Thursday (Ayalim / Hefzi Ba):
We woke up at 5:30 am as light was just peeking above the horizon and the sun wasn’t anywhere near coming up. The morning was chilly and I lay in my sleeping bag for 10 minutes checking my emails/texts and responding to those messages. To my surprise, my friends started responding promptly and I realized that it was only 10:30pm in NY, and they were still hours from going to bed. At breakfast a 9 year old girl asked me something unrecognizable in Hebrew and I responded by saying that I don’t speak Hebrew, in Hebrew, using the feminine version. The little girl started laughing at me and publicly humiliated me in front of everyone. I mean, if I’m going to say “I don’t speak Hebrew,” in Hebrew, I think it’s ok if I screw it up. I told her to go fuck herself, but said it w/a smile so she had no idea what I was saying. All of the other people in Ayalim were horrified. Yes, I was shown up by a 9 year old. (and yes, I’m joking about “go fuck yourself”)
Being that this was the last day, everyone slowly started in the morning and I took pictures of the sunrise over the desert and made Tsruya take a picture of me w/my hands covered in mud. It’s not surprising that for the 2 days I’m away from camera crazy family, mine is charging at Lori’s apartment. Therefore, all pictures were on my phone. There was another 15 minute speech at 6am, and I didn't even bother asking for a translation, though I think all of the non generic jobs (like water girl and molding) were assigned. We worked in mud till 9, paused for 30 minutes to wash our hands and have some more food, then worked till 12:30 before eating lunch. The 9 year old and I made up, because I like kids that aren’t mine, and we played in the mud together during the day. Some of the kids showered, some packed, and all of us waited for at least 45 minutes before the bus to Beer Sheba came. While the bus ride was only 30 minutes, I slept for 29. Everyone made their way to another bus, or to a cab, or to a train, or to hitchhike the rest of the way home for Shabbat. They were exhausted, drained, tired, sick of being dirty, and wanted to relax. You can imagine their surprise when I stood before the group and asked “Where’s the mall, I gotta do some shopping!” Lori was meeting me at the mall before we drove 2 hours north to Hefzi Ba, and while I waited, I had some french fries and ice cream...fantastic.
Lori and I stopped at Barbi’s friends’ house to drop off a gift for their new kid. I called ahead and the husband answered, told us the address in Beer Sheba, but his wife hadn’t told him to expect us, so he was a bit confused. He lived on Ben Yehuda, a somewhat obscure street in Beer Sheba but a big street in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. When I said I knew where it was, he figured I was in the wrong city. He was surprised when rang his doorbell 10 minutes later. He was very surprised when he and Lori recognized each other from classes. We got to see their cute newborn kid and they gave us some pictures to bring back to Barbi. We arrived back at Hefzi Ba just as everyone was leaving to go to Afula for dinner. Golani falafel of course. My family single handily supports this place for a month during the few days we are in Israel. I always support the pizza place next door. After dinner, we got home and passed out, quite dehydrated.
Rules to Learning a New Language Part 2: So You Don’t Get Teased by a Nine Year Old: (I know I did this already, but I'm going to reiterate so everyone understands these rules. On both days my shortcomings were exploited and became apparent, so I'm writing it again. Bite me if you're upset). Start learning before you turn 6 and keep going until you are 10. Since you can’t make those decisions on your own, I blame my parents for my lack of bilingual abilities. Somehow, my grandfather speaks 7 languages without much problem, I guess that language learning isn’t genetic. I’ve decided that my best bet is to learn vocabulary and try to understand. I don’t need to learn to read well, or write, or speak even (you can always respond in English). Thus, if I learn the vocabulary, I can understand and respond in English. Who wants to conjugate verbs, put words in the right order, and figure out what gender to use for adjectives and nouns and adverbs. That’s my plan and I’ve got the Rosetta Stone DVD’s to help. I may as well use them. (Actually, I have all 27 languages of Rosetta Stone on DVD, if anyone wants to borrow)