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, December 30, 2005

This can be filed under random stuff :)

I have an office. This is both good and bad. The good thing is that I can bring tons of books (slowly) from my house to my new office; I can also meet with students without disturbing my colleague whom I was imposing on by sharing; It is big and nice :) The bad is that the pressure is mounting to come many times during the week --not easy to do when ulpan gets out at 1:00 (meaning if I manage to head straight for the train or bus I will get there around 4 and no one will be there when I arrive or, alternately, I can miss ulpan yet another day or days which will put me yet further behind on the old speaking and comprehending level).

I am going to a New Year's Eve party tomorrow and should be fun.

I spent 3 mind-numbing hours with my landlady tonight celebrating Shabbat and talking about her cat mainly and looking confused when she mixed hebrew with english with hungarian. I am actually really starting to worry about her; she is getting so old and in just the last month more and more unable to maintain a stream of thought.

I am sick of climbing the stairs. Did I mention that the elevator went out on the second day of the family visit and still isn't fixed, though there are two large bags of cement sitting outside my apartment (?) and a lot of noise was made yesterday and today with sounds of people working on something. Theoretically, they are fixing the elevator and the leak in the roof. Ummm hmmmm.

My apartment is less neat than it was before the family arrived, despite the fact that my Ema got down on her hands and knees and scrubbed my floor. It is cleaner but messy.

My bro is thinking of trying out living here for a year if he can get a one-year contract with a computer company. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!! I miss him and and my mother a lot. In fact, because this place is so family oriented, I miss them a lot more than I did when living in New York and other places even though I am seeing them more. Go figure.

It was an incredible feeling last night when I arrived at the train station and watched as three men lit the Menorah in front. Nowhere else does this happen. It was a "wow" I am really home feeling.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Short post to let folks know I haven't fallen down any stairs lately and a longer post to come over the weekend when I am not so knackered, as a friend of mine would say.

The family (sniff, sniff) went home yesterday and the apartment feels very big and empty (probably the only time an Israeli apartment will ever feel large). We tried up until the very last moment (even at the check-in) to change their tickets so that they could stay longer, like until Sunday or Monday but even friday or saturday would have done nicely. No luck, however, despite the fact that there were lots of open seats on the Tel Aviv-Newark leg of the flights. It was the Newark to Texas flight that tossed the spanner into the works and so they wouldn't let them change (well they would, but for 3,000 dollars and so um, no).

My new neighbor is tryng to arrange a shidduch for me. I do not lie. She is a few years older than my mother and, within 10 minutes of meeting me and finding me unmarried --oh the horror of it all -- started her matchmaking machinations. She has a friend who has a son, she tells me...So last night I am walking along Dizengoff carrying two bags of groceries to restock my cupboards and I get a call from an unknown number. Upon answering, an unknown woman tells me she is Sophie and a friend of Ella's who gave her my number and she is so excited to meet with me. I'm thinking, and who the heck is Ella for about 5 minutes into the conversation until it hit me...bam! What didn't hit me was that Sophie was the woman with the son Ella had mentioned in passing. Right about that time I found myself agreeing to meet her for tea next tuesday at 5 as I tried to juggle phone and groceries and figure out what the heck it was that I was agreeing to again. Two hours later Ella herself calls and says that "the boy" will be calling me and that she talked to the mother. I was like, hmm don't know about "the boy" but the mother already called and invited me to tea.

Ella then spent nearly half an hour apologizing and saying "oy, what is she doing, she wasn't supposed to call the boy was supposed to call, do you feel imposed on (uh well kinda yes but I politely replied, oh no, not at all), you don't have to go you know, will "the boy" even be there?" Ok, like I'm supposed to know. I didn't even realize this was the mother of "the boy" when I agreed to tea --"the boy" got mentioned only after I'd said sure I'd be happy to join you and Ella for tea. Then later, on the phone, Ella also informs me that she won't be able to attend the tea. Hmmm. Hmmmm. "The boy" hasn't called and so I can assume he feels just about as enthusiastic about all this as I do.

I missed the wedding of a pair of close friends tonight because I had to teach and when I tried to see about rescheduling the class was informed that this would so not be a good idea for my career, especially as we had a colloquiem and major meeting and it was also the birthday of the head of the department and there would be festivities and toasts and I should be there. So, ahem, much as I love my friends I love being able to eat even more. It was a hard choice to make though and one I am still unhappy about.

