Donny has safely returned from Turkey. We are glad to have him home. He had an excellent three days of living in a hotel, going to meetings and eating tuna from a can. Modern-day Turkey is not known as being a bastion of kosher food or other Jewishness. In fact, their slogan is, "There's nothing we love more than American Jews! Especially American Jews living in Israel!" He came back with presents for everyone: A motorcycle for Yaakov (more Ben Gurion-ish than Turkish) and a beautiful scarf for Ariella, which she brought to gan today and I am sure will quickly become snagged or torn or damaged in some way, because beautiful scarves are not meant to be dragged down the slide or buried in sand ("Maybe we can grow more scarves!"), and I am even more sure when such damage occurs there will be great heartache in the House of Rose. Next time, I told Donny, just get her a chocolate bar. As for me, I received a beautiful new router, so that Donny can continue to "fix" our Vonage. ("Can you [crackle crackle] [static static] now?")
Recycling: As many of you know, Israel is woefully behind on some sort of national recycling program. They do have large wire contraptions outside of apartment buildings and supermarkets where you can place empty water bottles. I'm not sure what is actually done with the water bottles. I think someone way high up in the government is saving them up to build a HUGE representation of the Taj Mahal. Or maybe Dimri Towers. In any case, that's about the only recycling that happens here...or so I thought. The other form of recycling takes place at gans all around the country, or at least in Ariella's gan here in Modi'in. (Remember, I frequently make sweeping generalizations based on my own personal experiences.) Ariella comes home with projects and pictures made out of recyclable materials. I don't think they are doing this in order to teach a unit on the environment, I think the schools are just strapped for cash and use every resource available. For example, a lovely rendering of all the numbers 0 - 100 (which Ariella actually did one day this week in gan - her teachers were very impressed, and Ariella asked me, "What does 'kol hakavod' mean?") will be done on the back of a memo. Other more involved projects are done using cereal boxes. We have started bringing in our empty cereal boxes, since we go through approximately 3 hijillion a week, to gan for use in their projects. I heartily applaud this movement. Why throw out the cereal box, when you can bring it to gan, use it for a project, ooh and aaah over said project, and then, three weeks later, throw it out? Might as well get as much use out of old notices and boxes as you can.
Weather: Last week (in case you forgot, it was the week of sick children and failed driving tests), it turned cold and rainy. I figured, ok, it's fall/winter now, and we switched all the children's clothes, a very exciting afternoon activity. This week, however, the weather returned to the low eighties. Can you believe that? So while you all are freezing and wearing sweaters and winter coats and tights (tights - ugh, although now that it's November it's allowed), we, occasionally, might wear a long-sleeve shirts instead of short-sleeved ones. And maybe we'll put a sweatshirt in our backpack, just in case. The truth is, it's been very windy, and in the morning and evening it gets chilly, but our whole perspective on "fall" and "winter" has changed. Ariella keeps asking me when the leaves are going to turn different colors and when it's going to finally be winter. The Israeli mentality has already turned to winter, though, and even during these warm days, all the kids are going to gan in long sleeves, pants, and sweatshirts.
Today I ditched ulpan. Bad, I know, but we had a substitute the past 2 days, and she just wasn't up to snuff. Plus, no one in ulpan wanted to do anything fun, like switch names or drop all our books at exactly 9:20. So what's the point of having a sub? I instead elected to stay home, clean, bathrooms, do laundry, and blog. I think it's been time well spent.
So some of you have been asking about our future plans. And I am not referring to whether or not we will be wearing a sweatshirt tomorrow. I am talking about where we are going to live. Since Donny is enjoying his job in Haifa, we are looking to make a move up north so we can be closer to the office. He does like the daily train ride (read: nap), but it is quite long and makes it harder for him to get stuff done. Please don't ask me what kind of "stuff" - it's been over eight years and I still haven't really figured it out, other than "go to meetings all day." Anyway, being near Haifa would hopefully be a good move, because then Donny can, in theory, come home for dinner on occasion and see his children more than once a week. So we are in the process of researching northern communities. This Shabbat, we travel to Kiryat Motzkin aka Kiryat Shmuel (not sure why it has two names - figuring that out is one of our goals this Shabbat.) Kiryat Motzkin aka Kiryat Shmuel is very close to Haifa, so much so that it in fact is IN Haifa. It is a dati community within the city of Haifa. We will report back on our findings at the beginning of next week.
If the apartment becomes dirty approximately five minutes after I've finished cleaning it, do you think it will become clean five minutes after I make it dirty?