Monday, July 2, 2012

One, first, 1

1st of July 2012…1st year in Israel. And what a year!

Left Romania on June 30th, landed in Israel on July 1st. New month, new life.
If last year I was putting down my thoughts before making the big step, time came to take into account how I feel now. Honestly, if this post was written last week, it would have probably be different. But here in Israel situation changes so quickly that I’m still trying to grasp it. For good and for bad. But then again, it’s all for the best. 100%.

So time has come to talk about what it was and what it will be. So many ups and downs, so many surprises, good and bads, so many “yeeys” and so many “bassa”. So much excitement, stress, anxiety, laughter, love, happiness, sadness, hope, dreams. All in all, life. As it should be. Just sunnier. One thing is for sure: I still think I took the best decision in a dark night when I said to myself: “u know what? The crazy idea of moving to Israel is not so crazy. Let’s go for it!” All the “what if”s that followed, all the “but maybe”, they still are there, and it’s ok. But I’m proud. Of taking the chance and still going with it. I’ve been asked so many times why did I make alyia. By people back in Romania, by Israelis here. Reasons are to be written in another post, but I know I did the right thing. I still miss Romania. I still miss home. The other home. Cause now, this is home. As I write, I don’t have one, it’s still a house waiting to become a home. Soon.

So, I’ve divided the things in 4 categories. Feel free to compare the two lists. As I said one year ago, “The order is based on my mind’s algorithm and is under no circumstances exhaustive.”
Let’s see:

Things I’m thankful for

  • The feeling of unity of the Israeli people around the release of Gilad Shalit – it brought such an almost palpable national pride and joy 
  • Friendliness of the sellers – it’s as if I’m buying from my cousins, uncles and aunts. Everybody is calling me metuka(sweety), neshama (soul) and ialdonet (little girl). I choose not to be disturbed by these but to enjoy it. 
  • Dragonu rosu – kind of shops in Florentin. The ones that sell almost “only” en-gross but they will make an exception every once in a while.
  • My sister- I have no idea how I’d have survived throughout this year without her. She’s my safety net whenever I fall. She’s my best friend and my closest relative here. She’s the one that gets phone calls at 3 am when I’m in pain and she’s the first I call to tell I got a job. She’s the one that laughs the most at my jokes (what can I do if they’re THAT good?). She’s the one that openly tells me I’m dumb (when I am…) but also that I’m too good for that guy (oh…music to my ears :)). She buys me cake and milk every Thursday and shampoo as if I’m the poor relative. I have no idea how we managed to go one year without having huge fights (or I know: cause I’m a great sister, that’s how!) and how come we get along so well. But we do. And this makes me happy. 
  • My brother in law and the car he gives me to drive from time to time, whenever I need it. And the fact that he asks me 10 times if I locked the doors. And the fact that the first moment I cry over something he tells me to come home to “lefanek” (spoil) me. 
  • The fact that the event of the week is Talia not using diapers no more (and how she announces it and everybody needs to go witness the “event”) 
  • Having the sea 20 min walk from home – the ongoing feeling of vacation when driving on the tayelet, as if I just landed yesterday in my regular Israeli vacation. 
  • My “bus buddy”. Then no more bus. 
  • The most multitasking drivers ever – give you change, drive, give directions, remember to tell you when to get off, all at the same time. And most of them speak English. Dare you to find this in Romania! 
  • Low beaurocracy sometimes- e.g Misrad Hapnim. 
  • Work at Soluto 
  • “Cine e?”(who is it, in Romanian) asked by Eytan, my 4 y o nephew whenever I knock on the door. And hearing Talia answer before I get to: “Dana, Dana, Dana” 
  • Talia calling my name whenever I’m not there and she’s crying. 
  • My parents’ support although they would want me back home 
  • Salsa in Tel Aviv and feeling perfectly ok to invite guys to dance and not getting rejected. Oh, and of course, almost always more boys than girls, so what can be better?
  • Feeling of safeness all over Israel although we move in a home where one of the rooms is a bomb shelter. 
  • Having dad update me on a weekly basis about events in the Romanian politics, although I’m not interested. But if it makes my dad happy, why not?
  • With its ups and downs, still being able to organize Machol Romania and appreciate after it was over what a good event that was and not wanting to admit I love being there although the before part is taking its toll on me and my sanity:) 
  • “My” bus driver. 
  • Friends back home keeping in touch
  • Owning and playing "Ticket to ride". By the way, long time since…so? 
  • "New Market" just off the old apartment. And how close it is to the new one. 
  • Rogalachim and not getting bored of them. 
  • Ambulant fruit seller in Givatayim. 
  • Tranzmate. A phone application sent from heaven. (tells you the exact time left until the next bus comes in any station- taking info from the buses’ own GPS). BLISS! 
  • Hot Israeli men. They have their flaws (what? They’re not perfect- I know, I was bummed too) but for sure some of them are hot. 
  • All the Ulpan friends- such a cool group. Quality people with same dreams/ideas/wishes as mine. Felt so good to meet them. Not in touch with most of them but always love to meet them here and there. 
  • Finding a job all by myself. From scratch. Even two. And going strong towards the third. 
  • Getting so surprisingly well along with religious girl-friends. Some great insights got from them. But no worries, I’m still not religious. 
  • “The best cover letter ever. It’s the one thing that got you the job” 
  • Teaching salsa in Ulpan. One of the best experiences ever. And the feeling of accomplishment on performing in front of all the ulpan and its teachers with 7 great persons (and now dancers) that never danced salsa before. (the show is up here)
  • Nice people. Wherever I meet them. 
  • Understanding that if he’s wearing a kippah, he’s probably too religious for me. ;) 
  • A certain wish/advice/blessing I got from one of the best teachers ever (from Vienna). I carry it with me and will let you know, Dr. Kigel, when it happens;) 
  • Patrick Bruel concert with my sister. I didn’t organize it but it was a dream come true. I felt like my childhood hero was singing for me only. We were the only two non native French speakers in the amphitheater but to sing along him his best songs…and then to be pushed by my sister to get his autograph…even now I have the biggest smile on my face. 
 Things I still need to get used to