I was more than an hour and a half late getting home tonight because someone decided to suicide on the railroad tracks in Lod and, unfortunately, was successful. Since all the trains are somehow connected when something happens with one train then all the other trains in the country sit. And sit. I felt really bad for all the grousing we did about the delay, though, when I found out why we were delayed. Poor soul.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Visit going pretty well, I think. When they arrived on Tuesday night they were almost 2 hours delayed waiting for the luggage to come out --about 8 flights had landed one after another because of the bad weather and the baggage people got overwhelmed. Then when we got to my apartment building we had no electricity. It was kinda funny, because as we pulled up I noticed first that the little convenience store downstairs was dark and they had been doing a lot of reconstruction work on their inside starting that morning. The employees were standing outside and I'm generally very friendly with them. I talked to them for a minute as the bags were coming out of the trunk and was like, wow you don't have any electricity. A second later we dragged the bags to my apartment's entry door and I opened it and discovered ...uh neither do we. I immediately assumed (bad me) that the folks doing the reconstructing work had done something to kill the electricity in our building (the store and our apartments do a share). So then I went over and yelled at them ...hey, wait, when are you getting this fixed? How long is it going to take? Ahem. Then they pointed out that all down our side of the street there were no lights and it wasn't their fault. Groan. There was some major power outage originating from Rishon Letzion that hit pieces parts of the city. So my bro and I dragged all the bags up 5 flights of stairs in the pitch dark. Then we had to walk 5 blocks to find a cafe with some food for them. Luckily by the time we got back the lights were all lit.

My mother has been all compliments about my apartment and how it looks. Wheeeeee! And the great suggestion of pouring boiling water on the floor and then mopping it up (I don't have a door to squeegie it out of) made a major floor difference. Thank you!!!

I took them to the shuk on Wednesday and then on Thursday they were on their own as I had to work all day in Beer Sheva. My mom has come down with a bad cold, however, so our plans for yesterday had to be modified. Instead of making a trip out of the city with some friends of mine with stayed in and walked around Sheinkin street and then had a very late lunch (4ish!) and then my mom was so tired that she just went to sleep. Last night my bro and I went to see Savta Dotty for some amazing apple pie and even more amazing conversation with the people there --it was 2:30 in the morning before we all knew it.

My mother thinks Tel Aviv is the ugliest place on earth. Actually, she said "Israel" because she has only seen Tel Aviv. I keep telling her that Israel is beautiful and there are beautiful places to live but I haven't been able to get her to any of them because she is sick. Sigh. My brother, on the other hand, seems to be liking it.

We are off to a clandestine Christmas party tonight composed of lots of us olim who grew up celebrating Xmas in the States and other originating countries along with our Christian neighbors, and lots of non-Jewish spouses who are living here and missing Xmas. Should be good fun!

We actually have a pseudo Xmas tree in my apartment --one that will stay up all year. It is a palm tree that I bought right before the family arrived and I put these adorable lights on it that look like lemons, so it is a lemon palm :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

If anyone is wondering what I am doing blogging at this time of night (early morning) I'll save you the suspense--cleaning. They arrive tomorrow and I'm already thinking that, besides the joy of getting to see them, one of the side benefits is that my apartment is finally going to look more like a real person lives here and less like a (messy) college student. There are happy little plants, some of them in bloom (some, er don't ever) as artistically placed as this unartistic gal can get through-out the apartment. There is even one on the back of the toilet blooming away.

The kitchen has been cleaned and cleaned again, although the stains on the floor that bleach doesn't touch still make it look like it is dirty as all get-out. Well, after my mother shrieks and takes her own mop and scrubber to it (and she is likely to) she will see that them (really big massive) dirty-looking areas just don't budge. I have mopped the floors 5 times and still get dirt on my feets about 10 minutes after they dry. I will probably mop again one more time before they arrive because one cat or another is likely going to yak. They have suddenly gotten hairballs or else yakking is contagious. One yeeuched yesterday and two did today --or maybe one was just very prolific. I am also wondering if it is cruel and un-catame to shave them all bald. How traumatic would this be? I am being traumatized by the amount of loose hair they generate!

