Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Laundry and Hebrew (But not at the same time)

We now have clean clothes! It is very exciting. The electrician did his thing, and then I did mine, baby. The clothes were practically having fistfights (sleevefights? collarfights?) over who got to go in first. I did laundry pretty much all day, and now it is all clean. The washer and dryer are definitely one of the highlights of our aliyah - we've never had such good machines before. The children wore clean clothes to gan today. Yay!
This morning I had to go back to the bank because our ATM cards were not working. We were supposed to be able to activate them online, but were unsuccessful. I waited outside the bank until their doors opened and was only the third in line! They bank ladies tried to hide under their desks when they saw me come in, but to no avail - I found them, and in my mangled Hebrew tried to explain what happened. The nice lady activated my card for me, but said Donny had to come in to do his own. She swore that we should be able to do it on the internet. Similar to the time they promised us either account number would work. We're onto them now. Anyway, I think I have a working card. We'll see what happens when I try to take money out - such suspense!

This brings me to a discussion about the Hebrew language. Back in the US of A, I was considered a fairly intelligent, articulate, educated person. I was able to talk to my students, ("No, Kenny, we do not eat the toothpicks."), explain delicate situations to their parents ("Maybe your daughter is complaining that she's 'bored' because she knows you'll let her stay home every time she says it. I mean, are you BLIND, woman? Any doofus can see she's manipulating you! What kind of parents ARE you?" - sorry, that one's been bothering me for a while), and fluently converse with my administrators at work, ("We need a video for Friday."). Now, I come to Israel, and I sound, to put it mildly, like a blithering idiot. I did have many years of education in the Hebrew language, but it doesn't seem to have helped. Granted, many of those years were spent learning "Ivris," which is not the dialect spoken here, and other years were spent memorizing nivim in Mrs. Steinhart's class. (Funny how knowing "Tovim hashnayim min haechad" doesn't really help when you need to explain that your ATM card doesn't work, or that you have no hot water, or that yes, of course, you agree to pay the Breathing Fee at the bank.) But still, you'd think between 12 years of yeshiva education and a year and a half in Israel, I'd sound a little more intelligent. But it's all the conjugating! And the lack of vowels! And the he/she! And words that are similar but mean completely different things depending how you pronounce it! For instance, I'm pretty sure when I told Yaakov's ganenet that I was going to leave a blanket in gan for him, in his drawer, I ended up saying, "I'm going to stay in this drawer now, with Yaakov's blanket."
Oy vavoy. At least I know "pinkas."


yael said...

I still get a kick every time I hear one of those 'nivim.' It happens every once in a while. You will get so excited when you finally hear one!

I also get flashbacks when I hear the news on the radio, and they say "nasi Bush."

momz42854 said...

Just remember - three weeks ago you were standing in an empty apartment, slack-jawed, in utter shock, drool running down your chin, thinking, "how do I....How do I....how do I...."

Rachel said...

Ha! Kenny eating toothpicks. Those were the days...