After being “on vacation” for a few days with no responsibility, real life began yesterday. I woke up ready to begin all my errands to register for health insurance, open a bank account, sign up for an Ulpan (Hebrew classes), etc. Anyone who has moved here has stories of the bureaucratic red-tape which range between an annoyance and a nightmare. Truthfully, it’s probably no worse here than anywhere but when it’s not YOUR government’s red-tape, it’s easier to blame. (I went to the New York DMV less than 2 weeks ago to renew my drivers license before it expired and lemme tell ya…it’s no picnic there.) Nevertheless, with these stories in mind, I began the morning optimistic and keeping in mind peoples’ advice to have a sense of humor. No less than 1.23 seconds after beginning, my sense of humor was tested. The first step is to go to the post office to have a form stamped which you then take to the kupat cholim (roughly translated as an HMO) of your choice to sign up for health insurance. When I got to the front of the line, I was told that first I had to go to the Bituach Leumi (National Insurance?) to get something else done first. “Are you sure?” “Yes.” Why did I feel like I was on Candid Immigrant Camera? When I arrived to the Bituach Leumi building to accomplish whatever it was I was supposed to be doing there, I was told that I was unable to… accomplish whatever it was I was supposed to be doing there…before I received my teudat zahut (national identity card) which I’m only getting today. I don’t think this is a result of red tape…someone from Nefesh B’Nefesh failed to tell us this. I have to believe there were a ton of olim (immigrants) running around yesterday trying to be productive only to find out that, surprise, they had another day of vacation. Oh well…it should all be finalized soon.
So I began working last night, meeting my new supervisor and co-worker, at the River Noodles Bar in Rishon L’Tzion, a suburb of Tel Aviv. We went over our job descriptions for Year Course and discussed the next couple of weeks. In moving from the NY office to the Israel side of things, it’s a complete switch from administration to education. Instead of promoting the product, I’m part of it, supervising the counselors, helping coordinate the educational goals, being responsible for the welfare of the kids, and of course, communicating with parents, in addition to other things. It should be very interesting. Staff orientation begins tomorrow and will continue for about the next week and a half so this blog’s honeymoon of daily entries appears over after a few days.
I haven’t figured out yet if these entries will have any kind of recurring theme or format, or will just be a way to keep my family and friends posted on what’s going on in my life. The most interesting things to write about thus far are about those moments when I say “Ahhhhhhhh!” after learning something interesting. Yesterday I was in a sunglasses store comparing different pairs of glasses. The woman working there said that some were more expensive than others because of their “hagana”, or as she translated, “defense”, which I took to mean UV protection. Only after leaving the store, I realized that this was the same word as the organization that defended Israel before 1948.