  • Being fast enough as to stop the shawarma guys not to put thina or hummus on my shawarma 
  • Israeli guys (and that says it all) 
  • Everybody wanting to be a matchmaker – “I know someone you should meet” 
  • Being a grownup and paying bills 
  • Fast pace of change of a situation 
  • Not all Israelis being good guys and even more, 
  • Succeeding at making the difference 
  • Remembering to lock some doors (not at my own apartment, that I know:P) 
  • Being the youngest one (by far) in Israeli dancing sessions. And not caring. And not caring there are so many couple dances. Too many. 
  • Reading the offers in Hebrew and buying and using vouchers 
  • Apartment search. (although I hope not to do this too soon) 
  • Not waking up before the alarm clock because of worries of not hearing the alarm 
  • Pickup bars. Or maybe they’re just not my thing. Yeah, I guess the later one. 
  • Being more hutzpanit. And not taking things personal. Aaarrgghh… 
  • Not being so naïve. 
  • Bad customer service. E.g Cellcom…yuck! 
 Things I miss from home 

  • Celebrating big events with friends live not through the phone 
  • Raspberries, cherries and tomatoes. All Romanian. Fresh. With taste 
  • My cosmetician 
  • Rollerblading in the night (although I now have my rollerblades here so, who’s ready?) 
  • Maria’s food and spoiling- this is a biggie. I dream of having her here. 
  • The Romanian cheese. Anybody coming from Romania any day now?:) 
  • Talia restaurant with friends 
  • Hora dancing with Hora group. Performing, rehearsing, fighting, laughing, dancing. Anything-ing.
  • Not worrying about housing. Nothing. Never. And still having a place of my own 
  • Orange movie (or not paying 8 euros for a movie) 
  • Knowing where to buy anything from, where are the best deals, and who to ask for info. 
  • Auchan 
  • Cuddling with my parents. And asking my dad if he loves me and getting ALWAYS the almost instant answer “No” but smiling cause we both know the truth. Oh, wait, we still do that. 
 I’m looking forward to  

  • 3/3 ALL AT ONCE. Do you hear me? All at once. 
  • Using the chance of being so close to the shuk more 
  • The prince on a white horse. Or any color. Or forget the horse. See? I’m not THAT picky 
  • Celebrating Yom Haatzmaut in Israel 
  • Finding an oldies club in Tel Aviv. Or anywhere 
  • Welcoming my parents in my new home. 
  • Using more Hebrew. And getting to understand more. And reading better. And writing (neah, this won’t come this year) 
  • Welcoming friends on our couch 
  • Parties by the swimming pool. Late night swimming. Any time swimming. 
  • Seeing what's behind Exhibit A
  • Living in (another) great apartment and affording it. 
  • Not being the whitest Israeli ever - aka getting some tan – not really gonna happen, I know. So… 
  • …Not being told I’m the whitest Israeli ever every now and then 
  • Adopting a bit the Israeli mentality. Just a bit. But keeping the “cultura” 
  • Being able to read subtitles in Hebrew- I have a feeling this will be on my to do list for another 3 years or so 
  • Going more often to synagogue. I sometimes miss the holiday spirit although the holiday is everywhere. Or maybe because of that. 
  • An amazing job that will give me fulfillment 
  • Reenacting the Taglit reunions. I made a pledge to keep these and haven’t. But will get back on track.
  • Getting along great with Amir and David, my future flat mates. They are great guys so it should be all good. 
  • The (much) better versions of Ionica, Gica and their buddies 
  • Dancing on the beach 
  • Writing a post like this every year until I celebrate 50 years in Israel. And then a bit more.  
  • All in all, continuing to make it big, in Israel!
  I’m happy that the longest lists are the first and the last one. Simple confirmation that I’m on the right track. Az…lechaim! To life!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

