Wednesday - I played hooky from ulpan to continue the unpacking process. We took a break about 10:30 and dragged LISA to Kiryat Sefer with us so we could purchase more things. We were very successful - we got a crock pot, hot water pot for Shabbos, alarm clocks for me, Donny, and Ariella (mine and Donny's are a 24-hour clock - I've been subtracting 12 a LOT.) By Wednesday evening we had unpacked enough that we were able to eat dinner at home and not have to go out. Oh, I forgot to write about my cooking disaster, which I believe was on Tuesday. I decided to make baked ziti. But we had no sauce. So I made noodles, cut up some tomatoes, mixed the whole thing with cottage cheese and put shredded cheese on top. How bad can it be, right? Noodles, cheese, tomatoes - sounds fancy! Well, it tasted like feet. It was absolutely awful. We decided the shredded cheese was the culprit. Bad cheese! Not everything translates well here. In America: shredded cheese = good. In Israel: shredded cheese = feet. Remember that, kids. So we made eggs. I think on Wednesday we did noodles and cottage cheese, plus a jar of sauce that came in our lift. Can't go wrong with that. And the best part about Israeli cuisine - TAY (There's Always Yogurt.)
Thursday - We had our meeting with the aliyah coordinator for Modi'in, Cheri. We LOVE Cheri. First of all, this aliyah program that she runs is giving us more money! We LOVE money. Second, she was the most helpful person we've met whose name is not LISA. We were having trouble getting a doctor's appointment, which we needed to finish filling out our tofes yarok, and also because Donny was hacking and sneezing all over the place. She told us that there is a family doctor (as well as a pediatrician) located in Dimri, then got on the phone and made an appointment for Donny! Go Cheri! She also gave us the name and number of twin 14-year old girls who are potential babysitters. (Sarah Schloss, if you're reading this - come visit!!!) Then I was off to school and Donny did an in-depth analysis of the shopping at Supersol. He tasted cheeses, examined chicken and meat, and did all of those things which make him Donny but would drive the rest of us crazy. He then picked me up from ulpan. We used one of our suitcases from the machsan to help bring up the groceries. We also stocked up on bottled water and seltzer so we (read: I) won't have to schlep it in every time I go shopping. We did some more unpacking and machsan-trips in the evening so we would be ready for Shabbos.
Friday - Ariella had articulated to me that she wanted to get to school earlier. Sounds crazy, but there you go. By the time we were getting to school, at the late hour of 8:15, the kids were all involved in games and she had a hard time finding a place to fit in. She felt if she got there earlier, when it was quieter and calmer, it would be easier for her. She had actually been asking me all week to get to school earlier, but I kind of ignored her, thinking there was no way we could be out of the house before 7:30. But lo and behold, we all left the house at 7:20 as part of Operation: Help Ariella Not Be Miserable at Gan Because As It is She Doesn't Understand What The Heck is Going On, At Least Now She Can Pick Which Game To Do in The Morning. We dropped off Yaakov first, since this was an "on" Friday, but whoops - on Fridays his gan doesn't start until 8:00. Luckily Ofira loves Yaakov and she was very nice about letting us drop him off early this time. She gave him his daily ration of pita and chocolate spread and he was very happy. He sure loves that stuff! He had been having a hard time saying goodbye in the morning, but now that he has pita and chocolate to look forward to? No problem! Mommy who? Then we went to Gan Shoham and delivered Ariella - second one there! Whoo hoo! She had her pick of the stations! Then Donny and I decided to go out for breakfast to celebrate our existence. We went to the mall near our apartment and found a promising restaurant. We ordered their breakfast special and learned lots of new Hebrew words. Ayin (as in "eye") = sunny side up eggs. Ayin hafucha = over easy. Our successful breakfast was followed by a successful trip to the pharmacy to get Donny Israeli Mucinex (called Mucolit), a successful trip to the bank to get our - you guessed it - PINKAS! checkim - and a successful trip to the bakery to get unbelievably awesome challah and ruglach for Shabbos. Wow! This mall has everything!
