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!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Rock on. That was the theme of today, and rock on I did. I was up at 7 feeling remarkably refreshed after having had nearly 7 hours of sleep. I migrated between computer and household chores (laundry, laundry, still --two weeks without a washer makes it pile up!). I checked my watch, thinking it must be around 3 and found it was only 11:30. I worked on. By two I was starting to pat myself on the back. I managed to write 22 pages on an article and so it is close to being done. Ulpan was not a disaster even though I was feeling really tired by then. I answered questions in class and, maybe because I was tired, volunteered to discuss an aspect of the listening exercise we did when the teacher had a "Beuler, Beuler..." experience and got a kol ha'kavod for my efforts. Oooh la, that kindergartner feeling of getting a star on your forehead just never goes away does it?

Tomorrow will be a wasted day for me, as far as getting my own work done, but hopefully a good one for all the students I will be meeting with and, of course, teaching.

Writing all the verbs in the dictionary and separating them into the different binyamin they belong in (ok, I admit to being nuts) has seriously started to pay off for me. Because, unlike German which made total sense to me and I sucked up without even realizing I had picked up a word or phrase or grammar point just from listening to people talk, hebrew generally makes no sense at all in my little brain. I cannot apply the german model. But now I think I have discovered the system that will work for me. I had to create my own order for the language and now progress is finally starting to happen --at least on the verbal front.

Ok, so (to bore you all to tears) this is what I did. Over the past several months during times I was too tired to do anything else or trapped on a bus, I got out my dictionary and wrote out all the verbs and all of their meanings very sloppily into a "trash" notebook (e.g. one that had been used for other purposes but still had an unused 40 or so pages in it at the back). I started with aleph and continued on. Then, in the evenings right before bed for 15 or 20 minutes a night I proceeded to recopy all of the verbs into a little diary with pretty coloured pages, again alphabetically. But I also separated them out by first listing all the Kal verbs, then the piels, and then the piels with 4 root letters for each letter --in the infinitive. The hifils and the hitpaels got their own sections -- I actually haven't done the nifals yet.

Now, in class, when a verb I don't know pops up I grab the notebook and find it very quickly rather than using the dictionary. But I also have started reviewing the verbs from the notebook while on the bus, sitting for hours at the misrad hapanim etc. My verb-meaning recognition (when I see the word in a paragraph for instance) has increased 10 fold. I also amuse myself when bored and unable to do anything else by trying to list from memory all the verbs that have aleph as the first letter of the shoresh for instance (and aleph verbs have gotten the most attention) along with every possible meaning. I don't do this very often but the other day I had an otherwise twiddling my thumbs opportunity and was surprised to find that I generated correctly and with all possible meaninngs 42 of the 67 'aleph' verbs. I did respectably well on the bets, ok on the gimmels...but I died on the dalets (only 15 out of 72!). So now I know where I need to open the notebook when I do a quick read through (no memorization things just glancing over) --Dalets and kadima!

I'm going to do a notebook for nouns alphabetically and one for adjectives and adverbs. Then I'm going to figure out how to not get the infinitive to pop out of my mouth rather than the correctly conjugated version in the middle of my sentences :)


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