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, September 13, 2006

Ooo where are the New Year cards?

I am seriously looking forward to the New Year because this coming year (please g-d) has got to be better than the year that has passed for this country. From where I'm sitting, personally, though, this past year has been the best in my life (and the upcoming year is looking kinda, like, hectic and unfun but not to worry, the year after that will really be Krazed with a capital K for me. LOL, so much (blah) to look forward to! :) This past year was a banner year for me because I just completed by first year in this country. So as far as my personal life goes, this year will always be extremely special.

I'm under a huge mega and monstrous pressure at the moment from job(s) and job-related activities. I have a chapter for a book due in 2 days and I haven't even started it. Another is due, er also on the 15th and it is at least started. I sent off one article last week (go me) and one publication came out the other day after I'd nearly forgotten its existence (so old that it has the wrong academic affiliation on it!). Many other things (powerpoints, research-related websites, etc) that I will not bore you with or stress myself anymore by thinking about for the moment.

Tomorrow I have a wedding to attend and I am looking forward to it and not. I like the couple a ton, I love to see them, I am extremely happy they are getting married, I need to lock cats in a room and do a recip dinner for them ...but I have a lot on my plate and I'm not sure how much to make the check out for. I'm not sure how much my bank account can handle but I'm suspecting the gift should be for something like very many shekels (maybe more?) --help me out here folks!?

I attended my first new gimmel class at ulpan today and it went well --she--my fav teacher-- was talking and I was nodding and suddenly realized I was nodding because I clearly understood what she was saying and it wasn't in english (which she doesn't really know and so almost never uses) but it seemed so clear that I thought for a minute it must be in english. That was a cool moment. The whole class was not like that but it was the most understandable I've had to date. I met a really kewl woman from the Ukraine and talked with her a bit (she is better at speaking than me but has also been here 5 years and she isn't much better at speaking) and my friend Katarina who used to work at my fav cafe is also in my class (she speaks amazingly after being here for 8 years but can't read or write well). I also met with a private tutor earlier today to work on speaking but that did not go so well --she charged 80 sheks for the hour and talked to me mostly in english which really uhh defeats the purpose of paying her 80 sheks for talking in hebrew. Not to fear though, I have another private lesson lined up with Yael (70 shekels), and yet another one with Ayala (80 shekels) and will need to line up at least another 8-10 hours per week --yes my bank account, already to the limit of my overdraft is about to get a new and much deeper overdraft --but I think Allison is right and going the private tutor for speaking route is going to be way necessary and naturally, just a couple hours a week is not going to cut it. Especially not when I have to spend so many hours a day reading, writing and thinking in english.

I have 7 cats in the apartment but it seems like only 6 because Mitzi is spending so much time under the bed. She is coming out only for food and litter-box duties and that is not good. The other cats really intimidate her. Little new orange kitty, as yet and hopefully remaining without a name in my house, is also terrified of the other cats and tries to sit on me constantly. She is definitely a relative of Gingi (I think they must have had the same father, honestly) because her personality is so similar and also her habits --she has the same "I need to nurse on the tip of your finger" thing that he has and has not lost even though he is getting very big for such baby activities. I thought he was doing that because he was a "bottle baby" but seems to not be the case!

Somewhere the New Year cards are hiding in my apartment and must be written and sent. Where are they?!


At 1:39 AM, Anonymous Katherine said...

since its only you going to the wedding (or are you bringing a secret mystery man we don't know about?) you would give less than a couple. Adi and I usually give about 400, and 200 if it is just him attending. Since your overdraft is big and your revenue currently small, don't be going over board! I'm thinking 200. but maybe we are cheap skate! I dunno :) It did seem to be the norm for those who gave to us at our wedding party - bout 200 a person except for close family who seemed to go overboard.

I'm interested in the results of this little survey :)

At 4:40 AM, Anonymous Hannah said...

I agree, 200 shekels for 1 person seems about right. Going as a couple, it depends on how well u know the bride and groom, but I think u can start with 300 shekels and go up from there.

At 5:45 AM, Anonymous Tamara said...

How much US is 200 Shekels? And shouldn't you give in increments of chai (18), that was always a tradition with my mom and a nice one I think :)'re life is crazy busy. When do you have time for yourself? I hope you treat yourself now and again. You deserve it.

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous EmahS said...

is it completely Taboo to give a GIFT for a wedding in Israel? I'm thinking that you could get a nice platter or bowl set or something useful for less than 200..........

but on the other hand I think that cash may be of the norm here, so that may be your only option. If that's the case, then I think 200 is reasonable (approx. $45).

Have fun!

At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anatoly said...

It is taboo to give a gift instead of money.

200 NIS for someone who attends alone is about the acceptable minimum; give 300 if you can, 200 if you're tight.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger DatingMaster said...

It is taboo to give a gift instead of money.
insert your own jewish joke here

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Yael K said...

Emah --it is taboo to give a gift here (who knew?). The idea is to help the couple cover the generally pretty financially devastating cost of the wedding party and the expectation is that you at least give to them the amount of money it cost them to feed and host you at it plus a bit more --mostly to help cover the cost of those who, er don't give enough to cover cost of feeding and hosting them.

For us Americans the idea of handing someone a check though is one of those culture shock things! We are sooo not into the disclosure of how much we spent on something or how much we earn and these are topics even your cab driver will ask you about here!

Hmmmm sounds like somewhere between 2-300 is where I'm going to end up.

Tamara --never heard the increments of chai thing. Does sound nice!

At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yael, you're not alone in finding this difficult to figure out. Anyway, you'll probably be amused (though not surprised) to hear that there is a helpful website to help you with this very issue... hope the Hebrew won't be a problem.

At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been in other countries where guests give money to the bride, sometimes they pin it on her wedding gown in envelopes.

What, exactly, is an overdraft. Is it a line of credit at the bank? You know what an overdraft means here, bad news! But everybody seems to live off them there in Israel.

At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Bruco said...

Wow, kita ghimel!
kol hakavod, that's a great setp

At 10:48 PM, Blogger lisoosh said...

Money is way better than a gift anyway. If you are the couple you don't have to return it and risk offending someone and if you are the giver it is just so much easier than finding out what they would like (once you work out what how much you want to spend).
Ditto on the 2-300.


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