We're coming up on five weeks in Israel. We've made much progress in getting registered in all the government systems in which we need to get registered, and getting the things done that all new olim have to do. As an aside, it's a puzzlement to me how olim who start ulpan right away and sit in class from 8 AM-1 PM Sunday through Thursday manage to get any of this stuff done.
We've had a range of experiences, from the shockingly inefficient to the incredibly easy. A couple of examples of the latter will help illustrate.
In our health fund, there's a full-service pharmacy just steps away from my new doctor's office. She gave me a prescription, so I walked the 3.5 seconds from her office to the pharmacy, took a number and waited under 5 minutes. When my number was called, I stepped up to the counter and handed the clerk my prescription which was filled on the spot. In and out in under five minutes, prescription in hand, at a total cost of less than 12 shekels (about 3 bucks).
Today, we went to an office of the Misrad HaRishui (the Ministry of Vehicle Licensing) to collect the next document in our quest for an Israeli driver's license. I just love when a government office offers numbers at the entrance. It's a bit like a bakery perhaps, but it saves so much tension knowing that my non-Hebrew-speaking self will not be overlooked.
The office was huge and clean and orderly. We headed to a few seats in the ample seating area, prepared to wait our turn. Before I had all the documents in hand, our number was called. Up to the window we stepped and, again, we were out of there lickety-split with the next document in our "earn-an-Israeli-driver's-license" scavenger hunt. Anticipating a long and complicated process, we way overpaid on the meter. By the time we got back, we had been away only 20 minutes, which included the walk from the car to the office, the more-thorough-than-usual security check, the wait for our turn at the window, the receipt of our documents and the walk back to the car. We looked at each other and laughed because we didn't quite know what to do with the extra 2 hours with which we had just been gifted.
At the same time, we are aware that we are living in the calm before the storm.
In under a week, our lift is due to arrive at our new home. That's when the fun begins. Oy! We're already regretting half the stuff we sent because we simply have no clue where we'll put it, and where we'll leave it until we figure out where to put it.
And, in a few short weeks, our daughters, who are spending most of the summer in America, return home to Israel. Then the fun really begins.
For now, we're in something of a state of forced relaxation. We have a list. Of course we do. But with our household goods still on a vessel somewhere in international waters, our daughters in camp 6000 miles away and the rest of the country seemingly on vacation (did you ever try to get an Israeli to call you back in August?), there are real limits on what we can accomplish.
Soon, very soon, it will all hit us. Until then, we're very much aware of the necessity of enjoying all this enforced leisure.