I think I titled this post "Processing" because as much as this blog is a way to inform friends and family about what's going on with us - it also helps me sort things out in my head.
What I'm thinking, feeling, what's going on. I wish I were able to just send my thoughts to the blog as I am walking somewhere or for example, tonight as I was driving home from Petach Tikvah. Thinking thoughts. :) I'll try to convey them now.
Well, one thing that I have started feeling more and more is that I really love it here in Ariel and I hope that things work out and we stay. What does that mean you wonder? If you love it, then stay. But it's not so easy. For one thing, my family has to be happy here. And for another, there are a few things that we really hope will happen in order for us to really want to stay.
We need a few more Anglo's. Young couples, maybe a couple kids, people in the same stage as we are. And most important - people that will live in our area! There were quite a few Olim Chadashim to Ariel this summer and some that already live here. And whether they are in the same stage in life as us or not isn't as much of the issue. The problem is that we Anglo's are being spread all over Ariel. Not that the place is huge. But there are in fact, 3 neighborhoods and if your kids don't go to the same Gan or we don't go to the same shul, we don't see each other. And the fact that we don't see each makes it feel like we are much more spread apart.
Now, I am not quite in agreement with Shauli who wants an Anglo ghetto. Or says he does. But I wouldn't mind just a few more Anglo's in a similar position as we are, that live closer to us.
I think that's probably the biggest issue. There are other things that we wouldn't mind being different but I think we will get that in any city.
As far as the positives, there are many. The community and people here are FAN-TASTIC. They have been so generous and helpful and we have made a lot of Israeli friends as well as making friends with the Anglo's. I love the feeling of Ariel. That we live on a mountain and are 2 minutes from a beautiful overlook. In fact, I have part of that view just sitting here at my desk, looking out the window.
I love that this is a big enough city that we have a couple bigger grocery stores (not just Makolets) and a City Center and not everyone knows your business. But not so big that I feel lost. I love that it is a 5 minute walk from Jonah's Gan and a 12 minute walk from Sammy's daycare. Which is right across from our Kupat Cholim (health care clinic). It's a 7 minute walk to Shul and if we want to make the BIG trek to town, that's about 25 minutes.
I love that I feel safe and secure in this city and that we have guards at the gate and a security fence. That they are keeping an eye on everyone that enters the city. But I love that I can leave the city and see people riding donkeys to go harvest their olive trees. I don't know why but I get SUCH a kick out of that! Donkeys, strolling down the highway.
I love that we are not too far from the other major cities. Half hour to Jerusalem (but then factor in a half hour of traffic and getting lost IN Jerusalem), 20 minutes to Petach Tikvah, 45 minutes to Modiin, 45 minutes to Netanya, 2 hours from Maalot. We're right in the middle. Granted, I may change the way I feel once we return our rental car. :)
As far as adjusting.....the adjustment is HUGE!!!!! It's not easy. I won't lie. And interestingly enough, I would say Jonah is adjusting the best. By far!! He's amazing. He had a really rough few weeks in the beginning. Probably about the first 3 weeks. And that was hard to deal with. It made me keep wondering, OMG, what did we do? But now - he's doing great! He never fails to impress me. He's making friends right and left. He already has his close buddies, his English (and Hebrew) speaking friends - Leah and Gili Shira. And his Hebrew speaking friends (NO English at all), Shachar, Yedidya, and Mevaseret. And possibly, Elimelech Avraham. I say possibly because Jonah talks about him a lot but I have never actually seen them play together. Jonah has gotten so much more comfortable with his Gan, with the language, with his friends - he has become so much more confident! A couple weeks ago, I wanted to write him a Mitzvah note to put on the Mitzvah Rimon (pomegranate). But he insisted that we don't write it. English, Hebrew, nothing. When I dropped him off, I mentioned it to his teacher and she said he was probably embarresed. Because when the kids bring in mitzvah notes, the teacher makes a BIG deal and calls them up to the front of the class and talks about what they did. Well, this Shabbat (Shabbas) Jonah was really making an effort to make Brachot on the foods he ate. Apparently , the Gan Rabbi (Harav Dadi) told them it's very important to make a lot of Brachot. It was very impressive so I asked if he wanted a mitzvah note (expecting a big NO WAY). He quickly agreed but did inform me that I would have to write it in Hebrew. AND that it would need to take up the entire page that I was writing on. :) He comes home everyday with a new Hebrew word or Hebrew song. And he adores the Gan Rabbi and never wants to be late and possibly miss "HaRav".
