I wasn't the only one crying.

Before we left to come back to Beit Shemesh, they allowed us about 30 minutes at the shuk. It wasn't like the shuk in Jerusalem; this one was mostly a flea market. Some of the stalls had stuff you wouldn't even sell at a garage sale; others had nice silver and chatchkes and furniture. When we gathered back together to get on the bus, the men decided to daven mincha right there on the street corner. They had to get the tour guide to join them because there were only 9 guys, and even though he wasn't even wearing a kipah, he joined them. David said that another guy just walking by on the street stopped to be the 10th man, but when the tour guide came over, he just walked on. Only in Israel!
This has to be short and sweet; I'm really exhausted. Just to end on a good note: the Grunberger kids are getting better all the time. Dovid is actually saying a word here and there, remembers things and recognizes people. Tehilla is getting more and more like her old self. They both have a long way to go, but Rabbi Grunberger's weekly email updates are so uplifting and powerful, with such bitachon and emuna in Hashem. Sadly, there was another family here in Israel on the way home from their son's wedding and were also in a car accident. I don't know them, but their Hebrew names were listed on the Beit Shemesh email list and it sounds like another large family and many are in serious condition. My Tehillim list just keeps getting longer and longer...

Here's some pictures:

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sorry - I tried to post pictures but was having problems. It will have to wait until I have more time.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'm tired. David and I left for Yerushalayim early this morning and got back around 6 this evening. You may not understand that to get back here at 6 on the #417 bus means to leave from Geulah during the time everyone's getting off work, so the bus is crowded and the highways are crowded. It's been weeks since I've ridden the 417. Even though I took my ginger pill, I was pretty sick on the way back. It had been sprinkling a little throughout the day, in the 60's, changing from mostly cloudy to sometimes sunny. People on the bus were actually wearing anything from winter coats to short sleeves. It was so stuffy! I had David open a window before I passed out, which probably didn't make many people happy. We got off the bus way before our normal stop and walked home, which helped a lot.

I was pretty proud of the way we found our way around today. We first had to go into Givat Shaul for a (I'm whispering this) mammogram. I had to go to a clinic that is not covered by our chupat cholim, but I had been told by everyone, including my doctor, that it was the best place to go. It was off Kanfei Nesharim, kind of like an Olive Street or Manchester Road in St. Louis, so David just took off after we found the building. They had told me it could take about 3 hours, but I was out of there in one. I felt kind of guilty; there were women who were there before me still sitting in the waiting room when I left. It turned out almost everyone there spoke English. The woman who did the mammogram (owwwww!) said her sister and brother-in-law lived in St. Louis for awhile and worked for the Aish rabbi. I told her, "I worked for the Aish rabbi for the past ten years!" It turns out they were the Goodrich's who now live in Beitar, fairly close to where we live. She also knew other people we know. Before I left, she stopped me and asked for Tehilla and Dovid's Hebrew names to daven for them. (Speaking of that, Dovid is in surgery right this moment having a craniotomy. Rabbi Grunberger sent out an email; it sounds pretty scary. I read a lot of tehillim when I got home and read the email. Please pray that Rafael Dovid HaLevi ben Brocha gets through the surgery safely and will soon "regain his ability to move, talk, walk, run, play and learn, be"H (with G-d's help), all to be able to serve HaShem as a proper Jew." (quote from Rabbi Grunberger's email)).

So, anyway, the receptionist at this place is from St. Paul, MN where David's daughter, Erin, lives, and the female doctor who did the ultrasound (that's what makes this clinic so good; I've never had an ultrasound along with the mammogram) lives in Beit Shemesh and is from NY. Even though we had to private pay, compared with the US, it was pretty inexpensive (495 NIS - about $125).