I still have a couple more loads of laundry to do (3 hours and the last one is still not dry!) and some straightening left. The rug is leaning against the wall outside the apartment and tomorrow _early_ I will take it down to the basement along with a chair of the landlady's (I think I've discovered that the problem with her is that she is getting seriously senile but more on that another time) that doesn't fit anywhere in the apartment and is precarious to sit on --it kind of sways when you sit down, er and while you are sitting if you breathe. I have a bit more filing to do. By the time the laundry is done it will be time to head for ulpan.

Ulpan today was very interesting. I haven't switched classes yet and I may not --we're almost getting private lessons. There were 5 people left, including me, today. She does much better with only a few people, both being more targeted in her questions and our discussions and also really trying (she is obviously terrified we are all going to go) to engage us. With only 5 people in the class I have to be a lot more active and have to talk a lot more. It was kind of kewl today (she was uber nice to me) because when I started struggling and then got embarrassed and was like, no just move on to someone else, she responded, "don't be afraid, I know you are just nervous --you write so beautifully and were talking to R (a very new girl) just fine when you came in from the break, I know you can do this." Wow. And then I actually did manage to struggle out a few mangled sentences. She praised me, however, for a lot of things during the day that I really did not deserve praise for.

Oh and the sonic booms were a nice diversion. We had them again today (not all that unusual but the air pressure or something made them a lot more intense)--again and again and again through the morning --and it really sounded like something extremely big blowing up just around the corner. Everyone kept looking at the windows and ha'morah kept saying, it is just the airplanes now pay attention. After a particularly loud one Anna, (the annoying beyond belief girl) who never speaks above a bare whisper said in what must be her version of a near-scream "are you sure we aren't being bombed? That was loud!" We all looked at her. No one had ever heard her speak in a normal tone of voice much less one raised at least an octave above it. It was very hard to keep a straight face.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The marathon is on. Bought tree and bought plant for bookcase. Lovely. But don't do enough to hide the mess. Elevator fixed (thank g-d --imagine carrying a tree the size of me up 5 flights of stairs, which I was expecting to try to do).

Need to: unstop the drain. Drano here we come. Clean the now totally disgusting with drain-schmang crud liberally smeared on them floors. Basic cleaning. Tons of laundry. Remove hideous rug of landlady from apartment. Clean fridge. Clean everything. Clean everything again (my mother is a clean fanatic; wish to avoid lectures and parental disappointment).

Need to harm landlady. Very much need to harm landlady. My electricity is set to be cut off on next Monday I'm told. She never did pay that electric bill for the 5 months prior to my moving in. I gave them all my info to go through, weeks ago, as soon as she paid so I could pay the bills from October 1 on. Called to check cos I wasn't getting any bills. She never paid. They won't let me pay anything until she pays. They are going to cut off my electricity unless she pays. She is not answering her phone. I'm going to her apartment in about 2 minutes and leave a note/scream/"pitch a fit" (as my brother would say) depending on if I can get my hands on her.

On bill lines, didn't know I had to pay a water bill. In NY water is included in rent. Not here. Ooops. Water hasn't been paid since I moved in. Water may or may not have been paid in the 5 months before I moved in. Water may be in danger of being turned off. This would be bad. Spent nearly an hour trying to understand what the heck I needed to press to talk to a live human being at 106 water for me. Could not figure it out. Mayday mayday.

oh yes, write a paper due on Tuesday.

We interrupt this broadcast to return you to your regularly scheduled panic session.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The family is arriving (tuesday) --what more can go wrong?

No, no, it is better not to even ask this question! So what has gone wrong so far? Well to start with, the weather. Yes, we are actually having usual winter weather, meaning it is raining and cold and supposed to get a lot colder. Of course, now. Now we get the winter after having glorious sunny, warm weather. It has to be now.

Then the rain today brought a flood into my apartment from under my front door. Seems there is some kind of trap-door thingy in the roof just outside my door that has a lot of holes in it and I felt kinda like Noah must have trying to keep the waters at bay. I was sitting on my couch and chanced to look up and toward the kitchen and was like, hmm why is water...holy cow, why is there a ton of water running into my kitchen!?