Shilat - Shilat is this interchange between Modi'in and Chashmonaim. There are lots of stores there, including one with prepared Shabbos food. You go in, take tins and containers, load up, and pay. They have every kind of chicken, potato, vegetable, and rice you can imagine. It was pretty cool. We just got some soup, and we were really hoping to see one of those huge pots that they cook Yerushalmi kugel in, but oddly enough, there was no kugel at all to be found. We called Lisa, our guide to all things Israeli, who said that she has not actually seen kugel in Israel. We were about to pay for just our soup, but at the checkout counter, they had packaged kugels! Oh glory be! And there was one Yerushalmi kugel left! Whoopee! We left with our food and went back home. Now that the apartment was in basic working order, it was time to actually clean it. The grime on the floor was starting to get an attitude, and having parties with the dust bunnies way into the night. I think it actually smirked at me when I walked past. Anway, I got out my squeegee mop thingy and my "smart-toot" (that's the rag thingy you put on the mop thingy, at least I think it is) and I mopped away. Take THAT, grimy spot near the sink! And THAT, grimy spot in the bathrom, and THAT, grimy spot...well, you get the idea. I also scrubbed bathrooms, something I have not done since my days at 3750 Hudson Manor Terrace (that is a very long time ago, for those of you not up to date with our residential timeline.) That is not to say that we had dirty bathrooms for 6 years, but we had a cleaning lady which we inherited with our second apartment and who came with us to our house. Long story for a different blog...Yonahbyaccident, perhaps? So I cleaned, and made a cholent, and chicken - impressive, no? We were home for both meals, since Dimri is Hebrew for Unfriendly Apartment Buildings Where You Fend For Yourself, Loser. But some very kind and nice old-time Baltimoreans stopped by before Shabbos with cookies, so Dimri redeemed itself somewhat. Nafi came by in the afternoon to take back all the stuff they had given us, so our apartment was looking ever more livable.
SASSOONS!! This was the highlight of the afternoon. The Sassoons, our friends from Riverdale who made aliyah in August, were going to be in Chashmonaim for Shabbos. They actually reside in Maaleh Adumin, which is Hebrew for Centipedes and Desert People Who Explode When Left in 1 Million Degree Sunshine. (I don't know this for sure, it is just what I've heard.) Just so you know, the Sassoons are REAL Israelis. They are not afraid of large bugs, and they don't have a car - they actually walk and take busses. And Noam wears a big kipah. We are very impressed with and humbled by the Sassoons. So we drove over to Chashmonaim to hang out with them for a little bit. Ariella and Noam were reunited, and they expressed their excitement by staring at each other and running in opposite directions. After our all-too-brief visit, we stopped by the Balsams to deliver more of their stuff, then went back home for Shabbos.
Shabbos was very nice - we ate with the kids on Friday night, although Ariella balked at the Israeli grape juice. Oy. We have a long way to go with that one. We were in bed by 10. With this whole no Sunday thing, it is imperative to get a lot of sleep on Shabbos. Shabbos morning, Ariella woke up, and her face was covered in a red, blotchy rash which started to itch later in the morning. (FYI: prichah = rash. Nafuach = swollen. My new words of the day.) Luckily, Terem, the ER of Israel, is very close by. When Donny came back from shul, we ate lunch and I walked over to Terem with Ariella. Luckily the doctor said it was just an allergic reaction. When I asked if there was anything to do, he replied, "There is always something to do!" That is my kind of doctor! He gave us a prescription for a steroid cream and said to give her antihistamine. Thank God the whole ordeal was pretty quick - we were back home by 1:30. The most important thing is that the rash was not medabek - contagious. So many new words for Gila! We played Monopoly, then everyone took naps.
For discussion: I did not sign my name at Terem because I am dati. However, in not signing my name, I was causing the nice Jewish man behind the glass to write for me. Problematic? Discuss.
And for more discussion: What do you answer when your daughter says, "but right it is ok for the people in the doctor's office to sign on Shabbos because they are not Jewish?" Discuss.
After naps, we headed over to the "dati park" in Kaiser. I was told that of the 3 parks, one is "reserved" for chilonim on Shabbos, one is mixed, and one is dati. So we went to the dati park. It was NUTSO! Kids throwing sand everywhere (all the parks in Israel have sand because it's cheap.) Parents totally not watching what's going on. Boys peeing on nearby trees. I guess I should have been happy they at least aimed for the trees. We stayed for a while, then came back. The minute Shabbos was over, I put the kids in the bath, and they went to sleep right after havdalah. It's stressful getting everyone to bed on time on motzei Shabbos! But we had to be up at 6:30 as part of Operation: Help Ariella etc etc.
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