I found David sitting in a restaurant with a cup of coffee studying his Ivrit (good for him! Especially since we missed class today and I just spoke with Ellen who said we have a LOT of homework for Sunday - including conjugating 20 verbs in past, present and future tenses which means about 10 words for each verb, e.g., the infinitive of to learn is l'limode. So you have: I learned, he learned, she learned, they (male) learned, they (female) learned, we learned, then you have different ones for present and future. It's not like you just add -ed to past tense and change the pronoun, or add the word "will" in front of a verb to make it future - each word for each pronoun is different. And depending on the verb "group" (there are seven, but we're only up to 4 and of course haven't learned all the verbs in each of those groups yet), the way you conjugate is different. Ellen said we've learned 67 verbs so far; I don't think I personally have learned that many! David was testing me in the bus on the way to Yerushalayim this morning and I did pretty good, even though I kept mixing up ozir (help) and chozar (to return or repeat).)

Let's see; where was I? For some reason I keep going off on tangents. Oh yeah, I found David and we got on the #35 to the Takanah Merkezit (sp?), the central bus station. It seemed like this entire day, when we got to a bus stop, the bus just magically showed up right then. I think it's David's mazel, not mine. When I'm alone, I sometimes have to wait 20 minutes or more. Anyway, once we got to the bus station, it was pretty comical if anyone had been watching us. David's map showed that we needed to take either the 7 or 21 to get to Talpiot. We had to take our paperwork and our American drivers' licenses and our teudat zehut and our teudat oleh (don't even ask) to the license bureau there (it's the only one in Yerushalayim) so they could take some money from us as well as the paperwork and give us other paperwork to take the next step in finding a driving instructor to give us the one mandatory driving license before we can take the driving test so we can get our Israeli driver's license. There may or may not be many more steps than those to get the licenses, depending on what kind of mood any of the people along the way are in, or if they want to get more money out of you by flunking you on your driving test and making you take another lesson, or if they decide that medication you take could hamper your driving ability (if you saw how people drive her you would not even believe that statement), they'll send you back and forth from your doctor to write a note to the head of the transportation department or to Netanyahu if they feel like making your life more interesting. And you get to just go back and forth from one agency to another with a smile on your face, saying "Toda raba" because all you really want to do is get it over and done with.

Where was I again? Oh, right, the bus station. So, we went up and down the street in front of the bus station stopping at each of the bus stops where there are signs posted as to what busses stop there. We were pretty sure what side of the street to be on, but there are also bus stops on the other side of the divider by the convention center where traffic also goes in both directions. There we were, walking up and down both sides of both streets, down through the tunnel, up again on the other side, asking security guys for help, when I finally said, "Let's go inside and ask someone at the information desk." Makes sense, doesn't it? So we went through security (they check every bag with an xray machine - EVERYONE carries a backpack in Israel - and each person has to pass through the metal detector), went up to the 3rd floor and found out we needed the #14. And we (okay, David) asked in Hebrew! The girl looked as if she was trying not to smile in amusement at his faltering question (something like "Ezeh kav autoboos ho-laych b'Talpiot?") Finally, we got to the right bus stop and the 14 came almost immediately. We went down Yaffo and turned onto King George, which was great because we had already decided to eat at either Yossi Peking or the Red Heifer, and they were both on that street. Yossi Peking had moved and we had their address, but David has been wanting a good steak since we moved to Israel and hadn't had one yet, so that was probably where we were going to go, even though I really wanted Chinese (but we've gone out for Chinese several times already).

So here we are on a bus to Talpiot, and all David knew was that the license bureau was near the mall. Except that when we got to Talpiot, there were LOTS of malls. In fact, we were in an industrial district that had car lots everywhere and all kinds of stores. We were in the back of a double-long bus, and I finally turned around and asked, "Does anyone here speak English?" The guy behind us did, and actually knew that we had to get off at the very next bus stop and cross the street and the license bureau would be right there. Hashgacha pratis once again! We got off, crossed the street, saw the building, walked up the steps - and the door was locked. It was 1:34 p.m. and guess what time they closed for the day? Yep - 1:30 p.m. Bid'yook (that means EXACTLY). While we stood there stunned, the security guard unlocked the door from the inside to let someone out and we (okay, I) begged him to let us in and he just shook his head and closed the door again. I started knocking on it, but he didn't open it for another minute or two, when he let another couple out. I told him that we had come very far, all the way from Ramat Beit Shemesh and this time he looked at least a little sympathetic as he said, "Lo!" and closed the door once again. Only in Israel. At least we knew how to get there the next time, and we saw what the hours were that were posted on the door.

