Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Baby you can drive my car. Or I'll drive you around instead.

(this is from yesterday)

Today we had to finish signing up for health care, get some Canadian and US cheques exchanged and deposited and wire money to our shipper, get a bank form to the Modi’in aliyah program office, and go to city hall to register for our discount for arnona (city taxes, which everyone - tenant or homeowner - pays).

Based on our previous week of going to various municipal offices by the bus, it would have taken us at least 4 days to accomplish all of the above. Thanks to another new Modi’in friend, Rachel, who drove us to all our various errands (of course, none of them are in the same place), we finished all of this in 2 1/2 hours. It was unbelievable. We were done so early, we actually had plenty of time to go to the big shopping centre right outside of town where the Home Centre is (that’s actually its name: Home Centre, in Hebrew, phonetically), so we spent way too many hours getting the basics like a garbage can (for the bathroom only, their kitchen cans were awful), shower curtain (which turned out too short, even after I got the salesgirl to understand how long our bathtub space is because we have a ledge and she insisted the one we picked was long enough), an urn (with a Shabbat setting! And a letter from a Rabbi affirming that this urn is okay to use on Shabbat! It’s even marked on the box! I LOVE this country!), doorstops (a minor thing, but so important with the open windows, wind and a scaredy-cat dog). We were offered a great deal on a fridge, but didn’t buy it because it’s Turkish and there’s a warranty, but no service. We went next door to Best Buy (again, Best Buy is the actual name), and Morey demanded a great deal on a washing machine, which they gave us! It’s being delivered in a few days, and I gotta tell you, I’ve never been so happy to have a washing machine on its way. We reeeaallly need to do laundry and I’m tired of handwashing stuff in the tub.

We had dinner there - because we COULD! (and we were hungry) and while we were eating, Morey got a text message. It was in Hebrew, which we didn’t even know our phones were capable of, but we couldn’t figure it out. So we asked the owner of the restaurant who spoke English what it said. He stumbled on two words, and asked one of his staff if she could figure it out. She said, “Best Bi-yee” which made us laugh, because we realized it was a text from the salesman at Best Buy thanking us for our purchase and saying if there was anything else he could help with, please see him again. For the Hebrew speakers in the bunch, it was spelled bet-samech-tet bet-yud-yud. hee.

Then, while waiting for the bus home, we ran into Jeremy & Kelli! Modi’in isn’t actually that small, but it sure feels like it, since we ran into our aliyah program person at the city hall, and ran into Rachel at the health centre last week. We know about 7 people in Modi’in and we’ve bumped into half of them.

So it’s very weird signing up for things when you have no idea what you’re signing up for. You really have to throw your Bitachon (trust) out there, because unless you’re incredibly fluent, you have no idea what you’re signing when you register for health care (we have the Zahav (gold) plan, but we have no idea what that means, other than “it’s the best plan. It’s for everything.“) and the employees don’t speak enough English to explain it (“it’s the best plan. It’s for everything.” An interesting aside - despite not having the verb “to be” in Hebrew, every English-speaking Israeli I’ve encountered knows the contraction “it’s“).

Oh, and at the Home Centre, where stores have the gum and batteries and other various sundries at the checkout, they have cheap (oh, seriously, about $10!) Scotch. We’re having our first cocktails in 11 days.

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