But I wasn't done with water problems, not by a long shot. I did some laundry and everything was fine. Then I decided to take a bath because I was freezing in my apartment and thought ahh a nice warm bath will do the trick. The bath was great. It was when I pulled the plug on the tub that I got to experience flood number 2. This time, sans clothes. Water literally shot the drain cover off the drain hole I didn't know I had in the bathroom and rapidly covered my bathroom floor. I quickly re-stoppered the tub but then stood there in a dripping quandry: just how much of the floor had been covered? Had the water, for instance, reached the "you can plug a millon appliances into me" electrical socket (only the washer and dryer are plugged into it) that sits on the floor behind said units? If so, if I step my little footsie on the floor am I going to be a crispy little cracker in about 2 seconds flat? Note to self: remove tennis shoes just outside tub from now on. After shivering there for a bit I decided that at least I'd be warmer if I was being electrocuted and I couldn't just stand there all night. Luckily it had not quite gotten that far but it was a close call. The floor is, 5 hours later, still sodden.

Now cold, again, I decided to flee my apartment for a warmer clime. Grabbing Harry Potter I headed to my corner cafe and had a nice warm coffee and, cozily warm, read and watched the rain until it stopped. Then I went and did a bit of grocery shopping and returned. Since I live on the top, 4th, floor, I went to the elevator rather than the stairs. Hmm, why is the glass in the outer door bulging out and shattered? Someone obviously tried to move a very large object unsuccessfully as far as the door was concerned. Not good, I'm thinking, if this isn't fixed it will so not make a good impression on my mother. Like so not. I hopped on in and the inner door shut and...we didn't go anywhere. Not only did we not go anywhere but the door wouldn't re-open. I pried, I banged, I pushed buttons. I pushed all the buttons. This would include the "emergency door open now" button. The door stayed shut. Finally, someone came in the building and, like a normal person came to the elevator and heard my banging and caterwauling. When they pulled on the shattered glass outer door, miraculously the inner door slid open and I was free --to climb 5 flights of stairs with two heavy bags of groceries!

Yep, preparations for the family are going well so far...oy!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lisa, one of my all-time favourite bloggers, of On the Face mentioned several days ago that she had a long talk with a Palestinian journalist and promised to post of their discussion. I am anxiously awaiting her post but in the meantime I was able to read the reaction to this talk by the "other side" and ...I just have no words. My heart is full and I think that I will have several sleepless nights as I re-examine my own views and feelings after reading this. I encourage everyone, regardless of political leanings to take a good read. I think we could all use a few sleepless nights. Thank you Sabbah.

Unfortunately, I do not thank you Umkahlil. Please remove my photo from your website. I do not allow and in no way authorize use of my image on any blog that advocates hate and intolerance. I'm not providing a link to your blog above because I don't link to blogs, of any faith, nationality or creed that advocate hatred, violence, or intolerance.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Oh the drama of it all.

For those who don't read hebrew or who can't translate the hideous stuff that I try to pass off as hebrew into real hebrew :) here is a quick summation of what has been happening at ulpan. Last week our teacher Ruti had a freak-out and screamed at the class because tons o' people aren't showing up regularly and tons o' people arrive late (and having arrived early once last week, go me and for once!, I realized that I am not the last one in the door tres late but that I actually get there kinda early compared...). She then cried and accused the class of not coming because they don't like her and of liking our other one-day-a-week teacher, Gila, better. This second part is true but not because Gila is a kewler person but because she actually teaches and makes things interesting and you really really want to come to class. We all like Ruti as a person but we like Gila as a teacher (and a really good one!).

We don't really talk in class anymore. When we first started out we were doing a lot of talking and, maybe because everything was new it was all interesting, but in the last month or so we've settled into a very predictable routine in the class with no things like news programs or movies or actual talking and discussion but rather worksheets and reading newspaper articles and occasional chats with each other but uncorrected and unstructured (so we end up using the words we know and not practicing the new words, and also on topics so general no one knows what to say to begin with-- and even these exercises not very often anymore). So, despite having talked (not me, other people and lots of them) to Ruti on 2 previous occasions about trying to liven things up and to be given more structure the crud hit the fan last week.