אני ישראלית. I am Israeli

And one month passed…one of the many to come.
I’ve been having a really hard time keeping up with writing here as most of you noticed and also a lot of you complained. But this is something good in a way. It means my life is very full. And it really is. And I totally enjoy it. A lot of new things in my life (a post will be only about that), and new very nice and good people. I have a feeling that I have so many in common with the people from the ulpan. Young (most of them younger than me, oh well) but all feeling that this is the place for them. Most of them coming from countries where they left something behind and where life might have been easier if they stayed. But they chose not to. They chose to make it big in Israel. And they have all the prerequisites to accomplish it. I met smart people, funny people, beautiful people, arrogant people, people with a high self esteem and people that want to volunteer in the army even if they don’t have to. People that have considered this as their home before landing here. Amazing!
There are so many things to tell that I don’t know how to begin.
Let’s talk about life in the Merkaz Klita and the ulpan classes: First, I’ve been promotedJ. We had another exam in the first day of classes and I was sent in Bet 2. There are: Aleph 1, 1+, 2,3,4, Bet 1, 2, Ghimel and Dalet. About my class: I have some nice classmates that I enjoy talking to and enjoy making jokes with (even in Hebrew, imagine that). I honestly wasn’t really expecting the level to be so intense. I do keep up with the teacher but after 4 hours of studying I’m exhausted and feel all my energy has been taken away (what if our teacher is a Dementor? Neah, I doubt it:P). But I have to admit that the teaching feels a bit disorganized. We do all kind of things in a day from reading the newspaper to grammar, to reading stories about lemmings committing suicide (I’m telling you, this story will haunt me for the rest of my ulpan together with the question as to why in our SECOND day of classes we had to learn words like lemmings, to whelp, cubs, committing suicide, jumping off the cliffs, all in hebrew), to listening to the news (the real news of Israel, with the buildings crises (masber metzukat hadiur) and the doctors strike (shvita) ), from making competitions among ourselves about the new vocabulary learned during the week, to going to the computer lab to do online tests or to the “listening room” to hear Hebrew spoken or to having an open debate in class on the hot topic of buses on Shabat in Jerusalem (this should deserve a separate post. Those of you who know me should be able to imagine what side I was on:P). So yeah, pretty intense it is. And it’s good that it is. Although a bit more organized wouldn’t hurt.
About the Merkaz Klita itself: I like it. Almost everything but my bed. It’s an army (more like a prison) bed and it’s sooo hard that I got myself two bruises from only sleeping on it. But besides this, most of the things are nice. We have a club where each week there is a movie screening. There’s a ping pong table (guess who among the girls you know that live now in Merkaz Klita and are amazingly beautiful smart and cute beat three cocky guys in ping pong? Me, me, pick meeee!!!:)) To respect the truth, I lost once too, but who are we to count it allJ) My room that I’m sharing with a girl from New Zeeland is spacious (maybe because I didn’t get to unpack YETJ) we have our own bathroom and little kitchen. Our neighbors are from Spain and Venezuela, and looove loud Spanish music J But they’re cool guys.
There are always extra curricular programs like trips to the surroundings or baking challa or jewish talks with Rabbi Sterne so there is always what to do. Oh, and anyway there are lessons to be done. Daily. From one day to the other. Geez, it feels like 4th grade all over again. But it’s pretty exciting to see everybody’s studying. Together, everywhere, in the garden, on the halls, on the floor, under the chairs and wherever you find a free place to sit. Uf, and there were so many funny things I wanted to remember to tell you and because I don’t get down to writing often enough if forget them. If it’s for any of you reliefs, I’m always thinking “Oh, I should mention this in my blog”.
Now, how was my program so far? Both weekends I left on Thursday after classes to Tel Aviv, went to salsa parties and/or Israeli dance sessions, met friends, stayed with Iulia and Rina, went to the beach, was impressed at the beach by the…scenery (unbelievable what Tel Aviv has to offerJ))..wink wink), and came to Ra’anana to spend some time with my beloved Eytan, Taliah and Sorana. I am the Juif Errant, The Wandering Jew, Evreul Ratacitor, always carrying a backpack and not really having a home of my own. But having an unbelievable great time doing it. But a lot of fun was in the weekdays too. A big group from Ulpan Etzion went to the Balabasta festival in Machane Yehuda Shuk last week. Great experience. All the shuk open, packed with people (really packed!), live instrumental and singing performances at each corner, all kind of art display on the street, on the roofs (!!) behind the counters, salsa dancing (of course) on the street. The fact that people I used to know and haven’t seen in a while bumped into me and that I got to meet some new fun people (that live in the dorms) made this Balabasta festival even more appreciated (not to say about the group getting lost and having to find eachother a couple of times…oh, the beauties of being a large group).
Ufff..and there are still a lot to say. But I really need to close this post as tomorrow starts the most hectic week since I’ve been here. This week I’ll be more time in buses than off them. I thought about the possibility of working as a part time ticket controller if I’m anyway so much time aboardJ. It looks like: Raanana-Natania-Raanana-Tel Aviv-Jerusalem-Tel Aviv-Jerusalem-Raanana-Jerusalem-Tel Aviv-Jerusalem all in a week.
So last thing: Two days ago I FINALLY got my Teudat Zehut – The Israeli ID. I’m an official Israeli citizen with full rights. In fact not me, cause they misspelled my name. Oh well, what can one really expect from the Ministry of Interior? I am so disappointed of them. Over and over again…So a bit more running around to do but I’m happy. I finally got a nice ceremony where those of us who didn’t have an Israeli ID received it in the Ulpan, from the director who shook our hands and gave a pretty emotional speech about how important this ID is for our new identity in Israel and what it stands for. Of course, as usual I got all goose skin and could only think about the responsibilities that come with this ID. I feel more important, I feel like I owe something to the country already, and as much as I felt I belong here, now I feel even more that I’m here to stay.
So, I didn’t get to talk about anything I promised to in the last post, and even more I have to publish some pictures and to tell you how Rina and me got thrown out of the taxi at 2 am in the weirdest area of Tel Aviv possible, or how I crazily danced on house/dance music till 2 am as nothing out of the dance floor counted and then walked in the center of Jerusalem breathing in and out and telling myself: “This is my city now”. Also, I’ve been asked about my decision to make Alyia, how did I get t it and what led me to making alyia. I will develop this subject in the next posts too so stay tunedJ
Lastly, I had the song “Israelit” by Ilanit in my head all that time during the ceremony of the IDs. And then, funny enough, in the exact same day, going to dance Rikudei’am In Tel Aviv University among other 800-900 people, they played this song. It gave me shivers. I filmed it. Will upload it here. Meanwhile, here are the lyrics, really beautiful (If you don't understand it, please read the English translation) and the song.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Conclusion? It looks like a good start!

