Saturday, November 22, 2008

DRIVING TEST and other sundry items

First of all, thank you to Donny for filling in the past 2 posts and keeping everyone updated as to my driving status. By the way, did you hear? I PASSED!!! WHOO-HOOOO!!! GO ME! I PASSED!!!!! YIPPEEEE!!!!! The truth was I was trying to be covert and evasive about my driving test. I didn't want anyone knowing I was about to take my second test for my fear of failure was overpowering. I especially didn't want Momz to know, knowing that she'd have nightmares all night and not be able to sleep, awaiting the results. However, my cover was blown when Donny posted on the blog Thursday night, after I went to sleep. So I would also like to personally thank everyone who added their prayers and good wishes and I think I can tell you that they definitely worked. (Also, the poll? Donny's doing as well. Have to be careful letting the husband near the blog.)

For those of you who want the play-by-play: Knowing that my two weeks of penance were over, I called my driving teacher on Thursday (this now being Week #3.) I had been waiting all week for him to call and reschedule the test, and he hadn't called yet. I didn't want to bother him, because he said he would call me, but I was starting to get antsy. As Donny so wisely said, "She who pays driving teacher 350 NIS in order to use his car for a ten-minute driving test, can call up said teacher without fear of recrimination." So I called him and he said, "Oh, has it been two weeks?" Not that anyone's counting, but YES! He said to come tomorrow, on Friday, at 10:00. Luckily he had an earlier slot at 9:00, which was good because traffic on Friday's can be crazier than Israeli banking fees, and I figured the earlier I got this test over with the better.

Anyway, Friday morning approached. (Cue scary music - Jaws, Elmo's World, whatever does it for you.) Both kids had gan (Yaakov has gan only on alternate Fridays), and then Donny and I drove around a little to get me in the "zone." I was very zoned when I dropped off Donny and drove to the testing site. It turned out I was going to be taking the test with two other people, a couple who were also new olim. I had heard about this from friends in ulpan - that you could take the test with other people in the car. I didn't know if this was good or bad. I figured it had to be good, because it was the opposite of my previous testing experience. That test was BAD; ergo, anything different had to be GOOD. In the end, I think it did work to my advantage. Basically, there were 3 of us in the car. The first person drove around for a few minutes, pulled over to the side, the next person got into the driver's seat, etc. One advantage of this method is that the test was shorter. Donny's test was closer to 20 minutes; mine was less than 15. I went last, which was also good - as much as I wanted to get it over with, going third gave me time to see what the instructor was like, what kinds of streets he was taking us on, and I mentally drove with whoever was driving to get even further into the "zone." At this point I was so far in the "zone" that they were going to have to tie lots of undershirts together and lower it down into the "zone" so I would be able to climb out. Anyway, it was finally my turn. Luckily, the traffic wasn't too bad and I was super super super careful. Stop signs, you can't stop me now! (In a manner of speaking.) I yielded, stopped, turned, went into the left lane, switched to the right, made sure everyone was buckled, looked both ways, ran over zero pedestrians. The tester only yelled at me once, and even I was pretty sure I couldn't be failed for it. (We were on the local highway, 443, and I had turned from the left lane so I was driving in the left lane, and forgot to switch to the right lane. He yelled, I apologized, we all felt better.) Finally, we drove back to the testing site. The instructor then apparated. Seriously. They're not allowed to tell you on the spot if you passed, because apparently once a tester told the guy he failed and the guy shot him. (Having had similar feelings myself, I can't say it's totally out of line to have instituted this rule.) Anyway, the tester says goodbye, swishes his cloak and disappears, then later in the day calls your driving teacher with the results, and then even later in the day you actually find out the results from your teacher.

So I got out of my car, checked with my instructor that I would hear the answer before Shabbos, and left. Then Donny took me out for a cautionary pre-celebratory breakfast. I was waiting for my phone to ring all morning. My teacher said he would call after 1:00, but when it was 1:10 and I hadn't heard from him yet, I called. Again, didn't want to bother him, but "She who pays driving teacher a total of 700 NIS in order to use his car for two ten-minute driving tests can call up said teacher without fear of recrimination." Anyway, I called. "Break out the 'champayn-ya' [champagne in Hebrew] - you passed!" said my teacher. Then Donny and the kids and I did a little dancing around the apartment and there was joy and light in all of Modi'in.

For those of you tuning back in now after that long digression, there is some other news other than that I PASSED MY DRIVING TEST. Seriously, though. I mean, I did most definitely PASS MY DRIVING TEST but other things have been happening in our lives as well. Not as exciting as me PASSING MY DRIVING TEST but still, we should discuss. First, the poll. I am pleased that so many people have responded to the poll thus far, and I believe there are still a few days left to participate. Don't worry, the answers are anonymous, so for those of you who want to click "yes" but are afraid I shall mock you in my next post, fear not. Complete and total honesty is all we ask for. However, if you would like to share some embarrassing stories, we'd like that too.