So we went to the mall across the street (we were already there after all) and looked around, then walked back down the street to wait for the #14 going back the other direction. It came right away. Hashem likes to give a little, take a little - He's got a great sense of humor, no? So we got off on King George at the Great Synagogue, and found Yossi Peking, which turned out, disappointingly, to be a little hole-in-the-wall take-out place with a few tables. It used to be a great restaurant when it was off Ben Yehuda and in Beit Hakerem. So we headed for the Red Heifer, but when we asked an English speaking couple who were walking near us, they said it didn't open until 5 and it wasn't afeeloo (even) yet 3. Poor David. There are so many kosher restaurants here in Israel and where do we always end up? Cafe Rimon, of course. But this time we ate on the meat side, and David actually had a really good steak, so he was happy. And that made me happy. Whew!

But then we had to run (at least walk really, really fast) down Yaffo a couple blocks and then all the way into Geulah so David could daven mincha before it was too late (it gets dark here before 4:30 these days). Then we got right on the 417 which is where this whole long story started. Isn't it more fun to make a short story long then a long story short?

We were both in a hurry to get home to our little Emma, who had spent the day with her friend Coco, at Coco's house. Coco's mommy and the 3 year old twins, Hadar and Yakira, enjoyed having Emma there all day. In fact, Yonatan had just gotten home from work and was about to walk the two dogs when we walked in, and Hadar and Yakira were adamant that Emma stay with them. It was a tearful scene for all when we took Emma home. It's doubtful that they left Emma alone the entire day; our poor puppy has been so tired this evening she couldn't move! Yesterday when we went to ulpan, it was the first time in her young life that she'd ever been completely alone. She's always had other animals around if not humans to keep her company. She was so excited when we got home yesterday! She raced through the house for an hour without stopping after we got home; jumping in our laps and playing with all her toys like a maniac, going from one to the other. Now she has us for 3 days, but when we go back to ulpan on Sunday morning, she's not going to like it...

She's been sleeping in her little bed next to me while I've been writing, but her daddy just took her to bed. Usually by the time I go to sleep, she's right in the middle of where I sleep, and I have to move her over to get in bed. Then she cuddles up against me. She's such a little cutie pie!

Tomorrow is cleaning-all-of-Coco's-fur-from-all-over-the-house day. I hope the vacuum cleaner can handle it. I don't think Emma sheds, but Coco sure did...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

By the way, I meant to tell you that I put a site meter on my blog so it can count how many hits I get. 95 people read my blog in the last week! Okay, so I know some of those hits are mine because my computer opens up to the blog, and some of you might read it more than once, but that's still a lot of hits! WHY DON'T YOU LEAVE ME A MESSAGE SO I KNOW WHO YOU ARE?! You can write me off-line at vickie@lecy.net if you prefer. It would just be nice to know if I know you or if you're just someone who found my blog by accident or whatever. Thank you!
It's been so long since I've blogged. You can't even imagine how much time it takes to take care of someone else's dog (she has to be walked 3-4 times a day, plus she wants you to take the time to actually play with her). Our dog, of course, is a cutie and very lovable and pettable and zooms around the apartment so much we don't need to walk her much. But she sure holds her own with Coco! They will both be very sad tomorrow afternoon when Coco goes home. And we will both be very sad tomorrow morning when we have to leave for ulpan a full half hour early because we'll be walking again.

Oh, great. For the first time in over 2 weeks we just heard a huge clap of thunder, and now Coco is going absolutely nuts. Our last night is going to be so much fun...

