Sunday, October 14, 2007

Okay, I give up. Hashem is messing with my mind and doing a darn good job!

This afternoon I decided to take the bus into Pisgat Ze'ev and get some prescriptions refilled. I checked the bus schedule and saw that the #179, which only comes 2 or 3 times a day, was scheduled to come at 2:05. The #179 actually turns down the street where the pharmacy is (not that I would have had to walk very far if I'd taken the regular #143). I headed out and had already walked to the end of my street when I remembered that the pharmacy is closed in the afternoon and doesn't open again until 4. Since I didn't want to spend an hour and a half with nothing to do but shop (Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!) I came back home. "Okay," I thought. "Time to tackle the bathroom."

I took all the shampoos and soaps out of the bath tub and lathered it up with cleanser. Then I grabbed the shower hose, turned on the water, aimed and - nothing. Just a little trickle of water that petered out after a couple of seconds. I tried all the other faucets - nada. Then I called Miryam across the street and Nava two doors down; they have have water. Only I don't have water.

Okay, Hashem. Please stop chuckling and --

Wow! He listened to me! As I was writing I heard a voice from above calling, "Try it now." It was Shaya's voice and he was standing in the street by our water meter. Someone had apparently turned the water off on the meter. I had already been up there, with David on my cell telling me which lever to move, and I hadn't been able to budge it. It was nice of Shaya to come over and check on it for me. Guess that means I should go rinse out the tub sometime soon.

If I hurry now, I can catch the 15:35 bus (yes, that's absolutely right; we not only get to figure out kilograms instead of pounds, and meters instead of miles, but we have to figure out this whole 24 hour time thing - does Hashem have any idea what He's doing to me? Does anyone who knows me believe that I am in any way, shape or form math-oriented? As if trying to learn how to read, speak, write and understand an entirely new language isn't hard enough. And as long as we're on the subject - does anyone out there in cyberspace have any idea whatsoever how complicated SHMITTA is?! You can't even begin to comprehend all the plastic bags I have in my kitchen for peeled kadosh veggies. You can't just throw away even a tiny part of any vegetable - and eventually fruits and flowers and wine and oil and G-d knows what else - that's grown during shmitta; there are so many laws governing it, it's not even funny. And, anyway, let's just say it isn't even shmitta year {which, of course, it is} and it's just a regular day and you're in the grocery store and you want to buy something, and there's, like, a MILLION different hechsharim you have to decipher and know who holds by whom, and of course, that can change daily, so -- Did I get off the subject?) Hmmm. It looks like it's too late to catch the 3:35 bus...

Please don't think I'm being negative! You just have to know that when you get here (and you will), as awesome as it is, there are many challenges. Not problems, mind you - just challenges. We're definitely up to the challenge, else we would have been long gone. Okay, yes, we kvetch; it's in our nature (that's a very big collective "we"). The thing is, over here you see up front the difference between, let's say, buying something with the wrong hechsher and having to throw it away, and having your family go to the local pizza parlor and being blown up. BIG difference.

Guess what David and I did last week? We were spontaneous! Yep, we sure were. Are you as surprised as we were?

At 4:30 PM (okay, fine - at 16:30) my husband called me last Thursday and asked, "What are you doing? Hop on a bus and come meet me in town." My first inclination was to say no. I hadn't been feeling well, and it just seemed like a big deal to figure out when the next bus would arrive, check my clothes and snood to make sure I looked presentable, and then have to walk down to the bus stop. Plus David had committed to helping a friend take down his sukkah that night. When we hung up I realized that he sounded disappointed. And I thought, "Really, why not?"

So I called our friend, who immediately said when he heard my voice, "Oh, please tell David I don't need his help; I took the sukkah down already." Then I freshened up and got down to the bus stop in time for the 5:00 bus. When I called David he was very excited. We ended up meeting at the takanah merkazit (after he parked somewhere in Geula and took a bus) where we both purchased, for the first time, our chofshi chodishi, the monthly bus pass that will enable us to ride any Egged bus almost anywhere in the country. After four months of waiting for our ID cards, they finally came last week, so we were able to purchase the special bus pass. For only 147NIS a month, that's an unbelievable bargain.

With our new bus pass in hand, we headed down to Ben Yehuda where we ate dinner at - you guessed it - Cafe Rimon. But it was my husband's night, so we ate on the meat side. It turned out that because it was Rosh Chodesh (new Hebrew month), the restaurant did all kinds of special things. There was a four piece jazz band made up of some very young yeshiva bochurim (students) who were excellent. They also gave out roses to all the ladies, and there was free dessert (did they have to put coconut in the chocolate? Yuck!). We also spent the entire meal speaking with the guy who was sitting alone at the table next to ours. I wasn't even sure he was Jewish, but he apparently was, and was in town for his daughter's upcoming nuptials. He was from Montreal but had recently moved to Cancun, has 5 kids, 2 are frum and living in Yerushalayim, one of his ex-wives lives in the Old City and is Rumanian, and we learned about all his business ventures. He was actually very interesting and we enjoyed sharing our meal with him. There was just something about sitting outside under the stars with a nice breeze, fabulous food (delectable livers and mushrooms in wine sauce) and enjoyable company in the holy city of Yerushalayim that made the evening special.

After dinner we headed down to Geulah. I was surprised that David wanted to walk around, since his knee had been hurting since Simchat Torah. I shouldn't have been surprised when we ended up a furniture store where there just happened to be a shtender that my husband had been looking at for the last several months. It was the kind of adjustable shtender that you can use sitting or standing, and when sitting there's a place to rest your feet. Again, my first inclination was to say no because we're supposed to be cutting out all the gashmius (materialism) in our lives and because our income isn't sufficient for all the money we spend each month. But. I mean - BUT. This evening was for him and I needed to give a little, so I told the saleswoman we wanted it. It made David happy and I don't do that as often as I should. The hard part was carrying it to the car! We were blocks away and the shtender was too large to take on a bus, so we walked. Personally, I enjoyed the walk and loved seeing some of the side streets of Geulah I'd never seen before. It was probably too far for David to have walked with his knee as painful as it was, but I think it was worth it for him to have gotten that shtender.

Tomorrow we both have dentist appointments; first time since we moved here. Then I guess I'm staying in Yerushalayim (I'll take my Tehillim and head to the kotel) because I have another doctor appointment in Givat Shaul at 3:15. At least I'll be walking and I need the exercise, although with my new bus pass I can get on any bus I want for as long or as short a ride as I want, and can switch buses without having to pay anything. I can't wait!

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