Saturday, July 08, 2006

Using my Hebrew - ha!

This week, during a visit to Israel, my husband and I drove to the section of Jerusalem called Talpiot, where there are a lot of furniture stores, to look for a couch to replace the hand-me-down we got when we first opened the apartment.

We found one couch that we liked, but it was the first store that we looked in, so we didn't buy it. We went to a second store where the salesman spoke some English but I tried to speak to him in Hebrew a little.

With these couches, you have to order them and they take two weeks to make. There was a couch there that was close to the couch we really wanted and close to the color we really wanted, so I asked if we could buy that exact couch off the floor instead of waiting two weeks for a new one to be made.

I was trying to explain that we wanted the couch as soon as possible since we're only going to be in Israel for a short time, so I said, "Anachnu b'aretz rak shalosh shavuot." (Translation: "We're only in the country for three weeks.")

Well, he thought we were olim chadashim (new immigrants)! He gets a big smile on his face and says, "Bruchim habayim!" and "Welcome to Israel!" and "This is your REAL home." Then he gets on the phone with someone at the factory and pleads with her that we are olim chadashim and we have nowhere to sit, so can she please make the couch as fast as possible?

He was so happy for us that we didn't have the heart to tell him that we aren't really olim chadashim. Sof, sof (in the end), it's still going to take shvuayim (two weeks) to make the couch. We left the store feeling a little guilty, though we really didn't mean to mislead him. But we thought, oh, so that's how olim chadashim feel, being welcomed everywhere.

I have to tell you, it was a nice feeling.

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