Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ehhhhhh, ech omrim,* "Charlie Foxtrot?"

So we finally got news of our ulpan (Hebrew classes) and when it starts and where it is. It starts next week, and it's in a school in the neighbourhood of Buchman**.

Alllllll the way on the other side of Modi'in.

Now, you may have heard that the buses in Modi'in bite the big one. This is even more true if you live in the northwest of Modi'in and need to get to Buchman in the south. There is no bus that goes from here to there ("you can't get there from here"). To get to ulpan we would have to take a #1 to some point in town, then walk to a #3 bus stop. And assuming we wouldn't have to wait too long for the #3 (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA), we would still have what looks to be about a 20-minute walk from the #3 drop off to the school where the ulpan is being held. And remember, Connex doesn't do transfers, so we're talking 8 bus tickets a day for the two of us. Every day. For the pleasure of about an hour-and-a-half trip each way. To go maybe 5 kilometres.

But see, I just interrupted myself to double-check the Connex website and discovered there is no #3 that would get us to the school on time! We'd have to either take the 5:45am or the 8:25am. Except class starts at 8:30am. So rantus interruptus; I have to interrupt my rant with a new improved rant.


We were told the reason classes are being held in Buchman is because there is free space at the school. That's fine. But then, provide transportation. Most of us new olim (immigrants) don't have cars. And the Ministry of Absorption knows that. The Ministry also knows how bad the buses are. We were told there's are new buses for the schoolchildren, particularly the #10. That's great, the #10 stops near our house and goes right to the school. Except the #10 runs only once at 7am (and how, exactly, do we get home?) AND the Ministry of Education has not agreed yet that we adults can ride the schoolkids' buses.

Which actually is fine by me. It's hard enough when I have to go through each day speaking like a 5 year old and dealing with the frustrations of not being understood, and not knowing enough to make myself understood. It's embarrassing enough to stand in the middle of a store playing charades trying to get a store clerk to understand that I need a long shower curtain rod because I have a very long bathtub space. Do I really need to have what's left of my dignity buried under some kid's Dora the Explorer backpack by being the only adults on a children's schoolbus? No thank you. I love kids. I don't want to ride on a schoolbus with them.

We've asked the Ministry to compile a list of everyone in our neighbourhood who is registered for ulpan. Maybe someone has a car, and we can all carpool and share gas costs. Maybe there's enough of us to make it worthwhile for Connex to add another bus for the ulpan students. Maybe there's enough of us over here to make it affordable to split a taxi van; maybe the Ministry will arrange a van. Maybe maybe maybe.

All I know is trying to learn a new language as an adult, and living in a country where you don't speak the language is stressful enough. We don't need merely getting to the classes to be anxiety-inducing as well.

*ech omrim = "how do you say"
** Buchman is pronounced, "booochman" with a "ch" like "l'chaim!"

1 comment:

Daniata said...

I'm feeling your pain! Oh I remember the no bus transfer thing. I used to buy the youth bus passes "kartis noar", which were fairly cheap. Couldn't do that now!

Turkey has the same thing, you could take a bus to the tram but then you'd have to pay twice. And if you took a tram to the subway, but you had to pay again for the subway...