Step-by-Step: Making Aliyah to Israel

Documenting the very personal process of making Aliyah (immigration to Israel) by one very atypical Israeli-American girl. Aliyah on 17, August, 2005. Roadmap: What do you mean there's no roadmap?! Hang on, we're in for a bumpy ride! Ole!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Whew, am I glad yesterday is over! It started out as a semi-disaster and certainly not creating the first impression I wanted to make. After a sleepless night, not only worrying about the talk but also because it seemed every 5 minutes a police car screamed down the street with sirens blaring (living one block from the police station has distinct disadvantages), I got up at 7 and started getting ready. I checked the email again and confirmed that we were to start at noon, got some coffee and started practicing my talk again trying to create 2 versions --one easy for folks with no background at all in psychological theories and one that assumed they'd have a good idea of what I meant if I just referred to a theory etc so I could adapt easily depending on audience reaction. Just before 9 I started getting ready to go, planning to catch the 10:08 train. I noticed, however, that there was a message on my phone --I listened to it and nearly fell over: last night, probably when I was in the shower, someone from the university called to let me know that the departmental meeting had been moved to 11!

I flew out of the house, grabbed a cab, but to no avail --I could not make the 9:08 and knew that I would be a bit late. Ok, so I called to let them know I was going to be slightly late and to get the room number of the meeting. A bit late turned into much later when the train, for unknown reasons, sat for 20 minutes at Kiryat Gam and then, when I got to the building could not find the room for love nor money. The building has an incredibly confusing layout and I was feeling like a rat in a maze as I went round and round asking people eyfo eyfo --and nobody else seemed to know. Finally I hit on someone who led the way and in I walked now almost 40 minutes late. Lovely.

To my surprise, a colleague I have known (and we've worked together on papers) for 4 years was sitting there --it was the first time we've ever met in person! He is at another university but is teaching a class at BGU this fall. That was pretty neat. I sat next to him so he could translate for me what was being discussed (the meeting was entirely in hebrew) but I found that I only needed him to explain a few things --most particularly there were a couple of people whose hebrew I simply could not understand for love nor money and who spoke very rapidly and excitedly. It was a far more intense experience than being in ulpan and I had to use every ounce of concentration at every second for two straight hours. Then, after the departmental meeting I had a short break before I was to I gave my talk. I spent the time trying to find out how to get my ID, how to get my email address, how to get a website set up so I can put up the class readings they will need for next week (ain't gonna happen that soon I'm told so not sure what to do on that score yet!).

My talk went well I think. Students told me afterwards that they understood about 75% which is pretty good and I got some good questions from them :) Then there was another talk, this time in hebrew, and on a topic very related to my own research. I was straining for all I was worth to understand and got the jist of it (great research!) and now have a copy of the thesis that was presented to read with my lovely little dictionary. Then more meetings all in hebrew. When I finally headed toward home at 6 I felt like a dishrag, completely mentally exhausted. But rest was not for me because 2 of the students were taking the same train and so we talked the whole way back (in english thank g-d). When I got home around 8ish I was not only tired but starving having not eaten all day --I'd had to run around during the stuff-your-face break --and so grabbed some pita and hummus at the store and enhaled it upon entering my apartment. Literally. Enhaled. (I'm blaming katherine for my changed need to consume food on a regular basis!). Then I showered and collapsed to watch a movie (Sima the Witch, in hebrew but with subtitles) and then went to bed. What a day!

Today I'm off to Jerusalem for a departmental get-together. Actually, leaving in about 10 minutes. I think I'll need to find a hitchhiking post to make my way home because this puppy looks like it will go well beyond the "sorry its shabbat" time for the buses.

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