Sammy is having a little bit of a harder time. He finally attended his first full week of daycare last week. He cries when we get there and he cries when we pick him up. But they claim he does well during the day. They say he eats nicely, sleeps nicely, plays nicely. I was so happy when I went to pick him up today. He came to me with a biiiiig smile on his face. Instead of bursting into tears! I was so happy, I figured he must have had such a great day and he was finally getting used to being there. I picked him up and gave him a big hug, and the teacher promptly informed me that today he was biting kids ALLLLLL day long! Oh NOOOOOO! They mentioned this a different day and asked me to make sure to talk about it with him at home. But he doesn't do it at home. He pinches, if anything. But he doesn't generally bite! So how I am supposed to have a heart to heart with an 18 month old? The teachers tell me it's his age and it's because he's frustrated that he doesn't understand (they speak NO English). But I'm worried they are going to kick him out!
On the medical side of things, we took him back to the doc who declared him healthy except for the month and a half of diarrhea. His stool culture came back negative (I think) and he doesn't have a parasite. I bought a powdered Pro-Biotic and that actually got him back to normal within about a day of starting him on it. But when we skipped a day, it came back!! We see the doc tomorrow for a "Well-Baby" check up. And we'll see what he says.
Shu is doing ok. You should probably read his blog for more info on that. He's still job hunting and starting to actually get bored of sitting home all day with nothing to do. I am not sure if I should be happy for our lift to come because it will give him something to do or if I should be worried that he may be playing X-box all day instead of unpacking to keep himself busy.
I'm doing ok also. I am feeling more pregnant everyday and I think the easy part of pregnancy is over for me. I got a reprieve so I could function and make the BIG move. And now I am feeling it. Maybe twice as much. I can't believe I have another 3 months to go. On the other hand, thank G-d, I still have 3 months. Because I am TERRIFIED!!! Terrified of giving birth here, dreading another C-section, and scared to death of attempting to take care of 3 kids!! I feel my hands are full with 2. What am I going to do with a 3rd? And right now I am lucky - Shu is home with me! I don't want to think about what will happen Post-Baby and Post-Shu getting a job.
I went to the new OB today because I was seriously unimpressed with the one here. The one here was certainly more convenient!!! 12 minutes walking as opposed to 35 driving plus ?? parking! I got a recommendation for this one in Petach Tikvah. She was ok but I think Israeli doctors are just different. Really really really different. I don't see her for another 6 weeks so I guess it's not so crucial but man, oh man, do I miss Women's Health Consultants and Providence Hospital. I know the "program" there. Here I am just lost. And I won't even meet the person who will do my C-section until the day of. Let's just HOPE they speak English.
I'm having some bad back-aches (most likely pregnancy related) and am tired a lot (pregnancy or life-related). And I am just so busy. I feel like I don't have any time to myself and barely have time to breathe. The kids wake me up between 6:30-7:00 (sometimes even earlier, rarely any later). Then they need to be dressed, fed breakfast, and off to their respective schools. Usually Shu takes one kid and I take the other. It's a lot more traumatic for me to take Sammy though because he still doesn't like going. Jonah is practically ready to walk him self there! (Don't worry - it's not happening). Then I get home and start working (medical billing). I generally try to start by 8:30. I work work work and Jonah gets picked up at 1:30. Then I try to work, work, work some more. Sammy gets picked up at 4:00. He then attempts to attach himself to me for the rest of the evening. Our evening consists of trying to make dinner (with said Sammy attached), trying to get everyone to eat the dinner. And then either me or Shauli going to Ulpan from 6:00-9:00 three times a week. We just found out we will be having a Sheirut Leumi girl come to babysit on Sunday from 5:45 - 7:45 so we can both attend half a class together. :) They days it's my turn to go to Ulpan, I go and am there until 9:00. And the days that I don't go, I am home and go through the circus of putting the kids to bed. And after all that, I just want to fall over. So that explains why you in American haven't been getting too many phone calls from me. At the end of the day, I am just DONE! Heck, by the middle of the day, I am DONE!
So that's life. All in all, we're doing well. I may not have conveyed that well though. It's been frustrating not having our lift. I'm impressed with how the kids have handled not having toys. They've done well. We borrowed some train tracks from R&V so they mostly play with that. And we got them each a toy before Yom Kippur (to keep them busy) so they have a Parking Lot for matchbox cars and a big car carrier. And Jonah has a bag of dinosaurs. They've got a few books, some art supplies, and that's it for the most part.
We should be getting our lift tomorrow morning so that's exciting. And then we can officially lodge or post our complaints against our horrible, incompetent, unprofessional, shipping company.
I look forward to a few months from now. I look forward to being settled in, to getting used to how things work here (medically and otherwise), to learning the language better!!! To not feeling like such an Olah Chadasha. :) I look forward to feeling HOME.