|Rav Kav Bus Card|
These few days following Purim have proven to be a test of both my will and my drive; drive to succeed both academically and linguistically as a new settler in a foreign country, and drive to live each day to the fullest of it's potential while still prioritizing and maintaining my health (a feat in itself to be quite honest).
A few days ago I made the decision to continue my Hebrew ulpan during the semester despite the fact that my academic classes don't convene until the later afternoon and ulpan begins at 8:30 in the morning. Now, the old, lazy, non Israeli me would have never sacrificed such precious sleep for an hour and a half of language instruction each day, but the new and improved, non lazy, Israeli me figured that to miss this kind of an opportunity to improve my skills in the language of my new country would be absurd and nothing short of foolish. I had one other motive in terms of my decision to take Hebrew as well, and to admit the motive means I have to admit something not so wonderful about my character and personality... I am probably one of the most gifted people in the world when it comes to being lazy, and I have a particular knack for the art of procrastination; not so wonderful but at least I am trying to combat these two highly developed skills of mine. I figured that taking Hebrew in the morning will force me to get my lazy butt out of bed, get to campus, improve my language skills, and, since I commute, I don't have the option of going back home where I would inevitably go back to sleep or watch TV. Having a 2-4 hour break each day will force me to go to the library, do research, get a head start on my papers, study my languages, run errands around campus, among other things so that by the time I do get home I will be done with my responsibilities and able to relax guilt free... or so that is the hope :-)
I started Hebrew yesterday and my method to combat laziness and procrastination has proven quite effective so far. Not only is it amazing to be back in an intensive language course, but I feel like I have accomplished so much in the two days that I have woken up at 7am as opposed to 1 or 2pm. Really my only regret is that I no longer have my amazing teacher Etty. The Hebrew office made a mistake when they told me she would continue to be my teacher and I was moved to a class almost two levels higher with another teacher. Anyways, yesterday, immediately following Hebrew, I rushed off to the library where I finalized the topic for my next paper (due in a month and a half), organized my homework lists for the semester, scheduled when I would venture out to take care of the remainder of my Aliyah obligations, did a reading, and still had time to get food and watch a show on youtube! TALENT! I slept very well last night to say the least.
Today was just as productive but in a very different and special way. On Tuesdays I don't have a break between Hebrew and my 4 hour class on Gender, Sexuality, and Age in the Middle East, but since I get out of class earlier in the afternoon I decided to run some very important and much needed errands. First of all I needed to get a letter stating that I am currently enrolled at Tel Aviv University to bring to the Israeli student authority so that I can get my tuition reimbursed (which is very, very important for a poor new immigrant). After getting that letter I needed a second letter so that I could purchase a Rav Kav card (pictured above) which is a bus card essential for any student commuting to campus. After receiving all of the necessary paperwork I was off to the Arlozorov Bus Station to purchase the before mentioned bus card. Now, since I am also blessed with being directionally challenged, finding exactly where I needed to go was quite the adventure, but I eventually managed to get to where I needed to be.
The next part of my story is probably what excited me the most about today, though, like the title of this blog suggests, it was a small sort of accomplishment. I went into the office where they sell the bus cards, told them that I was a student, showed them my paperwork, followed their instructions, paid, and received my card. Why is this so important you ask? I DIDN'T USE ONE WORD OF ENGLISH during this whole excursion and was spoken to ONLY IN HEBREW. The fact that I managed to acquire something, on my own, in Israel, entirely in Hebrew is still almost unbelievable to me. This is the first time I have ever forced myself to not take the easy route and say "can you speak to me in English", and what I found was that I have the tools to get plenty done in a language that is not my mother tongue. I was beginning to get discouraged because it is so hard for me to speak to people I know in Hebrew. If I have a relationship with someone I feel they are more critical and that doesn't foster a good practice environment. However, when I am stuck with people I don't know I really make an effort to use the language because, well, what have I got to lose. If I look like an idiot at least I'll never see them again. I'm starting to think I need to get my practice talking to complete strangers!
Anyways, the moral of the story is that everyday I'm feeling more and more independent, more and more comfortable being completely on my own, and I really fall more in love with Israel each day I am here (which I didn't think was possible). As much as I love my family, and miss them tremendously, having a few oceans between us is really allowing me to step out of my shell of laziness and dependence, thus allowing me to create this wonderful, exciting, magical life for myself. Each day here is more beautiful than the one before, always filled with endless possibilities, and I can only pray that God continues to bless my time here like he has been doing since I moved here last July. I feel profoundly blessed, immensely appreciative to all of those who have helped me get here, and ever so excited for what my future as an Israeli holds.
Until we meet again! Tisba7 3ala kheir ya habibs <3,