Meanwhile, we found a really nice shul and had a wonderful Shabbat lunch with a family of one of Ariella's friends from gan. The shul we went to has two advantages:

1. It is close by.

2. I PASSED MY DRIVING TEST. (Sorry about that.)

3. And the people are NICE!

Like, they came over to us, introduced themselves, schmoozed, etc. It's mostly Israeli, with a few Anglos, but everyone was so warm and welcoming. We met the rabbi - also strange, an Israeli shul with an actual rabbi - and lots of kids from Ariella's gan are there, so she was happy. Plus, there was a kiddush, and they served AWESOME Yerushalmi kugel, made from actual Yerushalmis. It was DELICIOUS. Almost as delicious as PASSING MY DRIVING TEST. Our hosts were davening at shul (this is the guy Donny met at the Planting Day), and after shul the thing to do is go to the Shabbos park. So we hung out for about 45 minutes, the kids had a blast, and then we headed over to our hosts for lunch. (Ariella told me we were going to "O-el's" house, and there were two O-el's and she wasn't sure which one this was. As it turns out, there are ZERO O-el's in her class. There is a Yoel (our host) and an Orel. But close enough.) The kids played nicely, and they had also invited Aiden's family for lunch. Everyone had a great time. The funniest part was when we were discussing the kind of bentching they do in gan, and Ilana (Aiden's mom) asked Aiden to sing the bentching, because it was different than what she was used to. So Ariella and Aiden got up, stood next to each other, and in perfect Israeli Hebrew sang their bentching songs. We were all cracking up at the two little sabras.

Today, Sunday, I had planned to skip ulpan because Substitute From Hell was going to be there. (Luckily I was in ulpan on Thursday when our teacher mentioned she was going to out and "Sylvia" would be there on Sunday.) Good timing, because of course Yaakov woke up sick. Hey, I can't complain - I had three completely healthy weeks, plus I PASSED MY DRIVING TEST, so really, I can't ask for anything more. We went to the doctor, got another diseased stick, and picked up some just-in-case-antibiotics. Ariella has had a bad cold for a few days, so I'm sure this is not the last time I'll see the inside of a doctor's office this week....

My newest Supersol quest: Now that they have baking soda a-plenty, I have focused my energies on garbge bags. In our lift, we randomly had a box of garbage bags, which have lasted until now. But, alas, they have gone the way of the garbage and now I need to buy more. In my experience here, garbage bags come in two sizes: Too Small and Too Big. They come in many colors. So far, we've tried black, green, light green and blue, with the results being too small, too big, too big, and too small. Next week: Stay tuned for ORANGE.

The Five Year Old Gets Homework: That's right folks, our little gan chova-nik comes home with weekly homework sheets. She's been bringing home these parsha sheets the past few weeks, but Donny and I figured they were just questions for discussion. In any case, whenever I would ask Ariella a question, it was clear she had no idea what was flying in the parsha. My sense is at this point she's picked up necessary phrases at gan (like "Bo" "Lechi" "Ani rotzah" and "kachah") but is not understanding any of the content being taught. So when it comes to parshah, she's as clueless as the fish in the sea during the mabul. We just politely send back the parshah sheets, as naked as the day they came home. This week, Ariella said that Morah Maya told her it's fine she hasn't been doing the sheets until now, but she really should start doing them at home. Homework time for the Roses! So on Friday, Ariella sat down with Donny. "What was the purpose of Migdal Bavel?" Blank stare. Donny explained the story to her, then worked on articulating the answer. Ariella being Ariella, she wanted to write the answer herself, in Hebrew. "Haym," Donny said, "Hay. Mem sofit." Oh boy. Check back with us Pesach time - we'll probably be on the third question. However, though it was slow going at first, after question number 2, Ariella conceded to doing dictation. We got through five of the seven questions when Ariella decided she had had just about enough of this. The questions were not so simple, and they mixed up pshat and drash in a way that made her father quite peeved.

Anyway, as you can see, our adventures continue, even though there will be no further driving adventures because I PASSED MY DRIVING TEST. (I swear that's the last one.)

Also, I would like to publicly acknowledge our Official Loyal Readers Club: Madam President Shira, Momz, Yael, Leezy "Bensky" and LISA. You, too, can become an Official Loyal Reader! Just click on the link on the side of the page! Free t-shirt to all who join! That's a total lie! But join anyway!


momz42854 said...

I have to say, this was a very satisfying post - full of adventure, humor, stories about my grandchildren, and my name is in there a couple of times as well. Thank you, Gila, and please don't make us wait SO MANY DAYS next time.

Leezy said...

congrats on passing the driving test!! now what would happen if one just continued using his/her american/australian driver's license after making aliyah?..

Yael said...

You are only legally able to drive on your foreign license for 3 months.

You'd have issues if you tried to get insurance, rent-a-car or anything car related if you kept driving on the American license.