And then you might ask, why should you read all this post if the conclusion is already in the title? because so many things happened, so many places, so many new people, some "old" ones that matter...
I don't think honestly that i will make too much sense right now but I decided I must take a few minutes to put down my thoughts or else i'll totally forget them.
The first day of being in the Ulpan Etzion Beit Canada finished. It was a full day. But a nice one. And everythings looks promising . And i feel that living in the Vienna LBS campus was a good "foreplay" :) for what is here.
At a point i'll also make a list of comparisions between them cause it's worth it.
So, after i've been picked up yesterday night like a princess from Tahana Merkazit (the Central Bus Station) in Jerusalem by my dear dear friend Tomi and brought to the door in one piece, i got to meet my new baby: The pink laptop from US. I'm very fond of it. Just to let you know. And i know that we'll get along just great and that I won't try to feed him anything: this pinky guy won't get no milk, no shoko and no tea. Learned my lesson. the hard way.
This morning, 8:30 in the ceremony hall: opening. Speeches from the Menahel ha Merkaz (Chief of Merkaz), Menahelet ha Ulpan (Chairwoman of Ulpan) and introducing the staff. Each country's name was shouted to see who comes from where. Guess what? of course i'm the only one from Romania:) We got into groups and played little silly funny ice-breaking games. In my English speaking group (Russians and French had their own groups - yesh:P) we were about 20 people. 80% Americans, 10% Turkish, a girl from London and myself. not much to say about this here, just that the teachers really tried their best to get us involved.
Lunch: Yummy lunch (VERY yummy compared to LBS). After lunch buses departed to Mount Herzl where we had a tour. We've been told that, as everything about the State of Israel began with Herzl's dream, this is the place we need to be in our first day of Alyia. And i really think it was a good idea. There is a new Herzl Museum (opened 6 years ago) which i really enjoyed. And here comes the "less facts, more feeling" part of my post. I was totally impressed of the museum. Surprisingly so. It's an audio-visual one. It's really hard to explain. What is for sure is that i think the idea of it, is really good and they made of what could have been a rather boring museum one that gets you into the actual story of Herzl. And at the end, i even got a bit teary as it shows what Herzl's dream was and what the reality of Israel nowadays is. Which is not very close to the idealism of Herzl but still it made me soooo proud to be here. Once again you could see how Israelis have achieved sooo much out of nothing. And it made me feel this is definitely the place where I belong. Where I can "play my part". Where i want to play my part and where it will be appreciated. I know, i know, I'll hear voices telling me "Wait until you get your first job" "Stop being idealist". I'm not. I'm as realistic as i can be. But i know that, if there is a place where i can feel i'm both giving to the country and the country gives you back, this is Israel.
By the way, there was a whole discussion in my group about what Israel is for us. And from one to another, people said that here they don't have to feel that Jewish is the only thing they are, cause here they're more than that and not a minority anymore. Well, i'm having mixed feelings about this. Because i have my worries that here i won't be feeling as Jewish as i did back in Bucharest. I don't have my segregation:) And i'm afraid not to take Judaism for granted here as all the Israelis do. This is a note to self.

Back to Mount Herzl, once again, I highly recommend the museum to anybody!

I was very pleased to find that the weather is even better than i thought. I know that if there's a place in Israel that can be bearable without mazgan (air conditioning), that's Israel. And it really is so. Much lower humidity and it even gets chilly in the evenings. Jerusalem, what are you doing to me? You try your best to make me like you? Keep it this way and we're on the right path:)

Horrible news came out that about 15 minutes after we left huge firest bursted in the forests next to Mount Herzl and the museum of Yad Vashem was evacuated. At the time of me writing this it seems fires were under control but that also fireman consider the fires to have been started by arson (on purpose). horrible.

Back to the campus, dinner - weird weird weird one, some kind of gummy textured pancake, not sweet, not salty, not nothing. lucky me and cottage are in a relationship and there were salads to color my dinner too. Oh, and i already met a bunch of really interesting people that i get to hang out with. But more about them in other posts. Oh, and as usual, most of the Americans (and not only) find it "wow" the fact that i come from Romania. I think it's funny. It sounds so exotic to them. And they're surprised i speak english. And say i have an israeli accent. That's bad, isn't it?:P

And then there was the party. Again a few speeches, some live music and dancing. I danced some, not a lot of people stayed though but we had fun.

I know for sure there was a lot of other stuff i wanted to tell you and in a less fugitive way but i'm a bit sick, and need to catch as much sleep as possible.
I still have a lot to tell you about the karmiel festival and how i slept with 15 Turks at once, on the floor (;P:))) ), about salsa in Tel Aviv, about beach with Iulia and Rina and of course about Eytanush and Taliushkush who are sweeter and sweeter.

Tomorrow: first day of classes. 8:30 again. This hour will hunt me for the next 5 months. Oh, and i got a very interesting full time job offer that i had to decline because of the ulpan. So i'd better study well:)

So, the next post will be about all of the above and about how i think the Israeli drivers are the definition of multitasking, about how in some fields i really wished things were different, and about how frustrated that is, and about how there's something in the air of Tel Aviv that...:)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Shalom lachem! Israeli citizen Dana salutes you!

