Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Premature Congratulation

Thanks to everyone for the good wishes on my "retirement", but it was sadly, premature.

As soon as I posted the last posting, my boss called, to say she had set up a meeting for me for this past Sunday. There went my trip to Greece.

So I had all of 2.5 days of vacation. And am now back at work. However, I will only be here another few days, and then I will be really, really done. I hope. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I am cruising along in my nursing school steps. I got above a level vav on the ulpan test. So the "condition" of my acceptance has been waived and I am now unconditionally accepted! And I am IN LOVE with my new backpack!

Now I am trying to find a way to pay my bills while in school. I figure I will need to make about 4,000 nis/month in order to live. I budgeted and stuff, and I realize now that I wasted about double that every month. Pretty sad. Where did it all go?

I posted on some web groups that I am willing to cook, clean, tutor, babysit. All that stuff. Its sad for me to do that kind of stuff and make a puny living, when I am capable of doing bigger "real" stuff, but the time constraints of school are huge, and preclude a "real" job. Removing the 6 hours per week of English classes, from which I am exempt, I still have 39 hours of class a week. The rest of my class (those not exempt from English) have 45 hours. That is just insane. Basically we have 8-6 4 days a week, and 8-4 on Thursdays.

One very sweet woman responded to my posting saying she'd love to hire me, but she feels bad asking me to clean! Hello, I posted I was willing to clean houses. I'm happy to do whatever I can to afford school. I thought she was really sweet, and funny that she felt bad having me clean. Hey, I don't love it either!

I'm hoping to rack up enough tutoring gigs, that I don't have to clean homes. If you (or anyone you know) needs tutoring.....I can tutor in the following subjects:
Math - Up to high school, not including Calculus
Science - Through college level - No physics
English - reading and writing
Hebrew - for new immigrants
SAT preparation - I'm familiar with the new format having just re-taken it myself.

Drop me a line if you know anyone who can benefit from my services.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Yesterday started out like an ordinary day. I was running late, as usual. But it made no big difference, as 1) I am due to finish my job Sept 13 and 2) There is absolutely no work to be done in my office. My boss took off a month in June and allowed no new projects to come in during that time,and that coupled with the fact that all of my clients are currently on vacation, means I've spent a lot of time chatting with friends. A bit of a waste on a 3 hour commute (round trip).

So, since I had already missed the bus I figured I would take some time to carefully examine the new knapsacks I've been coveting. I am 4 weeks shy of 25, starting my 3rd degree. I have an LL Bean bookbag that I got for my first day of 9th grade. In high school we called them "nerdpacks" and I think you can see why. Mine is bright purple, and has survived 2 different high schools, two colleges, law school and now nursing school. When I was 13 that knapsack was the coolest! Even cooler if you had your intials monogrammed on it, which at $5 per letter, my mom though wasteful for 5 kids ($75 extra).

I've been thinking that the time has come to splurge on a new one, even though those knapsacks come with a lifetime guarantee -- and I've never needed to invoke that privilege. No zipper has quit on me, no strap has frayed.

But I saw a really beautiful knapsack, with lots of compartments, expandable to fit my huge nursing books, place for a cellphone (which in 1993, when I bought that LLBean nerdpack, no one even had them). And it was from Outdoor, a subsidiary of Kal-Gav, and Israeli company. So I bought it, and I am in heaven! Next up, pencils, pens and notebooks.

* Then, while on my bus on my way to work my boss called. To say there was really no need to come in today. Or for the rest of this month. Apparently she too noticed there was no work ot be done, so she gave me the rest of the month as paid vacation because, as she said "it's silly for you to keep shlepping to Bet Shemesh to play on the computer all day".

The deal is that I will be on vacation til September 1st. Which is the day I told her I wanted to stop working by. If in a week enough work has accrued to keep me busy, then I will return and work 2 more weeks til rosh Hashana, which is what she wanted me to do originally. So YAY! I'm looking up cheapie last-minute deals to Italy, Turkey, Greece and Northern Israel. My mom wants to go up North, but I want to go out of the country. If any of you are interested in joining me for a cheap, 2-3 day excursion to an unknown mediterranean locale, let me know.

