What fun!

It has been a couple of weeks since my last post and I am sure you will forgive me, when you hear that my husband has been with me for 8 of those days. Sorry, but he came first 🙂

Life has settled into routine now. We recently moved our classes into our permanent location and this has made routine become a lot easier. At the beginning of November we also started our new modules in Hebrew after our exam on the book of Jonah on the 2nd of November. We now have 15 hours of Modern Hebrew a week and four of Biblical Hebrew. We have two Modern Hebrew teachers, one for the absolute beginners and one for those who have a basic grasp of Modern Hebrew. Another student and I are currently studying Modern Hebrew on our own together from another book, because both classes are too basic for us and the staff here want us to be stretched. They are searching for a solution to this not ideal situation, because we would love to have a teacher too! I am glad that they see it as a good problem to have. My fellow student is a lot more advanced than I am – she has such an amazing capacity to remember vocabulary. Words stick to her like Velcro! We’ll see what solution the teachers come up with.

My time with my husband was also fantastic! He was only here for a week, but somehow time slowed down and we both felt like he had been here for two. Every day we managed to spend good time together, walking out and about in Jerusalem, discovering fun places to eat some days and having good conversations with fellow students on other days. He always came to classes with me and would work or read in another room, so I got to see him at every break too.

Mpdern Tel-Aviv from Jaffa

On my day off we got the bus to Tel-Aviv and spent the day exploring Jaffa and Neve-Tzedek, an old neighbourhood between Jaffa and modern Tel-Aviv, which we didn’t get to this trip.

The old port of Jaffa

Jaffa Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wandering around in the warm sun, soaking up the sights and sounds of Jaffa Market and the narrow streets of the old port was such fun.

Neve-Tzedek with modern Tel-Aviv in the background

You may be wondering why we went to Neve-Tzedek… My Hebrew teacher in Luxembourg and I had worked on a text about Neve-Tzedek, so it was on my bucket list of places to see when in Tel-Aviv. It is a quaint old neighbourhood, with narrow streets, filled with colourful little houses that are dwarfed by the high-risers of Tel-Aviv, which are sometimes on the other side of the street. It was such a sight to behold.

It was so refreshing to be away from Jerusalem for a day! We thoroughly enjoyed the rest of our time together. Hubbie left on Sunday and I am back into my single routine, but already counting the days until I fly home for Christmas. 39 to be precise…

Back to studies for now, but more stories are sure to follow. Thanks for reading!

What fun!2018-11-13T11:31:57+00:00

Settling in at last!

It’s hard to believe that I have already been here for more than three weeks. I suppose it is a sign that I am settling in, as time is starting to fly. Our weeks are rather oddly divided at the moment. We have a day of rest on the Sabbath (Saturday) and also on Tuesday, which breaks up our week. But it also means that we never really have time to completely switch off because we always have homework. Next month will be different though, so we will see what that will bring. My first exam is on the 2nd of November…(next week!!!) which will bring Jonah to a close. Next month is Modern Hebrew if I have understood the program correctly and my husband comes to visit (hurray!!!).

Not only did we learn the names of the animals, but we also learned the word for tower, and the verb “to build”. We also found out that some of students are very competitive! Who could build the tallest tower without it tumbling to the ground? I quite honestly can’t remember who won.                                                                                                                          

Our classes are from 8:30-12:30 every morning and entirely different from what most of you have probably experienced. Our classroom has no desks, only chairs all around the walls of the room. Our lessons consist of vocabulary learning through visual aids, singing songs (either for children or from the Bible) and dancing, story telling with the use of visual aids, to learn vocabulary and verb tenses, memorizing verses and skits, and physical actions (dancing, climbing, getting up, lying down, sitting, jumping, touching walls, chairs, pointing,…). And of course everything is in Biblical Hebrew. I especially love the singing and our group is full of excellent voices. Even singing kiddie songs is uplifting when you are surrounded by great voices.

In the middle is a path, either side of which are objects representing evil. Which verse were we learning?

In case you were wondering, for the time being I have no more appointments with my osteopath. I am able to sit again, but I still have to take good care of myself and regularly do exercises throughout the day. So every day in class I will disappear during the breaks to do my exercises on the yoga mat loaned to me. Soon I will feel strong enough to get back to my normal exercises.

