I sit writing this blog in the extremely cold ulpan grounds, but happily more or less, completely alone. This is because I decided to skive the “mandatory” excursion to Jerusalem today, for two main reasons. The first, and slightly less, important is because I was reliably informed that these trips are akin to a “shit show” and frankly ain’t no-one got time for that. However, what swung it for me was the insistence that I must go. Which included the head of the ulpan chase us around the ulpan screaming “mandatory trip.” And, maybe it’s because I’m an Ashkenazi Jew or maybe it’s because I’m a pain in the ass, but when someone screams at me and then uses loudspeakers to tell me to get on a bus, I’m gonna run and I’m gonna hide.
Hopefully, this decision won’t impact too much on my social life as it’s such early days I do still feel the constant pressure to be on, present and entertaining at all times. Which, frankly is just incredibly exhausting. It also feels a little like I am at a boarding school with cliques already forming and the surprising appearance of a mean girl This means my present time alone is rather rejuvenating and well the worth the shitty excuse I will have to offer tomorrow to explain my absence, “period pain” in Hebrew anyone?
Anyway, apart from my non-attendance at various Ulpan events the dust has somewhat settled since my first day. I did, happily, manage to open a bank account and even made jokes with my account manager who it seems had once visited Oxford. This was, of course, after I shouted at her for mocking my accent. I mean…Israelis mocking my accent? Jog on love. I also managed to sign up to medical insurance and deposit money in the post office (again, achieved during the skiving of yet more activities.) Suffice to say, if ulpan read this blog I am screwed.
For those of you who are concerned I was placed in the set below top set for Hebrew which, it goes without saying, is unacceptable. I have yet to be moved up despite beseeching both in Hebrew and English. My current tactic is to simply do the top set work until they are forced to move up, but at least this way I won’t miss out. And for those of you who will call me a nerd, or worse – frankly I have five months to get my language up to scratch and like my doubters in the bank – you can all jog on.
In truth, I do still feel rather discombobulated, and whilst I am doing “stuff” as it were, I still feel as if half the time I am sat scratching my head wondering where the fuck I go from here. I’m neither happy nor unhappy, just unsure – which I suppose is normal for an immigrant. How on earth our grandparents did it all those years ago from the haim I will never know – I have madrichim, (very) basic language skills and free rent and food and still, I feel a cloud of confusion and unease follow me around. My latest challenge is an urgent need to add data to my mobile phone plan, which is one of the few things that is much much cheaper ba’eretz, but struggling to deal with phone companies in the UK, I will be seeking assistance with this one. If great-grandpa Haim didn’t have to deal with this nonsense, no reason I should unnecessarily upset myself.
However, despite Wi-Fi drama what I have found to be truly amazing is the number of family members that are crawling their way out of the woodwork. Failing to have a family Whatsapp group because they’re simply aren’t enough of us, I am amazed at the second and third cousins that are offering me places to stay, bringing me food and generally just making me feel at home. Which I guess…it is.