* I went to a 5:30 pm movie with my parents, sister and Mia. I haven't gone to a matinee in a long time. Because I am usually working then. My mom wanted to see this film Ushpizin, which in the Jerusalem Post was advertised as Hebrew with English "Titles". So we all went. And the Jerusalem Post did not lie, per se. The movie had "Ushpizin", written in English, and nothing else. (except a one paragraph description of the movie before it started). I watched the entire movie and did not miss a second of it. I understood the movie perfectly. In fact, I ended up translating/explaining to the rest of the group, who missed out a bit.

This was the first time ever that I did that. I felt so......Hebrew! So fluent! So unstoppable. I never realized my hebrew was good enough to do that. I never went to Hebrew only films, because I figured I would miss out too much. But I got everything. Every nuance, every laugh, every pain. I am amazed. And, for reasons unrelated I hope, the movie was great. Not saccharine, not full of Hollywood unrealities. As a plus, Jerusalemites will recognize almost every scene in the movie. I enthusiastically reocmmend this movie to anyone, even anti-charedim like myself.

And those were my milestones of yesterday....I moved on from my old knapsack, my job, and the belief that my Hebrew is still not "good enough".

Monday, August 23, 2004

Because What We Need Are More Jewish Guys With Unreasonable Standards

This just in from Ha'aretz. JDate uses pornographic models for their ads, advertising these women as real women, waiting for a serious relationship with a Jewish guy.

Because Jewish men all over the world don't already have unreasonable expectations of what they're looking for in a woman.

One of my favorite conversations was with this guy, let's name him Eli. Eli repeatedly would ask me to set him on dates with girls I know. Eli, I should mention here, is about 5'5, fat, bald, and with no particular career. He is very much like George Costanza, only not as funny to laugh at or with. This does not make him a bad person, or one unworthy of dates. However, it does provide you, the reader, with some background info.

Each time I would suggest a date for Eli, he would dismiss the girl as "not pretty enough", "not skinny enough", "doesn't have a job". Exasperated, I finally said to him "Have you ever looked in a mirror?"

I think its important for people to set their standards such that they would date themselves. If your standards are so high that you yourself would not meet them, it may explain why you are single. Just a suggestion (from someone who is still single, though I don't think high standards are my issue).

My sister, for another example, has a somewhat spotty junior college attendance record. No degree (not even an AA), no actual career or job. She has never gone on a third date with anyone. She is pleasantly plump. She consistently rejects guys for being overweight. And when I recently tried to set her up with a guy who is interested in her, a guy who is an engineer, with a college degree, and a good job, she immediately said, "I can't agree to a date like that. I have to check him out. To see what his family is like. To see how frum he is. To see what he does for a living, whether he has a college degree, whether he has a job."

My family, I must add, has so many skeletons, our closet won't even hold them. Which is why I don't try to hide them. My sister is jobless, and living in my parents' guest bedroom. I was doing her a favor by trying to arrange a date with a guy who had met her, and was interested. That hasn't happened for her in....since high school. But no, her standards have been dictated by the ultra-frum, wealthier, prettier, less-skeletony girls she went to seminary with. Its sad, because they are mostly married already, whereas she hasn't had a real date in years. But she is so scared of dating a guy who might be *less* than someone her friends would date, she would rather be dateless and single (which in her charedi world is bordering on sinful).


Monday, August 16, 2004

Six O'clock News

So, my parents (and Mia) arrived last week. I've gotten a few emails wondering why I hadn't blogged yet and the answer is that I've been so busy taking care of everyone that I haven't had a free minute.

Here are the updates:

* My parents arrived and began stressing me out almost immediately. They seemed to be unaware of the fact that they had an apartment rented for them, beds, a refrigerator, food and ice in said refrigerator, dog food in the dog food bowl and so on. They were aware of what was missing however....