Last week, actually for about a full week, I was having horrible headaches and backaches. I have no idea what caused them, but I was using lots of drugs, went to the doctor who was nice but didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, had a GREAT massage, and started physical therapy. I think it was the physical therapy that did the trick finally. We went this afternoon for my second session, and the therapist could already see a big difference. I have to do all these lower stomach muscle exercises. The therapist thinks that my surgery last year and my enlarged liver are contributing to the problem. Now that we'll be walking again, maybe I'll start toning up a little. Of course, now that I have to get to PT every other day, and we have to get to Talpiot on Wednesday to do the next step in getting our Israeli drivers' licenses, it will be waiting and riding buses again. Everything will take that much longer to get accomplished.

There's a great shiur tonight with both Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller and Rebbetzin Tehila Jaeger at one of the larger shuls. I just wish it wasn't raining, and that I didn't have so much homework.

Ulpan is starting to be more than challenging; it's downright frustrating. The only good thing is that I know everyone else is in the same boat. For a long time we were concentrating on present tense verbs and infinitives. Now she's throwing past tense (male, female, them, her, his, he, she, yada yada yada) as well as future tense (so far just male and first person) at us. Sarah (our morah) spends the first half of class reviewing and throwing out questions that we have to answer, or answers we have to come up with questions for, or giving us a word that we have to conjugate or give the plural of, and then asking us to repeat what someone else answered, i.e., "Vickie omerit s'he..." After the hefseka (break) she's been giving us about 30 questions. We have to first translate them into English (or Dutch or Spanish or French, whatever works for us), and then without looking at the Hebrew, we have to re-write it from our translations for homework. I have to look up so many words! But, Baruch Hashem, my husband had enough navua (prophecy/forethought) to buy about 7 or 8 different Hebrew/English dictionaries (that I know of - who knows how many more are lurking about...).

So we're well-equipped for learnng Hebrew; the only thing we're short on is time. Hopefully when Coco goes home (she is now drooling all over me and the floor and trying to jump up in my lap even though I closed all the doors and windows and turned music on in all the rooms so she can't hear the thunder {even though there was actually only one clap of thunder about 45 minutes ago}), we'll buckle down more than we have. By the time we get home from ulpan at 1 or 1:15 PM and have lunch and check our email (and one of us does the laundry or dishes or cleaning), it's already dark and time just slips away... Now that I read that over, it sure sounds like a lot of excuses, doesn't it? I guess if you read between the lines, you can tell the real culprit is the computers. They are evil, evil things that eat up precious time that could be better spent on more important things - like learning Ivrit or Torah. Notice how I've passed the blame onto the computers and away from our own addictions to them. We're not actually on them ALL the time, just way too much time.

Right now I have to read my portion of Tehillim I say in the merit of Tehilla and Rafael Dovid Grunberger. It's been 4 1/2 weeks since the accident. They're still in the hospital. I haven't heard any updates in a few days, but I know they have a long way to go. I pray Elazar and Brocha are holding up, and that Hashem gives them strength to deal with all their childrens' needs as well as their own.

40 minutes until the shiur. What shall I do?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Here's more pics of Emma and her friend, Coco - on the couch, in our bed. I was so happy to move here and know that without Anton, I could wear black again and not have dog hair all over me. Hmmm. Guess there are choices we make!

We took Emma to the vet last night to get her first shots; she was so good! We were in for a surprise, though. The vet said she was less than 3 months old - and that she wouldn't grow past 10 kilograms. That's about 22 pounds! I'm going to kill Michal when I see her again! She was the person we got Emma from and she told us Emma wouldn't grow much bigger. The vet said she probably wouldn't get much taller, but would fill out a lot. We like her tiny and cuddly...

It's only 12:30 p.m. and the challahs are out of the oven and the soup is simmering on the stove. The sun is bright, there's a refreshing breeze blowing in the windows. Emma's lying on the floor next to me in the sun by the sliding glass door, Coco's out on the back mirpeset soaking up the sun. I still need to clean the salon and the kitchen floors, but everything else is ready for Shabbos. Maybe I can work on my homework this afternoon so I won't have to do it all motzi Shabbos. David and I are having a machloches (difference of opinion) over whether I can study my words over Shabbos. He says it's preparing for after Shabbos; I think it's just learning the language of the country we're living in. Any other opinions?

