Friday, March 2, 2012

Pay Attention in Class!

Shalom, chaverim! It's been a relatively quiet week in Nahariya, but one thing certainly caught our attention Tuesday morning at Ulpan. The night before had been very noisy, as there were a lot of fighter jets flying around Nahariya, so I hadn't gotten much sleep. Nahariya is less than ten miles south of the border with Lebanon, so there are plenty of military stations in the area. Hearing jets fly by, even those that are so fast that they create literally bone-chilling, building-shaking sonic booms, was nothing new. But there had been so many jets, flying around for so many hours, that it was definitely noticeable and disruptive. Was there something afoot?

So, somewhat bleary-eyed, I stumbled into Ulpan on Tuesday morning. We were laboriously copying down a long list of high-frequency verbs in the imperative form, e.g."Bo!" "Zuz!", which reminded me for some reason of Solzhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelago." Still, it was a welcome relief after spending two days learning the parts of the body, and practicing how to complain to the doctor about what hurts where. I am getting to an age where the power of suggestion of illness strangely seems to have more and more power over me.*

All of a sudden, sirens began wailing. Our teacher Galit, who is always our substitute teacher on Tuesdays, seemed very surprised indeed. She told us to leave our things in the classroom and get to the basement bomb shelter immediately. In this case, it appeared to also normally serve as a martial arts studio, albeit one with an extremely heavy, bank vault-type door. We high-tailed it out of there and got downstairs, and looked at each other in astonishment. Fortunately, when we had been in the shelter for less than three minutes,  the sirens stopped and we were given the all-clear. Back to the classroom we went. Apparently, the siren blast had been simply part of a training exercise that the public (or at least the staff of the Ulpan) didn't know about. At the time, we weren't sure if it was meant to be a kind of "pop quiz" in emergency preparedness, or if someone was just testing the sirens, or what. We found out the next day that it had indeed been a planned test, but for some reason none of the staff at Ulpan Nahariya had gotten the memo about it.

Although I have made a deliberate choice to avoid discussing Israeli and Middle Eastern politics in this blog, it does not mean, of course, that I don't talk about them at home or amongst friends. We don't know how, when, or even if the discord between Israel and Iran will be resolved, much less in what manner. The diversity of opinions expressed in the media seems to make things more confusing, not less. Will Israel make a pre-emptive strike against Iran? Will the United States become involved, and if so, how? Will Iran attempt to attack Israel in some way? What is actually going on? Everyone has an opinion, but no one really seems to know. But hearing those sirens, and not being prepared for them, certainly brought home the fact that for all of Israel's modernity and European and North American influences, we are indeed still smack dab in the Middle East.

Our shelter wasn't nearly as sophisticated as this Tel Aviv one, but it seemed pretty sturdy all the same. (Thanks to the Times of India for this photo.)

Pini and Dudu Galoshes Update

Back to the life lived ordinarily. Friends have begun to ask me whether we have our new kittens, Pini and Dudu Galoshes, yet. We spent last weekend with baited breath, waiting by the phone for our veterinarian to call us to tell us to come collect them. After receiving no call from him, I couldn't wait any longer and called him on Sunday (Israel's equivalent of Monday) to see what was happening. In a nutshell, he needs about one more week with the kittens to socialize them better and get them used to being indoors.

The kittens and their mother were literally dumped at his front door about two months ago. The mother has stayed with her kittens and continues to be extremely protective of them. Thus, it was hard to catch them in order to help them get used to being handled by humans and being indoors. I asked if we could come to visit them, but he said they still weren't ready for that yet--they would just run and hide from us if we came. The vet doesn't yet know which ones are boys and which ones are girls. But he does know that they are "black and grey and fuzzy," which is good enough for me!

Wouldn't it be cool if Pini and Dudu Galoshes were both as cute as this kitten?

By the way, does anyone know of an Israeli distributor of "Sticky Paws," the double-sided tape you put on furniture (especially impossibly white, leather, landlord-owned furniture like ours) to prevent cats from scratching it to ribbons? I want our dear landlords, who are readers of this blog, to know we are taking extra precautions to protect their lovely things from tiny claws.

Shabbat shalom, chaverim! And of course, if for some reason you can't see the two pictures I posted here, go directly to my blog site at .

*I wrote this sentence four days ago. The next day, I came down with a screaming, streaming cold and have been out of commission for the past three days. Power of suggestion, indeed!

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    I could use some real info on the benefits/disadvantages of moving to the North, if you would be willing to share you thoughts.
    Thank you!


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