* The family pets Penny (a 5 year old medium-large dog) and Nikki (a 7 year old white overweight cat) also made aliyah. They seem to be adjusting, Penny far more than Nikki. Penny loves her new fenced in yard, and she seems to be getting along with Sharona, my teeny little dog. Sharona has actually become a total bully towards Penny and Nikki. I think she's like the Israeli kid who comes to visit his American cousins and beats the crap out of all of them.

* I was on TV last Wednesday night, Channel 2. The story was a follow up to the stories they did on me when I was making aliyah, 2 years ago. They filmed me at the airport greeting my parents, then came to my parents house to interview them, since they wanted some quotes from them. But since my folks don't speak Hebrew they couldn't be in the studio, on live TV like I was, since they had to add subtitles in Hebrew to my parents bit.

My phone kept ringing because apparently Channel 2 was running my story and clips as the teasers to the 6 o'clock news, so people kept calling to say they'd seen me on TV.

Then I went to the Channel 2 studios in Neve Ilan, got my makeup done. I looked fabulous, if I may say so myself. Snaps to Keren, the makeup artist, who made me look beautiful and natural. On TV it looked like I had no makeup, just that I was born with flawless skin and perfectly colored eyes, lips and cheeks. If anyone needs a makeup artist for a special occasion, I took her card.

Then I met Oded, the newscaster. I didn't recognize him (I don't watch TV) but he was very friendly. I sat in the studio with him, at the desk, and listened while he did the other news. It was rather funny being able to read the teleprompter and see how it all works.

After about 15 minutes they came to my story. First they ran the clips of me greeting my parents at the airport. Then Oded interviewed me live, in Hebrew, for a while, while I talked about my life, and what it was like meeting my parents at the airport. Then they ran some clips of interviews I had done 2 years earlier, when I explained my motivation for making aliyah, and my hopes for my klitah. Of course, those clips were in English and subtitled.

I was so proud that after only 2 years I could appear on live television in Hebrew. After they ran the old clips, Oded asked me what had changed and happened over the past 2 years. So I said, "Well, firstly, right now I am talking in Hebrew, and back then I could only talk in English!" I was also proud to be able to tell them how I had managed to keep myself very gainfully employed since arrival, and that only a week earlier I had found out I was accepted to the most prestigious nursing school in the country!

Of course, at the very end, I made a Hebrew mistake, which I think added character and authenticity to the show. I was explaining about my parents thoughts and fears, and I said "When I arrived I was also mafchida" (scary). Obviously I meant to say "Hifchaditi" (I was scared). Oded then said "You're not scary! You're anything but scary! Maybe you were scared but definitely not scary."

* I am loving having my dear friend Mia here as my new roomate and as a new olah! She is such a wonderful person, and a nurse to boot, so having her around will be even more wonderful. She is one of the most inspirational people I know, and living with her will only help me a better, kinder person.

I know more stuff is going on...including more D. updates, but this post is already too long!

Monday, August 09, 2004

A Look Backwards and Forwards

In less than 48 hours I'll be meeting my parents at Ben Gurion Airport and welcome them as new olim (immigrants) to Israel.

This is pretty huge. My folks speak no Hebrew, don't know their way around Jerusalem, and are less "adjustable" than younger people. I always thought I would have a bit more time before I'd have to be a parent to my parents.

I remember when I first told them of my own aliyah plans, 2 1/2 years ago. My parents were not pleased. They thought I was being irresponsible, condemning myself to a life of poverty, joblessness and that I would never learn hebrew.

Slowly they came around, and by the time I flew out expressed their jealousy at my ability to take off and fly.

And now they're doing it too. The flat I've rented for them currently contains nothing but a refrigerator (thanks Martyn) and my pesach dishes. Don't tell them that.