So finally I get to sit down in a less uncomfortable position than usual and write this post. It’s been exactly a week (I should wait 30 min and then it would be sharp sharp but by the time I will finish this post it will be) since I’m Israeli. How does it feel? It doesn’t. Not yet. I’m at my sis’s place, enjoying my time with the already famous nephews. As my brother in law said: “you will feel Israeli citizen once you start paying”. And I can’t say I really look forward to thatJ

Anyway, last Friday I wrote a huuuge long nice post which I lost the moment I wanted to save. Won’t get into the details of me not looking on what keys I press. Let’s conclude it’s the computer’s fault.

So, how were the flight and the arrival on Holy Land? The flight was really ok, besides the fact that it was delayed with more than 1 h at departure. Lucky me, I had a bunch of great guys coming to make sure I leave and don’t come back too soon. They really made my day and all this experience sooo much more and I thank them once again. I won’t start saying how, once again, as always, I had overweight. Was allowed 60 kilos (yeap, 60, because of alyia) and had…73!!! And these were only clothes, and only summer clothes. No pillows, blankets, sheets and anything that I can “borrow for an unlimited period” from my dear sister. As always, I found my way around not paying the overweight. And the fact that I knew almost all the ElAl security staff made it also easy and pleasant the going through the disposal of my luggage. Saying bye was of course pretty emotional and I tried to hold strong. Talking a lot, smiling, making stupid jokes and leaving fast helped. (note to the ones still on their way here)J. Girls started to sing Leshana Haba’a beIerushalaim and I’m still waiting for them to fulfill their promise, maybe better this year than the next one. Ok?

The flight was ok, I slept through it and only woke up to eat. I was expecting champagne, red carpet and maybe caviar, to have them celebrate with me. But probably the champagne was not cold enough, the carpet dirty and the fish didn’t lay enough eggs ;) and they didn’t want to serve me something not perfect. I understood that.

Arriving on the airport, I found out that an old friend from the Jewish Choir came to wait for me. Bare in mind, it was already about 1 am. When my sister asked if I want her to wait for me, I decided that it’s pointless to be waited at that hour and that the taxi will deliver me and my (many) suitcases at home in no time. So I was surprised to hear he was there. When I asked him why he came, he said “Because I don’t work tomorrow”. Um…ok. Again, really nice of him to have come.

In the airport I approached someone at the Misrad Hapnim office and told him: Shalom, rak igati achshav mi Bucharest. Aliti la aretz. Ata iechol leazbir li bevacasa ma ani tzricha laasot? (Shalom, i just arrived now from Bucharest, i made alyia. Can you explain me please what do I have to do?). He immediately raised up from his desk, came out and explained me (all in hebrew) the procedure: first passport control, than call from this phone and someone will pick you up. And the nicest thing, he ended the explanation with: “Brucha habaa ve behatzlacha” (Welcome and good luck). I really had goose skin then. Anyway, a nice middle age guy, holding a hand written paper with my name came to look for me and seemed a bit confused. I approached him in Hebrew and till the end he talked to me only in Hebrew although he told me he knows some Romanian, learned from working in this job. Maybe because of him talking to me only in Hebrew I don’t really know what I have to do now beaurocratically speakingJ He took me in his office where he offered me tea, coffee, water, juice and rogalah. Although I really love rogalach, it was already about 2 am and the best thing I wanted was me in bed. But nice enough we finished the procedure very fast, got my teudat ole (the temporary ID) and the rest of the papers, explained me that i need to open the heshbon bank (bank account) in Jerusalem and then he even helped me with the luggage and called for a (free) taxi. 30 minutes later, home I was, as an Israeli citizen.

In the morning, the nicest wake-up call arrived, with Eytan hakatan (hu ben 3 – he’s three years old) coming to “make me booo” to shout to scare me.

Ok, I need to fast forward a bit the week, pretty much all the time with the kids (when they’re not at the “gan”-kindergarden), enjoying my time greatly, both of them are very very cute and very very smart. Eytan is an amazing good loving kid that understands perfectly both Romanian and Hebrew (perfectly!) and speaks great Hebrew. He switches to Romanian only when asked to. And Taliah, she’s the cutest hamudonet around who only yesterday started walking, all by herself! Since then, she didn’t stopJ she does tours around the house and she claps for herself. On the other hand, Eytan is mostly proud for him not having to use diapers no more. He makes sure that we all know and witness the moments when he “is a big boy”. One can only admire the enthusiasm with which the kids approach that very small things. If we only could remember that…

Eytan had a birthday this Monday (in fact this is why I came 2 weeks earlier than the ulpan –hebrew classes-start) and he was wonderful. Mazal tov to him and congrats once again for Sorana.

Also, a magical event (but not unique as I’ve been there before, unfortunately) happened. I handed in my THESIS!!!! The unbound copy! Mazal tov to me and may my teacher have only good mood until he accepts the paper. I’ve worked so much at it, it’d better be goodJ

Last but not least, I just bought a new laptop! Long story short, the other one died, I ordered a new one from the US and a new friend that will study with me in the Ulpan in Jerusalem, although he doesn’t know me at all, accepted to help me bring it. Thanks, Eli! Just that at the border he’ll have to pretend it’s his. Oh, did I forget to mention it’s pink?:)))

I also got to meet some of my friends here, some of them traveled all the way from Haifa and I’ve already been to the beach in Tel Aviv. Tomorrow evening there is an important event, the big Israeli dance marathon pre Karmiel festival. I won’t bore you with details, just that I can’t wait for it and I hope my knees are good to me.