The day after Ruti's yelling/crying fit --and since this is the teacher that made me cry I have so little sympathy (ok well actually I do have a little after today) --the class confronted her. Well, half the class did. We spent something like an hour talking about what people are unhappy about and everyone is pretty unhappy about the same things. We tried to do it in a constructive manner, not attacking her, though I'm sure she felt attacked, with lots of assurances that we like her we just need more variation, more practice talking, more structure to our talking, more things like news programs or movies or radio or something other than just hearing each other being wrong in our pronunciation and in our phrasing and learning bad habits and something more than doing exactly the same thing day in and day out. She countered every argument with "but you are in kita bet now and not kita aleph, we do things differently at this level, you need to read, etc etc" Yes, we do need to read, of course, obviously, but as person after person pointed out we are still lacking in being able to communicate very basic things to people and need to learn those words and to actually speak! We didn;t point out that Gila gives us readings and similar assignments but makes them interesting and gives us a focus and when we talk it is productive and structured and she corrects and does other fun things. Anyway, it was obvious that nothing was going to change.

So the next day half the class (12 people) demanded to see the principal and made a formal complaint. The principal was unreceptive and wrote everyone's name down along with their statement of complaint. And then, as we suspected, gave those names to Ruti. Lovely, yes? So yesterday (I wasn't there, lucky me) Ruti was again upset because people "went behind her back and she knew exactly who it was." So today I arrived and...there were 7 people in the class. Seven. I was like, where is everyone....?? Answer: in Devorah's class which is now up to 30 plus people. The entire french contingent abandoned ship along with the Brits (and who says those two countries can't get along?) and a variety of miscellaneous other people. I sat next to Courtney and Halla and was like ohymg-d. And of course Anna was sitting on my other side continually whispering at me (for what page what are we doing what what what....)and it took all my strength not to just slap her (Kat if you are reading this commiserate!).

Oh the other bombshell is that Devorah's class is using the green gimmel book rather than our blue book that we aren't even halfway through and they are more than halfway through theirs. So er I can't even think about transfering to that class. Courtney is considering it. Maybe I should try the new bet class. The other girl I just can't stand went into that class but I can ignore her. I can definitely ignore her. Eeeuuuwwwwwwwww.

Kat, ya go away for a couple of weeks and you miss all the excitement. Not like getting married is anything special or anything.... :)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Not giving up my day job for one in the Mossad...

If I ever dreamed of being a secret agent (ok, I never did but if I did) I would definitely have to give that dream up in the face of stark reality: I suck when it comes to being clandestine. There simply is no other way to put it. For a brief period of time I felt kind of like a secret agent: I had an arranged meeting in another city that was to take place at a certain time and at the top of a set of certain stairs with mystery and intrigue (so ok, not so much mystery or intrigue but a little bit). It was quite exciting. I planned for it carefully...

And I missed the meeting. I was late. In fact, I was really really late. So late that the clandestine partner was no longer at the top of the certain set of stairs when I finally arrived there. Well, I guess even Mossad agents can't take into account acts of terrorism. Yes it was on Monday and, obviously, the real intelligence people had information that something was going to happen but no idea where because the security was the tightest I've ever encountered at the bus station. You know something is up when even the soldiers' backpacks are completely and thoroughly searched through and when they open every tiny zipper pocket including the one that will only hold a cell-phone on your own many-zippered pack --the same pack they usually just cursorily glance into the main compartment you've unzipped for them --something is definitely afoot and it ain't good. I was still in good time, despite the extra security and longer-than-usual wait at both ends of the station. What threw the real spanner in the works was not having my university ID yet. Sorry, entry to campus is barred. In fact, I was summarily removed from the bus and my teudat zehut and pleas of "I am going to miss an important meeting" were of no consquence. I had to go (find) the campus security building, located off-campus, to get a special permission pass to enter the campus and this, this is why I was so late. It took nearly an hour to get it, making me a half-hour late and no person in their right mind is going to stand around waiting at the top of the stairs for someone who is a half-hour late.

My second failing as a wanna-be agent was in my attempts to locate the office of the person and possibly have a meeting after all. No, I got totally lost in the maze and, after a really long time of looking, gave up and went home. It was when I was on the bus home that I learned there had been a bombing in Netanya but no details were yet available as I had only the other people around me on the bus as sources and all they knew was that there had been an attack and that it sounded bad.