And with them on the plane will be my brave, warm brilliant friend Mia, who will also be my roomate once she lands. I'm really proud of her and am so happy she's joining me here! I was just looking at some online photos of her aliyah parties. Her friends clearly love her to bits...the party was themed kachol v'levan (blue and white -- the colors of Israel's flag) - they even had blue cake with white icing!

And looking forwards, I'm so excited about school. I found out yesterday that my acceptance is conditional on passing a certain level of Hebrew test. I'm a little nervous, though apparently I got above the required level on the test when I took it 2.5 years ago. Before ulpan, before living here, before anything. So I should pass. And things have been working out so well so far!

I was reviewing for the test and I came across an unfamiliar word. "L'hitmazeg" I had no idea what it meant. So I asked my boss. Her face turned a funny color and she looked at me weirdly. And then she asked why I wanted to know. So I told her. She regained her color and told me it was a clinical way of saying "to have sex". Oops.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

What Happens to A Dream Deferred?

You know what? I don't want to know. Because I'm going for mine.

So, here's the scoop. Yesterday morning, I called the OSS lady to see what happened. She said "Good news! You've been accepted." I thought the committee was supposed to be deciding whether they could accept my application, not me. I didn't realize I would know so quickly.

I must have asked the OSS lady 10 times...
Me: "So, I've been accepted to the school"
OSS Lady: "Yes, to the school of nursing"
Me" "The Hadassah Hebrew University School of Nursing?"
OSS Lady: "The very same. We'll send you an official letter tomorrow"
Me: "So I can take this letter and then go register for classes with it?"
OSS Lady: "Yes"
Me: "And I'll be a student...because I've been accepted?"

You get this picture.

Next up, I had to tell my boss I was leaving!

Surprisingly, she was very nice about it. In light of our conversation last week she wasn't shocked that I was moving on. She was shocked that it was to go back to school. Particularly to nursing. Though after a few seconds, she said she was really happy for me because she thought that nursing was really my true calling. She offered me a generous severance package (really nice because I wasn't fired, I quit) and I offered to stay on until she found someone to replace me. She asked me to stay until Rosh Hashana (mid-September) which would give me a month off before classes started. Not too bad.

And...I just got a phonecall from Channel 2 (in Israel) and I'll be on tonight at 6:00 pm!! When I first arrived here 2 years ago, I was on TV a lot. The media seemed to love my young, idealistic Zionism, my get-up-and-go (since I literally got up and went) and probably my shoddy Hebrew. I did lots of live interviews in Hebrew, but its been almost 1.5 years since my last real interview.

During the pre-interview on the phone they seemed pleased that my Hebrew has improved, that I finally got my driver's license and that I had great news to share with them about nursing school and that my parents are making aliyah in less than a week!

So...tape me!!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Nurse Noa

I GOT IN!!!!!!!

More details later, but I just got off the phone with Hebrew University, and apparently yesterday's committee decided to accept me on the spot!!! So now I get to quit my job, take a much-needed vacation to help my folks adjust to Israel, and then fulfill my dream which has been on hold for a few years!!!!


Monday, August 02, 2004

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Here's what's new in Casa de Noa

* I moved! Moving all went off without a major hitch. My very strong little brother did almost all of the heavy lifting and carrying himself. I merely sat there and worried. And the guy I paid to help us, mostly loaded and unloaded the van, while my brother did the major. Litte Bro was a huge help, and really nice about it.

The new roomate is great, she left this morning for America for 2 plus months. And my wonderful dear friend Mia is making aliyah next week and then will be joining me. So for the next week its just me and Sharona (my doggie -- currently recovering from her rabies shot).

* Work is going rather badly. My boss has not made any more mention of "parting ways" since last week's conversation, and in fact has put me on some new projects. However, she's starting to get really rude and unpleasant. And I'm getting more and more bored. I'm hoping to go back to school, and due to a long, complicated screw-up it may or may not happen. Please, everyone in blog-land, pray it happens for me!

Basically the gist of the story is this.