So that’s about it. I promise you other posts won’t be so detailed, just that there was a lot of information gathered from the lost post and this one.

I leave you with a test question. I’m starting to write an “Eytan-understandable language” dictionary cause there are too many cute words he’s using. So for now, what do you think “doedeiii” is? Hint: try saying it out loud, it might help. It’s internationalJ

Shabat Shalom!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 30th 2011…

…is the kind of day that (I hope) will divide my life in before and after. Not in bad and good, not in boring and exciting, and not in awful and amazing. Maybe in great and better than great.

June 30th is the day I make Alyia. Is the day I can start calling another country home (and this is what it will become). It’s the beginning of an adventure, with ups and downs, with highs and lows. It’s the time I finally (and sadly) will have to grow up. To be on my own two feet, to START my adult life. See? And people ask me why I’m scared. To be honest scared is by far not the only thing I feel. I’ve been going through so many feelings and emotions and moods lately that one might think I’m either pregnant or…or when else does one have so many mood swings?:) But no, I’m just very:

ExcitedScaredNervousHappySadConfusedStressedThrilledAnxiousMelancholicCheerful and the list could go on. The main problem is when I go from one to another without notice. And I know I’m gonna be like this for at least one week after I’m there so can we just fast forward the two weeks please? Cause yes, I have two days left…

I promised everybody I will reopen this blog and start writing regularly. I hope I’ll be able to stick to my promise but this is what I’m planning. The new adventure requires a place where I will put down my feelings, my actions and will tell the whole world (ok, only to those who want to “listen”) how I’m “making it big” in Israel. But don’t worry, I won’t put here only the pretty pink with blue ribbon things happening but also the grey ones.

I am not expecting it to be easy, I’m not expecting for 20 headhunters to wait for me at 2 a.m. on the airport to offer me the best jobs in Israel, and I am not expecting to have the red carpet and on both sides of it about 15 amazing looking Israeli romantic dancers to welcome me (see, I’m not even picky:P), but that would be nice, wouldn’t it? :P

I remember what Silviu once told me. After making Alyia, he wanted to sue the water company in Israel cause at his sink, no matter how much he tried and waited, no milk nor honey poured. And he KNEW it shouldJ So at least I know what not to expect.

But what do I expect? And what do I leave behind? I decided I will make a list of the things I will miss the most from back here and what I can’t wait for over there. I will not name people as it would be too difficult for me, they are too many I will miss and too many I can’t wait to be with in the same country. I will talk about the small and the big things that I don’t want to forget.

The order is based on my mind’s algorithmJ and is under no circumstances exhaustive.

So here we go, what I’ll miss from home, from Romania:

  • My bunk-bed. First sleeping on top when I lived with my sis, and then upgrading myself to the bottom bed. Makes me feel I’m a child at mom’s home.
  • The amazing cheese from Ionica, the shepherd from Sibiu, bought fresh from the market after he gives you to taste a big chunk.
  • My cosmetician. I knew I missed her a lot in Austria and I know I will once again.
  • Having a car to drive from place to place and dad paying for the gas.
  • In fact, dad paying for almost everything is a thing I’ll miss (and not) by itself.
  • Not paying 40 shekels for a salsa night J
  • Being nagged by mom and having fights with dad. Yes. I'll miss it.
  • The chilly weather (right now they’re about 36 degrees outside but in general…)
  • Fresh cheap market where you can buy amazingly tasty tomatoes, raspberries, cherries
  • Crazy weird funny fuzzy hair
  • Talia restaurant with friends
  • Having shows with Hora dance group. I’ll miss it. A lot.
  • The super duper tasty food Maria made. And the way she spoiled me.
  • Being able to easily go to Machols. I’m not talking about Machol Romania. That remains “mine” and I will still be very much involved.
  • Buying and using vouchers J
  • Rollerblading in the park nearby at 11 in the night with friends.
  • At least for the beginning, feeling I have a place of my own.
  • The great comfort of having a place of my own
  • Orange movie (where in Israel will I be able to go to cinema and pay about 2.5 euros for a new movie?)
  • Going to Dragonu Rosu with mom and leaving after everything is closed
  • Having a great friend close enough to give him a call and to be wherever i need in no time (especially when it (almost) rains ;) )
  • Being so close to Auchan and having the car to drive to it
  • Old friends that became part of my daily life
  • New friends and the short period we connected and mainly what could have been there…
  • Playing board games
  • Feeling JCC as “my place”
  • Being with my family and feeling at home
  • Waking up not earlier than 11 o’clock (going to ulpan classes at 8 30…urrrggghhh…who invented this hour?)
  • Making Kiddush the way we do it in our community, singing.
  • Free public library with surprisingly amazing customer service
  • Scary Cismigiu park at 1:30 am
  • Feeling Jewish in Romania
  • All the things/people/places I could have done/meet/go to but didn’t.
And here is what I’m looking forward to, in Israel:

  • Being with my family and feeling at home (yeap, on purpose it’s on both places)
  • Meeting new interesting people
  • Experiencing Shabat in Jerusalem
  • Being an active part of my two amazing nephews, Eytan and Talia‘s life. I said I won’t mention names but they are so special that are my exception.
  • Feeling Jewish in Israel.
  • The air-conditioned buses. As I have a feeling I’ll be traveling a lot between cities in buses, they will be a blessing.
  • Learning better and being able to fully communicate in Hebrew
  • Being nagged by mom and having fights with dad, all over Skype
  • Having guests visiting Israel (from Romania and not only)
  • Moving into my first rented place of my own
  • Developing a new group of friends
  • Going to the beach so much more often
  • Learning to cope with the heat and not getting sick from all that mazgan
  • Rogalahim. A lot of rogalahim. Yummy…
  • Lower beauracracy. I was about to write no … but I remember it’s not paradise :)
  • Salsa in Tel Aviv, Ashdod, Jerusalem, Haifa, Kfar Saba, and everywhere else. And not feeling embarrassed inviting guys to dance or worry for a “no”, as in Romania.
  • Karmiel Festival the next week I’m there. With friends. Dancing. A lot. All night. All day.
  • Sticking to our Taglit rule of meeting every other month with the Taglit 2005 wonderful people.
  • Giving some people the needed “time off from Dana”:):(
  • Organizing the Patrick Bruel concert in Israel (take that for a dream, ha?)
  • Learning how to cope with the kashkeshanim :)
  • Enjoying holidays
  • Traveling
  • All in all…making it big, in Israel!:)

Here's to new beginnings!
Leshana (or even better, leshavua) habaa be Ierushalaim!

Friday, December 19, 2008

2008 in 37 Q&A

As seen on Stingoo's blog. I read it there and I decided that in a while or so (longer, the better) I will like going back to this post and reading my answers. I will then invite the friends that I know have blog, to do the same. I think it's a nice honesty exercise. So here we go, for 2008:

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Started to live by my own, in a new country.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I always make New Year's resolutions (I even made a Rosh hashana resolution) but I always loose them somewhere so I don't remember if i kept them or not. Too bad. And yes, I will make another one also. Should I write on it, among other, "Not to loose this resolution" ? Maybe...

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
YES! My sister! To the amazing baby Eytan! The smallest baby I've ever held in my arms! And the most advertised baby ever! (people that visited my room know why)

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Unfortunately, yes. My grandmother passed away this February. She didn't get to see her third great grandson. I miss her, and even more, my heart breaks when I think how much my grandfather misses her.

5. What countries did you visit?
Israel, Hungary, Czech Republic, Israel again, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and now, Austriaaaaaa!

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Butterflies in the stomach, but ones that will last and be worthed.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 6th - my grandma died
July 4th - my sister gave birth and I was dancing in Prague (damn it!)
October 19th - I moved to Vienna and my life changed
And unfortunately, a certain Friday noon, by the pool...

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
By far, deciding on leaving everything back in Romania and jumping in this new adventure called "studying in Vienna".

9. What was your biggest failure?
The fact that I still didn't learn from my own mistakes...

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Beside heart little scratches?
Not anything seriously (and, as I don't have medical insurance yet, please not!)

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Clothes and Universita for Eytan (whoever doesn't know what that is, means that he didn't have a small baby around). That and the ticket to come to the LBS assessment interview.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My mother's for everything she does.
My sister for giving birth naturally! I respect her tremendously!
Mine! For daring to take such a big decision as moving abroad alone!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Sometimes mine, sometimes the behavior of the people that dissapointed me.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Flight tickets, laptop and food (last one, since in Vienna - this is one of the best reasons for living with parents:) )

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Having a nephew, moving abroad, meeting great new people.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
fatter (I wonder how will I answer next year to this:) )
c) richer or poorer?
moneywise - poorer, experiencewise - richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Spend more time with my mom and grandfather, Swimming, Sports, Dancing (yes, even more!), learn more salsa, Blogging (;) )

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Google-ing, facebook-ing, mailing, all in all, Internet, loosing time in a terrible way.

20. How will you be spending Christmas? What about Hanuka? (My add, of course)
Home with Dad, Grandpa and Woody. As for Hanuka, first days here, starting on ice skating with people from LBS, lighting my candles on the Hanukia mom sent from Israel, and then, the rest, at home with friends. Can't wait!

21. What was your favorite TV program?
Amazing Race 12 and 13, of course.

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't really hate. Let's just say i dislike some persons more than i did last year, or some persons that I didn't know last year.

22a (My add). Do you like anyone now that you didn't like this time last year?
YES! So many of my new friends that I made, be it here, in Austria, or in all my travelings (Summer U people!!!!).

23. What was the best book you read?
UPPSSSS..I feel sooo stupid...I know a book that I would love if i read it: "The Kite runner". Does this count?

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I don't listen too much to music. But I need to say that I liked Straigt no Chaser the first time I heard them and that David Broza and Shlomo Artzi are always wonderful to listen to. But all in all, music needs to be danced!

25. What did you want and get?
To change my life, my work place, my environment.

26. What did you want and not get?
Some people's feelings.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?
"The kite runner". By far!

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Danced all day & night long in Machol Hungaria, Israeli dance camp. 150 people sang Happy Birthday to me, the teachers carried me on their shoulders and I had with me some of my best friends. 25

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having mom near me all the time, being able to control and impose myself over my feelings, eating better food (since in Austria). :)

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
As confortable as possible. And sometimes even sexy can go:)

31. What kept you sane?
Talking to mom, having friends (even far away but feeling them close) to whine to.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Sarit Hadad, the famous Israeli singer, as I saw/met her in person, and organizing the Israel 60 event in Bucharest, in which she performed, was one of my great achievements.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Basescu, the President of Romania, but sure not MY president

34. Who did you miss?
Come on, this is what I am writing over and over on my blog. My mom, my sister, Eytan, my dad, my aunt, my friends back home, my new friends not in Austria, Woody.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
Well..can't rank them and they're so many. You know yourself and if I haven't, I'll soon tell you, you are among them! But for sure, this was one of the year with the highest amount of "best new persons".