Settling in at last!2018-10-23T15:24:55+00:00

Baqa

Several of you have been asking how my appointment with the osteopath went. By now I have had two appointments and he is a huge help. I am actually sitting writing this post!!! I’m not sure I will be able to write it all sitting, but hey, I started at my table.

For my first appointment my teacher took me down to the osteopath’s practice, just to be sure I knew where it was and I was delighted to find out it is just around the corner from where I lived for a month two years ago. I got to know the area well and loved it around there. It’s a quiet residential area, full of life and an old train track that has been converted into a walking and cycling track. The fact that I was in that area that I loved had an immediate calming effect on me. I spent just over an hour with the osteopath and was delighted with the treatment I got. If ever you need one in Jerusalem, let me know and I’ll give you his information.

After my treatment I walked up to the start of the track to what is known in English as “The First Station”, the old station that has been converted into an inside outside space with restaurants and shops. I spent many a happy hour there two years ago and was glad to walk through there to get my bus.

My next appointment was on Thursday and the osteopath really started working the problem areas – big ouch!!! Friday my leg and hip felt swollen and sore, but today they already feel much better.

He has told me to walk lots, eat lots of vegetables (a problem at the moment), totally avoid aubergines and only eat hummus before 11 am. I have exercises to do, deep breathing, and an interesting exhortation to “be complex”. That really spoke to me. He knows where I am coming from, what I am doing, and is totally sympathetic, so I know what to do with his advice.

I’ll be going back on Tuesday and am already looking forward to it. The appointment is on my day off (Tuesdays this month, apart from Shabbat) and I intend to spend a few hours in the area relaxing and being complex 🙂

I am still sitting but need to move now, so I’ll sign off for now, but will hopefully be able to write something soon (I know I promised a tour of my room and a post on our selfie race!).

Thanks for staying updated and interested.

Baqa2018-10-21T16:00:16+00:00

Oy vey!

So I have calmed down enough to put my thoughts into written form… The title and picture give little away save the fact that more woe has befallen me. My post on my room and the selfie tour can wait for now – I just wanted to let you know about the drama of the last couple of days.

Friday morning I woke up after another night of not sleeping well because of the pain I am in and as I switched off the alarm on my phone I saw loads of notifications that my debit mastercard had been fraudulently used overnight. Thankfully I get a notification every time there is a transaction and I was able to call the bank promptly and alert them as to what was going on. My card was immediately frozen and after a few telephone calls I was assured I would get all my money back. It may just take a few weeks. But since I can’t touch it without a card, that isn’t the end of the world. I have no idea where my information was harvested – but I suspect it was at the airport ATM, although I can’t be sure. My mother even got me one of those ID protect card holders for my cards, but even those can’t keep us safe from fraudsters.

For the time being I will have to use my private card and get reimbursed once my husband brings me my new card – yes, my new card can’t be sent to Israel. He will visit at the beginning of November. Maybe we’ll resort to Western Union… who knows how I’ll get hold of cash (I still have some, but I’m not sure how long it will last me). At the moment I am very reluctant to use another ATM, especially as my husband hasn’t yet trained me on how to recognize trapped ATMs. That’s one afternoon during his visit all planned out 🙂 Maybe some of my classmates will join us, who knows?!?

On a complete change of subject, here is a picture of Jaffa Street on Erev Shabbat (Friday evening). I love how the city is so quiet on Shabbat – no public transport, very few cars, just the sound of people and children walking in the streets.

Oy vey!2018-10-06T15:41:25+00:00

Äddi Lëtzebuerg Shalom Israel

As you may remember, Saturday was my day of travel. I rarely enjoy getting from A to B by plane and this time was no exception. The trip was made so much more uncomfortable by acute back pain and sciatica. But I made it and fell into bed close to three o’clock in the morning. Sunday was devoted to rest and unpacking, getting to know my fellow students and more rest. In the evening we had a welcome meal to celebrate the start of the academic year and also the start of Simchat Torah and the end of Sukkot. The meal was made up of local traditional dishes, the highlight being the main course – maqlooba, an upside down rice and vegetable dish. I felt a bit like a yo-yo the whole day as I was never able to sit for more than a few minutes without having to get up and move about because of the pain I was in.

