Monday, January 21, 2013

Life Ch-ch-ch-changes

This is the view from the apartment we didn't take. 

I can't believe how long it's been since I last sat down and wrote a blog. I've gotten really spaced out in my blogging (in more ways than one), and for that I apologize immensely -- to you and to myself. I guess I've just been spending a lot of time trying to figure out life, what with a lost job, ulpan (intensive Hebrew learning) starting, and figuring out the logistics of marriage and starting life anew. 

So I've been applying to dozens of jobs every day, hoping to land something even part-time in the copywriting, editing, social media, SEO, or blogging world without much luck. I still have my part-time gig with Taste Guru back in the U.S., which is going really great (watching the Facebook likes and Twitter followers rise every day is the best treat in the world for me), but it doesn't pay all the bills I need it to, unfortunately. I'm happy that Mr. T has gainful employment and that he supports me in whatever I do (honestly, too), but after being financially arrested during my marriage, I found my way on my own with employment, paying off credit card debt incurred during my divorce and move, and living independently, so not having that comfort now with my lost job with CAJE has my stomach in knots. It's a weird feeling. 

Thus I've started Ulpan Etzion and have finished about a week in the program, although the first few days were lots of ice breakers and administrative things that didn't put us in the classroom. Right now there are roughly four levels below where I am, and several above. Essentially, I'm smack dab in the middle of the more than 200 students in this "class" of Ulpan Etzion. We're the 127th group to go through Israel's oldest ulpan, which is a pretty amazing feeling to be part of such an amazing and historic group of people. I'm in Kitah Bet Echad (כיתה ב-1), but I'm already feeling like I possibly should be one level up because the verb review and grammar are like air -- easy as breathing for me. I also think that being surrounded by people who are also stumbling in their various ways has allowed me to actually start using my Hebrew verbally, which is nice. I find myself talking to Mr. T a lot in Heebrish, but I still struggle when I'm in a store or restaurant. It's like I know they know that I'm Anglo and that chances are good I'm going to say something absolutely silly. 

But the truth is that I'm loving ulpan. I might not be learning much right now, and I might hate the textbook we're probably going to be using (I used the textbook in my first year of Hebrew at the University of Connecticut and actually finished the book, so …), but being in an environment where there are people devoted to learning the language and where most are taking it fairly seriously is a truly unique experience. It doesn't compare AT ALL to my experience at the Middlebury College ulpan, which took me from aleph-bet to where I am now, because there people spoke Hebrew in class, out of class, at the coffee shop, and in the car. It was everywhere, and that's what made it stick. In Israel, Hebrew is everywhere, but so is English. From the first month I was here until now, I use Hebrew a lot less. I'll be honest -- Israel makes it too easy to keep English as your 24/7 language. 

In other news, Mr. T and I are moving! Well, we've shaken on it so far, but we're moving to Neve Daniel so that I can join Har Ha'Bloggerim! We found a nice two bedroom, two bathroom apartment there with a beautiful mirpeset (balcony/patio) that has a small living/dining space that we're happy with. Mr. T has the most amazing outlook on life, and that is that we try something out, see if we like it, and if we don't, we figure something else out. He's easy going, confident, and patient. The funny thing is, I'll be able to get to Ulpan Etzion more quickly from Neve Daniel than from where I live in Jerusalem … and yes, I know I'll now be living "over there" across the green line. Am I worried? No. I've spent plenty of time in the Gush, and it's the most beautiful place on earth, if you must know. In some places, you feel peace, serenity, and you know that HaShem is there. That's how the Gush is for me. 

What else? I'm getting married in less than a month. Wow. Also? I might be going to England for Pesach, which is amazingly awesomely cool because I've never been to only two countries in my lifetime so far -- Israel and the U.S. 

Life is nuts. I feel like I have so many Israel-based reflections to make on the people, the food, the aura, everything, but the moment I think of it, *poof* it's gone. So what do you want to know? Hop over to Ask Chaviva Anything! and fill out the form. Seriously, give me a reason to think!