I wish you good health, contentment in your life, happy surprises, and a wonderful, fulfilling Shabbat!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Finally - blogger let me download some pictures. Some days I'm able to and some days it just won't let me.

The first one is Emma on the couch, although it's not so flattering. She kept moving every time I clicked a picture. We should have named her Speedy Gonzales; she races from here to there and everywhere in between so fast you can barely see her. The other is Emma on her daddy. I have pictures of Jared and Nathan on the couch as babies with their daddy, too... Too bad you can't see her face; she's really cute.

Grunberger update: Tehilla and Rafael Dovid are still in the hospital. Tehilla was moved to the rehab unit at Children's Hospital. I believe the trach has been removed, and she is making significant improvements. She has been able to brush her hair and write on a white board. Rafael Dovid is off the respirator and has been moved from the ICU to a step-down unit. He has not awakened but is breathing on his own. They believe he can hear as his heart rate quickens when a family member speaks, reads or sings to him. Test results show no damage, Baruch Hashem, to his neck or spinal cord. Brain damage is yet to be determined. Both still need our prayers. The other kids are back in school.

On a brighter note, big sister Sora Liba just had a healthy baby girl (she has two other little ones) and another big sister, Leah, is engaged. The family has had its share of ups and downs in the past 3 weeks!

We went to the Turners to pick up some boxes of our winter things. We haven't had any more rain but it's a little cool in the mornings and evenings. Right now the sky is clear but the sun will be setting soon and it's just gorgeous out. I've taken Emma and Coco downstairs to Coco's yard twice today (David has walked them), and they were so funny playing with each other. I need to remember to take the camera next time. We bought Emma a little bed but she prefers to snooze in the corner of the couch.

Tomorrow night for Shabbos dinner we're staying home for the first time in a long time, just the two of us (I guess I should say 4 of us!). We had some invitations but we just wanted to be at home, especially since we're going out for lunch to someone in our ulpan class. I got a lot of cleaning done today, but more to do tonight. For the last 6 or 7 years I've had someone to clean the house every other week for 4 hours, but there's no reason to here. Our place is small and we can't afford it, but I'd forgotten how much I didn't like doing it! Coco sheds a lot; hopefully Emma won't.

After David gets back from mincha/maariv we're going into Beit Shemesh to the vet to get Emma her first shots. I hope she doesn't piddle in Shaina and Yonaton's car. We probably should buy her a little carrier, especially if we're going to have to take her places in cabs or on the bus. I don't even know if we can take her on the bus.

There are kids outside with what sounds like a basketball, there's a little traffic on Hayarden, and it just sounds so nice and peaceful out. I wish you could experience what it's like here.

Yesterday we played mahj for the first time in over a month. There were even 4 of us. We only played 4 games because everyone was so slow, but it was still fun and nice to socialize. Bracha even brought me the first 4 episodes of Gilmore Girls from this season on a CD. Her friend knows how to download tv shows for free. David probably wasn't happy that I was watching it, but it was such a treat. I'm not very happy with Lauralai, though. How could she possibly give up Luke for Christopher? And I hope Logan is good and jealous, thinking Rory is seeing other guys while he's in London for a year, even though of course she's not and she misses him a lot. Oh man, I sound like my grandmother, with her soap operas! I'd better be careful what I write; I heard that some of the seminary girls read this blog. Hmmm, I wonder where I can find episodes of ER?

Just kidding; I don't really want to be watching tv; I'm on my computer enough as it is. I really would rather be studying ivrit and doing my homework. Besides I didn't come to Israel to watch tv; I was hoping to pursue more spiritual pursuits.

Who actually reads this blog, anyway? People keep telling me they read it, but no one ever posts any comments. For awhile you couldn't, but I changed the settings, so it would be soooo nice if you want to leave me a little message. Yes, you!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It's been so long since I've blogged! We've been so busy with ulpan, and now with Emma and Coco. Coco is a dog we're dogsitting for. Her mommy and daddy went to the states for 3 weeks, so we got Coco and their car. Let's see, do I talk about the car first or Coco? Let's start with the car.

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!