Wednesday, March 26, 2014

my first week as an Israeli citizen

נעמי ליטבין self portrait, Haifa Israel 3/26/14
This is day seven in my life as an Israeli citizen. Please forgive me for not blogging sooner. I have had so much to say, yet found myself tongue tied. Navigating a new country has been wild. Thanks to the kindness of strangers in a strange land, it has been the most sweetest of strangeness ever. I am encouraged by the people who have helped me. Only in Israel can you take a bus ride, begin a relationship with a person sitting next to you, attain heights of friendship in a millisecond, and then say goodbye in a matter of minutes. One beautiful young red haired girl said, "Haifa is a small world, we will see each other again!"
As for chronicling the day to day drama and hilarity of my new milieu please follow me on twitter and friend me on facebook for the raw details!
As for learning conversational Hebrew (I'm only good as a reader of print and cursive; and able to write phonetically) I had wanted to postpone jumping into that until after I'd gotten out of my temporary digs. But after this week, I absolutely do not want to delay being able to communicate with anyone in this vibrant society. After all, how else can I actually become a part of this? No Anglo ghetto for this gal. So today, after meeting yesterday with my Nefesh B' Nefesh Haifa guru, Smadar Stoller Porat, who arranged for me to have a meeting at a Jewish Agency Ulpan, I am beginning the 5-5-5 on Monday! "What the heck is the 5-5-5," you say? It is 5 days per week, 5 hours per day, 5 months of Hebrew. Wish me luck!
Today after a scrumptious lunch in Carmel Center of smoked salmon, feta cheese, tomato, and spring onions on whole wheat, multi seeded hearth baked focaccia bread, and a fabulous salad, all washed down by my new addiction, Coke Zero in a bottle, I serendipitously walked right into two tall dark and handsome guys with cameras and a microphone. They spoke to me in Hebrew of course.
Me: I only speak English!
Guys: Great! (in English) We want to know who you think the next President of Israel should be?
Me: Netanyahu.
Guys: But Netanyahu is the Prime Minister.
Me: I know that!
Guys: Then why do you say that?
Me: Well, Netanyahu may lose his position soon, so he will need a job!
Guys: Then who do you think should be the Prime Minister?
Me: That guy who insulted Obama!
Guys: Ya'Alon!
Me: Yes! Ya'Alon!
Guys: Thank you very much!
Me: You're welcome. By the way, I am a new Israeli citizen and I am studying up on the politics.
Don't ask me what channel they were from. I have no idea! Just let me know if you see me on TV!

Near the Bahai Gardens, Haifa, Israel. Photo by Naomi Litvin