The third and proof positive evidence that I should most definitely not give up my day-job (and that no secret service department would want to be within 100 miles of me) came a few minutes later when my phone rang and it was my mother. She never calls me in the morning. Never. Noon here = middle of the night there. I assumed one of two things: a) something horrible had happened at home or b) she heard that something horrible had happened here. Since something horrible had indeed happened here I assumed she had gotten online and read about it (most likely alerted by my brother) and was calling me in a panick. So I hastened to assure her that I was fine and no where close to the bombing. What bombing?! she asks, now totally panicked. You see, I didn't even have to be interrogated to spill the beans.

On the other hand, maybe the Mossad would want me after all because I can obviously endure some forms of extreme physical torture. Today for instance I survived having an exceedingly long and thick needle shoved into my abdomen and neither cried nor offered up any possibily incriminating evidence. Though I did whimper a bit. I was certainly not as stoic as my friend who also underwent the same torture --but she's a pro, this was her second time around. I got my bellybutton pierced! Yay, maybe. It hurt. A lot. It actually still hurts. Ow. Let me repeat that. OW.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I owe mail to a lot of people. Tons o' people. I have the promise of boiled peanuts being sent to me and this should be a high priority email --but does anyone know what will happen with customs if someone attempts to send such a thing as boiled peanuts through the mail? I am having visions of customs people looking at the description "boiled peanuts" and calling in the sappers! Also, I have not yet received any packages from the States. This is not to say that packages have not been sent. My mother and a friend have both sent care packages --er like a month ago --and I've not recieved... I looked at my tiny little mailboxlet today and thought to myself, maybe packages don't get left at apartments but at the post office. Then I thought to myself, what on earth would a postal notification telling me I had a package that needed to be picked up look like...and did I get one (er, two) and toss it because it looked like Greek?

I also have the promise of lunch/coffee with a kewl blogger in Beer Sheva and tons and tons o' work emails, but my gmail is not cooperating. It is taking an average of 15 minutes per email to load. So, family and friends, I will get to you as soon as I can get to your emails!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Short post though I have tons of things I want to say and will eventually and tons of things I want to say but can't or rather won't; One thing I've learned, ahem today, is that you can't so much as spit in this country but everyone knows about it *grin*. So blogging about something is even worse --yeah, right, just go ahead and tell the world and never mind just this country. Though at this point I'm not sure why I'm being circumspect. I spat, so to speak, and ...:) <---hmmm maybe that should be a :( The one thing I will say is that the next time I spit, I will spit much better.

My big huge major news is "yesh li kesef." Yesh li mishkarah! I have money, I have a salary -wooooooooo!!! And it wasn't anything to sneeze at neither. Now I am that much more real with a real salary and real money sitting in the bank so that I can pay (yuck) real taxes like a real Israeli. Most importantly, I can now buy real food and pay off my real overdraft. But don't worry, like a real Israeli I will soon have again a real overdraft, especially after the upcoming family visit --oy in just like 2 1/2 weeks!

Other news that I deemed important prior to getting my "you are so real" credentials in the form of money: the bus to Be'er Sheva is way faster than the train. I learned this the hard way after so congratulating myself on actually getting to the train station a good 10 minutes early and then learning that there is a train to Be'er Sheva every single hour out of the day, er well until like 9 at night when they stop running, but otherwise every single hour except for one. That one being one o'clock in the afternoon. And that one, of course, being the one I needed to take. Complete and total panick and freak-out at the ticket counter when the woman finally got this news across to my unbelieving little brain. Is there a bus? I asked, desperation permeating my voice. Well, I knew there was a bus but where to get the bus..."yes," she says helpfully, "but not here." Ok, where? Shruuuuggggg. Next.

I raced out of the train station and grabbed a cab and fairly shrieked for him to take me to the central bus station. I had a meeting that I couldn't miss (and it turned out to be an awesome meeting as well and we are going to run an extremely kewl study together --I haven't been so excited about running a study in years!). Got there, found out I buy my ticket on the bus, found out where the bus was, had time to grab some bamba and a sufganiah (or berliner, as JFK once claimed to be and, if I keep eating these things I too will be able to claim that Ich bin ein Berliner, or maybe more appropriately, ani sufganiah) and to be extra healthy added in my accustomed diet coke and I was traveling. The bus took only an hour and 15 minutes and dropped me _right_ at the university. I arrived at my meeting only 2 minutes late. Huzzah!