Monday, December 19, 2005

The new home I love

We've actually made the real move this past week, received our brand new Toyota Corolla, and last night we signed on an apartment (on Ostrovsky street, for you Ra'anana-ites).

Ra'anana is defintiely the prettiest, cleanest place I have lived in since....forever (university experiences included Midtown Manhattan and West Philadelphia). I have seen almost no stray cats, no overflowing trash bins, and the street cleaners actually clean the street. This may be because instead of forcing the street cleaners to procure their own equipment (we've all seen the Jerusalem street cleaners using a stick to "sweep" trash into an empty box), Ra'anana gives them a handy little cart with brooms, supplies!! ANd probably they get paid reasonably on time.

The city clearly invests in the little things that make life easier. There are only 2 streets that have traffic lights in the whole place (the 2 main drags), but each traffic light is numbered. So when giving directions to someone, when you tell them to turn right at the 7th traffic light, they don't have to count, and hope they didn't miss one. Its all numbered!!

All of these little things the city does to make life easier seems to contribute to a more pleasant, easygoing population. I have to tone down my Jerusalem-acquired behaviors. In Jerusalem, when going to any sort of errand or task, one must always gear up for the big fight. If I am trying to go to the supermarket, I have to gear up to fight with at least one rude customer, who will usually come with elbows out to the cheese counter and "pretend" that she never heard of the concept of a line; then the customer who leaves an emtpy cart at the checkout line and ferries back and forth bewteen aisles, filling up her cart and daring anyone to "cut" her, though all the other customers are waiting while she's still shopping; and finally the fight with the checkout lady, who will go on her break just as it gets to your turn in line, or where there are never enough open checkout counters for the amount of customers (why bother having 19 checkouts if there are never more than 3 open?).

Juxtapose this to Ra'anana where the security guard politely greets you and asks if he can hold your dog while you shop (subtle way of saying no dogs allowed) - which he actually does! (to the point that Sharona didn't want to come back to me). At the cheese counter, the cheese lady tried to serve another customer who came after me, but that customer said, "No, I think she was here first". At the checkout line, another customer helped me bag my groceries!!!

I have found the way to relax, its called moving to Ra'anana.

As for driving to Jerusalem every day - on the way home, no matter what time it ever takes me longer than an hour. Yesterday I left Ra'anana at 8:45, thinking I'd miss the traffic, but I got stuck at a few places and it took 1.5 hours to get there. But this morning I left at 6:40 am, and it took me under an hour!! So clearly, the trick is to go before the traffic.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank Keren, the Ra'anana blogger who tracked me down and invited me for Shabbat lunch. I'm really sorry we had other plans, but you really made us feel welcome!

Forget Jerusalem - I'm converted.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Little Miracle

This has been a rather crazy week - we moved to Ra'anana (though realized halfway there we forgot the housekeys), Bryan started his new job, and I have been sans internet almost the whole week.

However the most exciting thing that happened this week was that I was present for the birth of my friends JJ and Bayla's little boy. And though I must have seen about 50 kids born (more on that in a minute), each birth always makes me cry and each birth is different in its own way.

Because I hang out in a major Jerusalem hospital all day, every day, whenever friends come into the hospital for one reason or another, I usually get a call to come visit (or translate). So when Rachel (who drove JJ and Bayla to the hospital) called me in the middle of class on Monday, I knew before answering that Bayla, who was close to a week overdue, was at the hospital and I was right.

When I was in college I used to want to work in midwifery/obstetrics in some capacity. (Funny how you can never really suppress life's dreams - just save them for later) I had a summer job working in the office of a large gynecology/OB practice, mostly doing filing and stuff, but one of the doctors knew I wanted to be a midwife/OB so she ivited me to come along with her when she had on-call days, either for delivery or surgery. Through her (Thanks Dr. Cramer) I got to see all kinds of deliveries and surgeries and it was a wonderful summer experience. I discovered I was really good at keeping the parents-to-be calm during the delivery. Since it was a fairly low-class area in the South, there were some young moms giving birth, and I got to help them out too.

