Sunday, September 28, 2008

Driving Around Modi'in - Not as easy as it sounds; And Elevators

Today I had my driving lesson. Let's call the teacher "Steve." He picked me up around 9:15 at the apartment. We are getting ever closer to that elusive goal, the Israeli driver's license. Steve and I drove around Modi'in for a while, and he told me at one point that had this been the test, I would have failed. Nothing like a prediction of doom to give a girl confidence! As all olim will tell you, it is frustrating to have to go through this process when most of us having been driving, mostly satisfactorily, for 10 - 20 years in the States. But this is what we must do. Anyway, Steve was actually a really nice guy, and of course, he knew people at SAR - "It's a small world after all..." We were schmoozing for most of the drive. The tricky thing here is traffic circles and one-way streets. You don't have to do any parking for the test (at least that's what I've been told), so for those of you who remember (Dadz) my atrocious parallel - or for that matter, any - parking skills, you'd think I'd feel some sense of relief. How bad can a driving test be, if you don't even have to park? First, you have to understand that in Maryland, the driving test is at a course. You don't need any real-life driving skills to pass. You just need to know how to signal, do a 3-point turn, stop, park, and stop again. That's it. So I've never really had a test experience under actual driving conditions. Steve told me some good tips to know about driving here. One classic mistake people make is when turning onto a one way street, you're supposed to make a "tight" turn into the left lane instead of a "wide" turn into the right lane. (This is also true in America, but there are fewer one-way streets.) However, once you are safely ensconced in the left lane, you should quickly signal to change to the right lane because you are not supposed to drive in the left lane unless you are turning. And then once you are in the right lane, you should do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around, that's what it's all about, hey. So there's a lot of practice with making turns from one-way to two-way and one-way to one-way and two-way to two-way and do-si-do, swing your partner round and round. At the end of the lesson, of course, Steve thought it would be in my best interest to have another few lessons. It's like the ice cream store people telling you that you'll actually save money by buying the larger size. It may be in your best interest, but it is definitely in their best interest. I think that I will have another lesson, though, since I panic easily and this might help. Although to listen to all the wrong things you're doing for 40 minutes straight is not exactly calming.
In the afternoon I attempted to get my Hep A vaccine. I was unsuccessful. Well, that's not entirely true. I did get the vaccine, just not in a way that will actually protect me against the disease. See, the way you get a vaccine, at least for adults, don't know about the kids yet, is that you go to the pharmacy. You get a vial of the vaccine. Then you go upstairs to the nurse and she injects you with it. So I was able to obtain the vial of the Hep A vaccine, but unless I can wave it in front of me, chanting, in order to ward off illness, it's not doing anyone much good right now. Although they did take it out of my hora'at keva, which I love. It is now resting comfortably in the fridge. I was given a number to call to make an appointment with the nurse, but when I called the number, it rang and rang and rang until it finally hung up on me, exhausted.

In our elevator there has been a notice asking people to pay the "vaad habayit" of 300 NIS in order to "receive the Shabbat elevator" (which has not seen the light of day yet), and clean the building before the chag. There has been an ongoing argument between anonymous elevator bloggers about the "payment" and the "cleaning." They are writing on the notice back and forth to each other. It goes something like this: "Nothing has been cleaned yet!" "That's because people haven't paid the money!" "Clean the building!" "Pay the money!" "Clean!" "Pay!" and so on and so forth. It's riveting! Especially since we don't have television, this is real entertainment! I often find myself going to the elevator numerous times a day to keep up. But here's the funniest part. This notice, and another one announcing the times of the Shabbat elevator, have been slowly eroding. Every time I go in the elevator, the paper is shorter and shorter. I realized that people must be ripping off pieces of paper to jot down notes, or take a phone number, or write a shopping list. This amuses me to no end. I just imagine the dude in the elevator, talking on his cell phone, needs to write down a phone number or directions, so he just rips off a piece of the notice - not caring he is interrupting the argument; now it just says, "Clean the bui-" - and jots down the necessary information. What a great use of resources! My only question is: How the heck is he able to get cell phone reception in the elevator??????

Lunch update: Today, Donny had 2 pieces of shnitzel, plus rice, and potatoes. I ate: yogurt, and then pickles to fend off starvation.

Kid update: Yaakov came home, all excited about the "dubi" that he made in gan - a little teddy bear designed to hold honey. It was so cute to see how he defaulted to the Hebrew word. Ariella wore "kachol v'lavan" to school in honor of her Rosh Hashanah party and also made some really nice projects for the chag.

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