Monday, December 19, 2011

The Trouble with Tongues

So Ariella has started doing my butcher orders.

Let me be clear - despite my lack of proficiency with the language of our forefathers, I can manage our weekly order. Mainly because there are no numbers above "400."

Ariella enjoys reciting the order along with me (she's memorized it, since I order the same exact thing every week), and one day, she asked if she could place the order. So I let her. The butcher laughed (nicely) when she got on the phone, so I quickly took the phone and told him, "This is my daughter, and I approve this order."

She did a great job.

And the best part - when she asked for "שריר," she didn't have to repeat herself! See, those double-reish words get me every time. And I have to try to rrrrroll them, because I noticed that they understand me better if I do, even though I think I sound like a cross between an aged cat choking up a hairball and Inigo Montoya.

Somehow, that's still better than just saying it with two American "r's." Even so, it usually needs a second take. "Shrrrreeerrrrr," I say, more adamantly, because everyone knows adamant=clarity.

But this whole being out-ordered by my 8-year-old just underscores the different worlds we live in. Us old folks will always be immigrants, no matter how much shoko b'sakit we drink. (Case in point: Transliterating Hebrew words, which I just did, is something Ariella thinks is the height of hilarity. "Oh so you're writing the Hebrew words in English letters! Hahahahahaha!") We could bathe in the stuff (the shoko, keep up), but we'll still be immigrants. But our children, even the two who are technically immigrants, already belong here in ways we never will.

Our children will experience things--army, obviously, sticks out in my mind--that we never did, and we won't be able to offer sage advice or wisdom. (Although I imagine, "Change your underwear with some regularity" and "Be nice to the secretary" holds true in many situations.)

But you know, it's a sacrifice for the next generation. Ariella and her children will all be able to roll their reishes together in perfect unison. They'll probably do it every night at dinner. She will be much more useful in guiding them through their post-high school experiences, though naturally, she won't be able to share with them details of her service in the top-secret intelligence unit.

However, she may have considerably less to blog about.

On that note, I would like to wish all my Loyal Readers a verr[cough, cough, sputter]rrrrry happy Chanukah, and to paraphrase my favorite vengeance-filled, fencing Spaniard, "Prepare to fry."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


That's numbers, people.

Today I reached a big milestone in my absorption. I said the number 7,500 in Hebrew. And I think I even got it right.

Every oleh has absorption goals. Some people want to "Drink Turkish coffee out of those tiny, tiny cups" or "Blithely wear t-shirts with inappropriate sayings because you don't realize they're inappropriate" or "Serve dinner to children at 8 PM (instead of getting ready to herd them into bed at that time so you can collapse on the couch I mean clean up.)"

For this year, I chose the lofty goal of "Writing checks in Hebrew." Until now, I took the easy way out and just wrote all my checks in English, because anything with four digits or more stumped me. But, I told myself, you are Israeli now. You must do as the Israelis do: Go to Eilat for Chanukah.

No, no, not THAT. We're talking about numbers. Pay attention, please?

Right. So I decided that this year, I would work on my Israeliness through numbers. Unfortunately, my go-to pal Google Translate is of no use here. Type in "1,465" in English, and it helpfully spits back, "1,465" in Hebrew.

But I will do it. And in fact, at the bank today, I did NOT need to say "elef PLOOSE elef PLOOSE elef PLOOSE elef PLOOSE elef PLOOSE elef PLOOSE elef. V'od chamesh mayot."

Yay me!

Next on the list:

Answering the phone with, "Ahh-lan!"

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ramblings: Nadav Edition

Let me tell you how things are really going down.

First off, Mommy is STILL bringing me to this "gan" place. Every. Single. Day. And she is STILL leaving me there. Doesn't she hear my heartbreaking little cries as she callously passes me off to a ganenet, like I'm just some sobbing sack of potatoes? (Do sacks of potatoes sob? Discuss.)

But it's okay, after a minute of crying, I get a cookie and then all is better. And to tell the truth, I have a pretty good day. First, they have waaaay better toys than at home. Example: At home, we have a few lame plastic animals. You've got your standard horse, sheep, alligator and space rocket. But at gan! The animals! There's a whole freakin' BUCKET of them! And the food - let me tell you, these ganenet types know their way around the kitchen. Such variety! At home, it's a lot of the same-old, same-old, from the food group known as Lazy. Gee, Mom, you know how to make both pancakes AND French toast? Someone get this lady a cooking blog! NOT!

So gan is all right, though I still don't understand why Mommy wants to bring me there instead of hanging out with me all day.

Anyway, she is still complaining that I do not talk enough. Again, I say: I completely understand everything I am saying. And yes, I call both Ariella and Yaakov "Lala." Is it MY fault the parental units chose to give them each different names? I didn't think so.

Although Mommy is impressed that I now understand directions. Sometimes it's "Throw that out," or "Bring me your shoes," or "Go find Ariella," (I'm never sure the purpose of this one. I think it's just to get me out of the room.) But mostly it's "Take that out of your mouth!" and "Don't swish your hands in the toilet!"

Sometimes, when I'm in my groove, having an especially good jam session of Pot Top Banging, Mommy will shout (she has to shout, see, 'cuz of the Pot Top Banging) "Please stoooopppppp!!!" Luckily, I just pretend I don't understand that one yet.

Also - weird - Daddy seems to be gone. One day he's here, next day, poof, nowhere in sight. Every so often, I hear his voice and I run, shrieking "Addy! Addy!" But then one of the Lalas just sticks the phone in my face and says, "Say hi to Daddy!" And I hear him, right? But I don't SEE him. This confuses me. How did he fit in the phone? And are there people hiding in all the phones? Maybe I should just lie down on Mommy for a while and suck my fingers while I ponder this.