I am on a journey, to make Aliyah, and want to share my journey with my family, friends and anyone that is interested. I made the decision to make Aliyah in December 2002 and now I am actually doing it. This blog will chronicle my story and adventures leading up to getting on the plane and then the continuing story of the beginning of my new life in Israel and what I experience once there.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

First Full Day

After this post I promise I'll upload the pics and videos I've taken so far.

I'll start where I left off yesterday. I took a 40 minute nap and headed out to purchase a needed item, a fan as I have no air conditioning in my apartment. It's not overly hot, compared to SC, but with the air not moving it felt hot. Now that I have a fan it is quite comfortable, even during the hotest part of the day. At the same store I found other needed items, a power strip and adapter plugs to convert US plugs to Israeli plugs. So, now I can plug my electronics in.

On the way back with my purchases, I decided to get dinner at the recommended sushi place near where I live. It was quite excellent and not terribly priced either. It was about $15 for 4 Maki rolls (24 pieces). I met my first "local" and we chatted and exchanged numbers.

I came back to the apartment, hoping to meet my room mate, but he was not here and after I was trying to sleep I heard him return. When I left this morning he was still sleeping.

This morning I slept until about 7 and did some things in my room and on the computer and finally headed out around 10:00 and went to the office to see about doing my paperwork to live here. Dalia was there and she asked if I could go to the post office and register for health insurance while she got the papers together. I got back about 11 and she asked if I could come back around 11:30, she game me some paperwork to read and I returned at the requested time. Then she asked about if I had a bank account yet. I was planning to go today or tomorrow and open an account, but she told me if I had it done and back by 2:00 there would be a representative there from the Misrad Hapnim (Ministry of the Interior) that I could provide the bank information to, instead of traveling to their office to provide this information.

So, off to the bank I went, got there around 12 and walked in and looked around. All the signs are in Hebrew and I don't have a clue how to say "New Accounts" in Hebrew so I just looked around for a person that looked like they worked there and might be the person to talk to. Went to the desk of a woman and asked if she spoke English, which she did and explained that I wanted to open an account. She then took me to her managers office, who then said I needed to speak with someone upstairs, Ronit. Upstairs I went, went to the first woman I saw and asked for Ronit and was then directed to her office. She basically interviewed me, I guess to see whether they wanted me as a customer. At least that was what it felt like. Then after passing muster, she then took me to someone who would actually open my account (person number 5 so far) and we then completed lots of paperwork and decided to wait to process the orders for my checks and credit card until I have my Israeli Identity card next week with my Hebrew name on it instead of my English name that is on my immigration ID. I then wanted to depost the US dollars I brought with me into my new account, converting them to shekels. So, I was directed to the tellers to make my deposit. I waited in line, just one other person, and when I got to the window the teller then informs me for dollars I have to go upstairs to yet another teller that does these kinds of transactions. There were two people ahead of me waiting to speak to her. I finally got into see her and find she doesn't speak a word of English. So I stumbled through in Hebrew and actually converted my dollars, deposited them into my account and received some Shekels back for pocket money. Well it was now 5 til 2. Two hours (and 7 people) to open a bank account and make a deposit...

Well I walked quicly back to the absorption center and made it back by about 2:10 and found out where I needed to go and the represetative from the government was just arriving. We sat around waiting our turns and I met several people that had just arrived two days ago from South Africa. I completed my paperwork and returned to the office around 3:00 and fianlly got to sit down with Dalia and complete the paperwork. We finished around 4:00 and I came up to the apartment and relaxed a little.

Around 6:00 I was starting to get a little hungry, so I set off on a dual mission to get dinner as well as visit the grocery store and get a few things. I found a recommended haburger place, Burgers Bar, and stepped in. Not really surprised, but the menu on the wall was all in Hebrew, and I saw an English menu on the counter. I cheated and figured out what I wanted in English but ordered in Hebrew. It is a much different experience, after you order you sit down while the fresh cook the meat on a fire grill. The bread is obviously freshly made. When the burger is being made they have you come back to the counter and specify what you want on the burger. You then sit again until the burger is finished and then you retreive your meal. You then eat, and don't pay until you are ready to leave. I introduced myself to the people at the next table speaking English and met my second set of new acquainteneces. I just orderd a burger fries and juice and was full after half a burger. So, I wrapped it to go, payed my bill and headed to the grocery store. I walked around and just looked to figure out the store in general, then decided I would buy laundry detergent, juice and some rice cakes. I wasn't really looking for anything specific other than the juice. I paid for my purchases and headed home. I made it back around 8:30.

So, A nice full day and productive too. I am not too exhausted today like yesterday. I am a little tired, but I will hold out for another 30 minutes or so. Hopefully I can get the pics and videos up in that time.

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