Even though Monday was a holiday for all of Jerusalem, our classes started bright and early at 8:30. I didn’t even make it through an hour of class though before a fellow student with a sprained ankle and I were taken to emergency medical care – to check the foot was only sprained and not broken and for me to get some decent pain relief. It turned out to be so decent that I couldn’t do anything but lie down for a few hours before lunch. As an aside, the emergency care here is so fast and good! The set-up is a bit like the “maisons médicales” back home, not a full hospital ER, but everything you would need for most walk-ins. Lunch back at our classroom location gave me an energy boost, which I was able to use to join some of my fellow students on a guided walk to the Old City and the Western Wall.

Simchat Torah (Joy of the Torah) is the day in the Hebrew calendar when the annual reading cycle of the Torah ends and begins again. Part of the celebrations include men going to the Western Wall and congregating together with beautifully “dressed” and decorated scrolls of Torah, which they hold in their arms as they dance around in circles and sing. As ladies we were able to go into the ladies’ section of the Kotel and peer over the dividing wall into the men’s section. What fun to watch the celebrations! We weren’t allowed to take pictures so here’s a picture of a painting I have at home, which gives you a very good idea of what was going on! A long walk back brought us to our evening meal at our classroom location.

Tuesday morning was spent in class on my feet, as I still cannot sit without being in agony, and in the afternoon we ran a few errands – fun stuff like getting a SIM card (not activated yet at time of writing) and snacks to eat (mainly nuts). After such a long day on my feet I was glad to get to bed as I felt my back getting worse.

 

Wednesday finally got me my prescription of pain medication to at least allow my body to relax and ease the healing. I was also given the loan of a yoga mat to lie on while in class. I am so thankful for such an accommodating classroom situation. Total immersion with many of us being sick or handicapped in the first week means we are learning lots of useful vocabulary! Not for Bible translation, but for every day living, which is what our language acquisition is focusing on just now. We have language mentors living in our hostel with us and they are great at being strict with us. All communication since Monday morning has been in Hebrew, whether written or spoken, and even though I have a pretty good foundation of Hebrew I feel like with the pain my brain has been wiped clean of all languages, Hebrew especially. It’s rather frustrating. So I have spent my washday (Wednesday afternoons are my allotted washing time – something which has to be done with 30 students and two washers and dryers!) revising my vocabulary from my teacher back home. I am so glad I scanned it all into my phone!!!

Tomorrow we’re off on a selfie race. We have a map of the area we are living in and will be given a set of instructions (in Hebrew of course) and will have to photograph ourselves at each location that we are supposed to find. What fun!

Next time I’ll give you a Hebrew guided tour of my room and a little taste of our lessons. Lehitraot!!!

Äddi Lëtzebuerg Shalom Israel2018-10-03T20:04:49+00:00

D-Day – Departure Day for Israel

 

Tomorrow is the day I have been talking about, dreaming about and planning for for the last two years – my departure for Israel to start my nine month intensive immersion into Hebrew, both Modern and Classical. It’s strange being both nervous and excited all at the same time. Butterflies, nervous tension, stress about packing… I’m usually a really good packer and I have admittedly fit everything I need to take into my case, but we drove to the airport yesterday to check its weight and I am 2.2 kg over! That’s the trouble with packing for three seasons. And the school told us not to pack to our weight limit, because we will be bringing stuff back from Israel. Of course I will be bringing stuff and books back! My strategy is to bring stuff back during the holidays and to use my husband’s baggage weight when he comes over for my graduation in June. Don’t pack too much, love! So today I need to repack and redistribute some weight. No problem!

Talking about weight I must say I am so thankful for modern technology and apps that scan – I have packed all of my Modern Hebrew notes from the last four years into my smartphone! That’s about 3 kg less weight, which are sadly not included in my 2.2 kg. Shame I can’t do that with everything!

As for my love… people have asked how we will cope with this separation. For starters it is only temporary (he is already visiting in November) and as I said, I am back for the holidays, but most importantly, we have the benefit of modern technology and video calls. Long telephone calls are now a thing of the past and my days at uni.

I hope to do regular blog posts while I am away to keep everyone updated on all that is going on and share things I am learning, experiencing, and seeing. I am not the site administrator, but I am sure there is a way to sign up so that you can be notified of updates. Alternatively you can follow us on Facebook (@bfl.asbl) by liking our page and ideally opting to have our page appear as the first in your feed. That way you will be sure not to miss anything.

D-Day – Departure Day for Israel2018-09-28T11:29:29+00:00