So, today I went to the Misrad HaKlita in Modiin. It is located in a caravan amongst a group of caravans at the entrance to Modiin from C'vish 443. I needed to be there because I had not yet given them my banking info for my sal klita and I really needed that to be taken care of. I did not have an appointment. The woman with whom I was to do this business was Liora and her English was not good, and even though I am Kita Gimmel level Hebrew, the phone is IMPOSSIBLE for me. I have a hard enough time deciphering English on the phone, forget about Hebrew. I explained to her that I cannot hear, I am hard of hearing, wear hearing aids and the phone is impossible. We exchanged emails in which she told me I needed to make an appointment to see her. I asked her, via email, when and where and I would be there. She never responded. Finally, I asked and learned her schedule and just showed up.
That was today. As soon as she was not busy with other olim, I entered her office, sat down opposite her. Immediately she tells me she cannot deal with me without an appointment -- I have to make an appointment. I tell her, in Hebrew, just do ONE thing, one simple thing: take my bank info and arrange for my sal klita to be deposited into my bank account. That's all. So, she agreed but said that she would not be able to spend time explaining things to me. I smiled and said that would fine. So, she began to set up the sal klita deposit for me. While she did this, I smiled at her and then started to ask her (in Hebrew, of course -- she is Russian), how long she is in Israel, how many languages she knows, and other things. Result? She flipped, she warmed up to me, smiled and became friendly. And..she explained EVERYTHING to me. I kept saying, there are people waiting, and she said, "Let them wait". She was SO nice to me. At the end though, before she bade me l'hitraot (see you later), she reminded me to make an appointment! I smiled and said sure!
Yesterday I was at the local Rami Levy supermarket, picking up a few things. In the checkout line, in front of me was a woman with her two daughters. I was watching them and noticed that every time the older daughter spoke to her mother she tapped her on the arm or shoulder and always looked straight at her face. I surmised that the mother must be deaf but was not sure. After a while my curiosity got the better of me, and I tapped the woman on the arm and asked about that. She confirmed my guess, that she was deaf. Her lipreading was impeccable. I told her that I wanted to learn Hebrew from her daughter because I could read her lips so well too!! She too, spoke no English. I told her a bit about my own hearing loss and my experiences. It was a nice connection to make.
The day before that, I had car trouble. I have been driving a rented car. The battery was dead when I went out in the morning to start it up and my amazing neighbors came to my rescue with jumper cables and a powerful jump start. We let it run a while and then I went about my business. I made a few stops, with no problem. Then, my last stop, also at the Misrad HaKlita (that time about ulpan), the battery was again dead. And so was my cell phone! So there I was with a dead car, dead phone, in a country that I have only been in for a few weeks, and with a language that I am not so fluent in....I hiked back to the Misrad HaKlita and explained my predicament. Rita (Rakezet Ulpan) was fabulous. She called the rental company for me and told them the problem. They said they would come but it would be an hour because they were coming from Netanya. So Rita told them to call HER when they arrived, and she told me to sit in the air conditioned office and have a cold drink too! I sat there and then others came in the office and I was included in the discussions! It was so funny, no one is concerned about privacy at all! I had a good time while waiting for the auto technician to arrive. He was going to jump me but I told him no, I want a NEW BATTERY, this happened TWICE and it is NOT good. He shrugged and did as I asked. He was courteous enough though.
So, these vignettes have been just a few of the things I have experienced thus far...I am truly enjoying myself here.