Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's like being fresh out of college all over again

Things that would be useful to know as olim (immigrants):
  • We should have asked for an Isracard (a debit card that allows you to break a charge into payments, known as tashlumim) when we opened our bank account. (We should have insisted on someone who speaks fluent English and deals with olim, actually)
  • How to access our bank account online. No one gave us a passcode, a password or anything else. No one even gave us the url.
  • How to fill out a cheque in Hebrew. You can write the date in English, and the amount numerically, but having someone write out NIS 3,170 in Hebrew would be helpful.
  • How Israeli banks actually work.
  • Where the best appliance stores are, what are typical prices for various appliances, beds, other furniture, etc.
  • What are typical sizes for beds, since they're different than North America
  • Where do you buy sheets, since we didn't really see any selection at Home Centre
  • How do you buy stamps and mail a letter
  • What's a good shampoo
  • Hebrew so we could talk with our landlord.
Ouch. Seriously. Our landlord came over yesterday to pick up our post-dated cheques for the rest of the year. We had a difference of opinion on paying the Va'ad Bayit (similar to the maintenance fee for a condo). He (and our lawyer) had said the Va'ad Bayit was to be paid in 3 quarterly installments of NIS 400. Yesterday, he asked for one payment of NIS 1200. Between his lousy English and my lousy Hebrew I managed to stand my ground and insist on 3 quarterly payments. It's not a big difference, but it's a matter of principle. Once I give in on one thing, it's all downhill from there. And we have to rely on him for too many things. He still has stuff on the mirpeset (balcony), and he still needs to fix our aron (closet). I don't mind that taking a little longer, but I also want him to know that when I want it done, he can't brush us off.

Fortunately, he's a really nice guy, although I don't think he's the innocent, "counting on this apartment to be his pension" man that was portrayed to us.

Anyway, the whole experience has made my headache worse. It's hard doing all that concentrating for so long. It's reminding me of calculus all over again - let your mind stray for 10 seconds and that's it; you've lost the stream of knowledge and you'll never make your way back again.

By the way, a 4-year old corrected Morey's Hebrew today. That's really great for the ego.

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