In April I called the university to see about applying. In Israel the application season opens in late January, with the majority of applications happening in the March/April area depending on one's intended field of study. Answers are usually received by June-July. So I called in April and was told that:
a) The university was unsure if they would be having a class for the Nursing School. They said to call back in July, when they would have a better idea.
b) As a new immigrant, I am required to apply through the Office of Overseas Students (OSS), so the Nursing School couldn't talk to me anymore.

I called the OSS and they confirmed what was said. That I needed to call back in July, because they were unsure of having a class. They said not to apply, rather to wait.

So I called the Nursing School back last week and said "Hi. It's now July (late July). Can I apply?" And whomever I spoke to said "Yes, sure...there's plenty of room still. Open spots". Of course, they said since I am an immigrant I have to apply through the OSS.

I called the OSS and said "Hi. It's July. The Nursing School said to apply, can I come in and apply?" And the woman said "Yes, but you should do it soon. Applications will close eventually". This was last Wednesday morning. So I said "Is it urgent, should I come in tomorrow, or can it wait until Sunday?" And She said, "It can wait til Sunday".

So, on Sunday I went in to apply. She looked at SAT scores (the only criteria they care about) and said "Yup, they're high enough to get in." Then she said to fill out the application, but that she needed to check one thing. She came back and said "Bad news...they closed applications as of today."


The Nursing School told me on Wednesday they had lots of room. The OSS told me on Wednesday I could wait til Sunday. And on Sunday they closed. She said the only thing I could do was write a letter to some appeals committee and hope. She said if there is physically no room, I am out of luck. But if there is physically room, the committee may be able to at least let the Nursing School review my application.

Then yesterday (monday) I went to the Nursing School and spoke to an admissions counselor. I told her what happened. She said that the person i spoke to on Wednesday was wrong, and she should not have told me they were still wide open. And she said whoever I spoke to in April should have told me to apply anyway, not to wait til July. That person, mind you, was her. I spoke to her.

She then called her boss, and wrote a letter to the committee saying that they should help me and that if my scores were high enough they should accept me because "a mistake had been made". I loved the passive from of the verb. No one who actually made the mistake would say "Whoops. We screwed up. Sorry. Here, let's help you". They would simply say, "Wow...someone made a mistake. Don't know who. But let me see what I can do to help."

So the committee apparently was meeting this morning and I am now at their mercy waiting for an answer. One would assume that if a letter was written by the admissions head of the Nursing School saying to accept me if my scores are in order that there is in fact at least one spot left for little old me. And having been told my scores were high enough, one can hope they would let me occupy that spot. But we shall wait.

Meanwhile, if anyone out there in blog-land knows someone in admissions at the Hadassah Nursing School please, lend me your vitamin P (Proteksia...as in "It's not what you know, its who you know").

* The folks are arriving in one week. And the flat is mostly empty. Though I got them a very cute doorsign that incorporates their new hebrew names and the family pets. So there's a lovely sign welcoming them to their totally bare home!

* As for D., the love and light of my life. I have decided to try one last method....the "you catch more flies with honey..." approach. I am big enough to admit that over the past few months I have been angry at D. (for not wanting to get married, for not bringing me flowers, for whatever) and I do understand why he wouldn't want to marry someone who yells at him on a weekly basis. In some ways its been working for both of us. I've lengthened my fuse a bit. If he forgets to bring me flowers, or call or whatever, I have not bitten his head off. As a result, he calls more often, does nice things more often, probably because he's not worried about making a misstep.

While this has not yet led to a proposal, I am trying to ignore that for at least a month or so. We're both happier this way, and its far more enjoyable to be with each other. I'm just worried about investing more energy and still getting hurt. however, life and love is always a risk. No comments please on the D. issue. I love you all, and value your comments, but I find that they make my head spin sometimes and I begin to attribute speculations on D.'s feeling to D. himself, and end up getting mad at hime for things he never said or did.

Whew....that was long