Eventually I became a delivery whore - I would convince doctors I knew to let me come watch. Sometimes they'd even let me do exciting things - like hold retractors, or the mother-to-be's hand. I got to follow a neonatalogist around while she was on call (and thus saw quintuplets being born!). In the university cafeteria I made friends with some guy who it turned out was an infertility specialist and he let me come to work with him and watch IVF procedures (and hold the needle!), egg collections and then the results of all those procedures being born.

So when Bayla and JJ showed up, I had had some experience with birth (plus I delivered my dog's puppies (including a breech) and some calves on kibbutz). Little did we realize Bayla was in for a long haul. Do to some medical complications, Bayla was induced into labor, but it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

I'll save you all the gory details, but suffice it to say they arrived at the hospital at 11:00 am on Monday and the kid wasn't born until 5:15 p.m. Tuesday!

The most amazing part of the birth was the look on Bayla and JJ's face when the baby finally made his way into the world. It was such a look of shock, more on Bayla than JJ I think. Like she couldn't believe that at the end of all the pushing and pain and 10 months of shlepping there was a actually a little boy waiting for them. JJ was so stunned he just sat there staring at the baby. It was a really beautiful moment. Another little miracle (as all healthy babies are). When you learn about all the things that can and do go wrong for other people all day, you really appreciate the true miracle it is to have a beautiful healthy baby. When you realize how many tiny little things the human body does to make growing such a child possible, how many normal physiologic body processes have to be altered to allow for pregnancy, how incredibly brilliant the body is, then you really get to appreciate that having a baby is nothing short of a miracle.

I'll be the first to admit that there was a point in my life when I'm not so sure I believed in G-d (and no, it wasn't during any specific "bad" point in my life). But the more I learned science and biology, the more I saw all of those things I told you about above, the more I studied the human body, the more I know that we are no accident or even the work of evolution. I know with perfect certainty that a greater being was responsible for my existence and the fact that my body functions the way it does.

Mah Rabu Ma'asecha Hashem [how great is Your handiwork, G-d].

And the first thing JJ and Bayla's little miracle did once he made it out into the world was to pee all over the midwife!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

How did you get here?

I finally decided to add sitemeter to my blog, and let me tell you, tracking that stuff is so much more interesting than even checking my own email.

I think by far the funniest "referral page" I've seen is someone who got to my blog searching for "Did Hebrew women wear panties?"

I feel a sense of obligation to answer that question, but I'll need some more info for that. Did you mean ancient Hebrew women, or modern ones. By "Hebrew" do you mean Jewish or Israeli?

Also, in the past 12 hours people have read my blog from all kinds of funky places. Plus, one man/woman was searching for pornography (and somehow got to my blog :) from his/her place of work at the Maryland Office of the Courts. So we have some pretty ballsy readers here! This sitemeter thing is way fun!

Anyway, Bryan is off at Toyota test-driving and ordering the Corolla. I thank everyone for the feedback, especially Lisoosh and her mechanic husband, and Treppenwitz for all their help and advice. We made the "safe" decision in the end, no risks.

And I am currently cutting school today, since yesterday I did not one stitch of packing, but rather spent the day reading other people's blogs from beginning to end, and then treating myself to a burger on Emek Refaim, where I ran into one blogger friend, saw the friend who directed the play which was Sharona's (my dog) theatrical debut, shared fries with my friend Bayla who was due to give birth yesterday, but was still hanging in, and then finally a guy I know who was (I am pretty sure) on a date, sat down with his date to join me, then chucked his date at her house, walked *me* home, and then asked for my number. The guy very much knows I am married, and it was a really awkward situation for me.

He and I are not so friendly that we speak other than when we bump into each other, and while I think everyone needs friends, and even new friends, it seemed weird to be giving a guy my phone number when he had just chucked his date to walk me home. I have no idea what the agenda was, or if there was one.

Anyway, I'm really supposed to be packing now. If Bryan comes home from buying the car, and I am still doing nothing, it will be not good.