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Trust your feelings and intuition and don't give in to what you believe in too quickly. Don't be afraid of change. And also, something that I learned some years ago, but still valid: Time solves everything. Ups, three lessons already!

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"It's the first day...of the rest of your life"

Later edit: Of course, among the wonderful persons I met this year, I couldn't forget to mention Sophie, my first niece ever, very very cute, with who I got to spend only a few days but I sure hope I will get to see her more often. So, Adina and Josh, we need to make this happen, ok?:)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Politics, feelings, marketing exam, (no) food in the mensa and many more...

I know. That's all i can say. I thought there is nobody else reading my blog no more. And it would be perfectly legitimate from you not to want to read it anymore or not to even remember my address no more. What can I do? All the time i want to write, i become sooo lazy with no reason. Starting is hard, but once I get going, nobody can stop me:). I can tell you from now on that this post will be a looong one because too many things have gathered since I last wrote. I even got to write the subjects I wanted to share with you on a piece of paper. See how much I am thinking about sharing my experiences with you guys? But from thinking to typing...long shot...
Anyway, where were we? Oh, yes, to me voting. Since then, parties have won, a Prime minister was nominated by the President, chosen, after was announced he refused (a gesture that he has done once again some time ago -2004 was it?), another Prime Minister was chosen, a guy that represents me as much as my President does. And now I just found out the names from our new government. Unbelievable! I am totally ashamed and dissapointed with leaders of Romania nowadays. But then again...each country has the leaders its people deserve. So no complaints. Oh, yes complaints cause I voted, ok?

Now, let's talk about things that are in my closer environment. Like snow-rain today. Bad ugly weather. And all the mood around the campus is like everybody wants to go in vacation, go home, go out, just go. In less than 1 week i am going to my homy. I so thought i won't miss it. and here I am, missing Bucharest, missing dad, missing Apu, missing Woody. Woodelutzuuuu.....he definitely deserves a walk out. This in case he remembers me...
Of course I miss a lot my family in Israel but them I will see in february! Yeeey!
And also I miss friends. I think it is already the 10th time I am telling you about what nice people I am meeting here day by day, how happy i am to spend a lot of time with some really cool guys and girls, but i still miss the old gang back home. I read on Rina's blog that she also misses home and parties and friends, so I feel better:)

Had yesterday the first big exam. In marketing. I was pretty dissapointed about it after, I feel I've done pretty bad, or at least not enough. The question that still remains in my head is why the hell is there the need to make the exam as stressfull as possible? We had 14 subjects in 1 hour and 30 minutes. Definitely not enough time. And why? You were supposed to write whatever comes to your mind first first first. Not even reflect for a second, cause ups, time's up! I don't understand! Does this show more about our knowledge? About how we react in times of stress? About how we prioritise which subjects we cover and which not? anyhow...after the exam, stressed and mad, we went to eat...guess what? Dinner is from 7-8 pm. We got to 7:30..."we are sorry, there's no more food left" (you imagine that this is my nice translation of a shoulder movement from down to up and then again down and a head dropping to the left - of the lady in the kitchen). No chicken, no jam, no chocolate, no...i felt my pressure going up. (PS: me going now to dinner not to miss this one too. I shall be back, no worries!:)
Ok, me back. so were was I? Oh, yes, at the part with no food. So we left for the city to eat something. Vienna is something extraordinary from this point. The coffee places (Starbucks is a good example) is closed after 8 pm! And everything else! Even now, some days before Christmas, in the middle of the week, in the evenings, you find all the shops closed and too few people on the streets. Unbelievable!
But, as I found out last week, in the weekends, during the day, things change dramatically! On the main shopping street, you can barely walk! In the shops, there's no place to move! This shopping day was a very educational one. I learned a lot of things. Like the fact that you can loose the person you went shopping with in the first big store you enter and then shop all by yourself all day long. Or the fact that ALL and ONLY Romanians and Hungarians do shopping in Vienna. Everywhere, but really everywhere, I heard only Romanian and Hungarian. I felt like in Transilvania:) And I learned that the sellers in Muller are among the rude and unpolite sellers I've seen. So very educational...:)

I found a very nice quote somewhere. And this while I was thinking I don't have a motto in my life. And I should start looking for one. This is not my motto, but just something that made me smile and reflect: "Listen! Today is the first day of the rest of your life! But relax, so is tomorrow!" :) Does it tell you anything? What do you take from this? I am curious on your oppinions.

Remember I told you I've been to a Klezmatics klezmer performance a while ago? Still didn't get to give details about that, but they sang a song that I loved. That has a very deep meaning. I knew I heard it before and searched it over the Internet. Klezmatics made only a cover, but the way they sang it is really nice. And they've added some Iddish lyrics, something that makes it even nicer. I will try to upload here a video, last time it didn't work, let's see now. And below you have the lyrics..."I ain't afraid..." Very powerful lyrics (here you can listen to the original version and also read the lyrics) and very modern nowadays. "I ain't afraid of your Allah, I ain't afraid of your Jesus...I'm afraid of what you do in the name of your God"...

I have much more to write (from my list i ticked only some, but i want to post this not to loose it)...soon (very soon) another shall come...
Listening to "I ain't afraid", I leave you...
Good night