לחץ and Oz

Since I moved out of חלץ, it seems my life has been pulled around by לחץ.

Anyway, after getting engaged and working on the timely aspects of wedding planning, (wait – what aspect isn’t timely?), I thought things would calm down a bit. They haven’t, due to the fact that having been caught up in initial wedding date setting, I was neglecting school and work. Mainly, school. And at work I had been developing this huge new project. And then I found an apartment for us to move into. And then I remembered the 20 page seminariyon due the following week. Then I got caught up in buying my brother a $450 ticket to NY so he can come with me in February. Then I worked on that paper a bit. Then we lost the amazing apartment we found an hour before signing. Then my driving teacher calls me and tells me my test is the next day. Then I get caught up in finding a new apartment, as well as a subletter for his old one. Then – the paper! Then the driving test, which I’m sure is rigged. Then finding a new apartment, the same as the one we lost, and even kind of better. Then passing the driving test, which I’m still sure is rigged. Then, taking off work to go to school to organize taking my finals in English – especially the one for the sociology class I never attend because I choose to go to work instead [that was a packed day (yesterday)]. Then finding out the paper actually doesn’t have a due date. Then going to the office gala dinner and laughing a lot.

And to think, I’m marrying an Australian, and fully expected to be influenced by his “no worries” culture, only to have him sucked in to my crazy, speedy, energetic NYC lifestyle.

Well, we need to work on that. I’m not marrying an Aussie in Israel to live like an American in New York City.

The world of women.

Something I haven’t yet explored here but has been on my mind since before I made aliyah is: my fear of Israeli women. They’re strong, they’re pushy, they could eat me alive. They know how to get what they want. Especially unnatural shades of red hair.
At least, that is how I saw them.

Well, I can safely say that I have made my first real Israeli female friend; and she defies those stereotypes by both being them and not being them (and she doesn’t have red hair). She’s funny, she likes shopping, she wants to get ahead at work, she loves to travel, we gossip, we laugh, we’re… friends. So, I’m feeling a lot better about Israeli women now.

On a wider scale, it’s interesting what I have noticed about female friendships in general. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit like an awkward 15-year-old boy asking a girl out to a high school dance when it comes to talking to girls I like (girls I don’t like don’t really get my attention).
But the few (invaluable) female friends I have collected over the last 4-5 years – across the globe – have all come with great efforts – on both our parts, probably. And they are really special to me. I know when they reach that level because there just comes a point where I know that I actually love my friend. There’s this female friendom that is so sacred, and if you reach it, then no regular bullshit friends can suffice any longer. And from all the traveling and moving I have done in the last few years, I have learned this over and over.

So, you know what? I’m not gynophobic, I’m just clever at discerning which women are worth my efforts.

American sketch!?

…I passed.

So I think what it is: this guy is hooked up with Nefesh b’Nefesh. Helping Americans get by, gaining more clients who can pay – I don’t know. Though I have been on this quest to beat the system, now that I have, I don’t want to jinx it.

If you’re in Jerusalem and want this guy’s number, I’ll be more than happy to share. Call me one of the sheep; I can now drive like a maniac in another country!

unAmerican sketch, part 2.

So, my driving instructor calls me earlier tonight to tell me that my test is tomorrow at 12pm.

“Tomorrow? Isn’t that a bit early? Isn’t it supposed to take weeks?”
“That’s when they gave me.”

I am very skeptical.

I called an Israeli friend and an American friend to do some fact-checking. Actually, there are no facts when it comes to the driving bureau, only sketch theories.

I called the driving instructor back pleading unable to take off from work. He told me he’ll pick me up from work. I’m wondering why he is so eager – who is getting their liscence, me or him? I continue to plead not ready for an exam without a lesson.

“You’ll do an hour with me before the test, that’s your lesson.”

“But I don’t even know Israeli road signs!”

“They’re just like New York. Just like you know.”

Finally, I come out and say it. I unload my theories on him.

“You know what it is? This is just all very weird to me and all my Anglo friends have failed the first time, even though they can drive, because Anglos seem to just get failed more. And I don’t want to do this twice, I don’t want to lay out money for no reason. It doesn’t make sense.”

“What, everyone passes! I just passed three on Friday.”

“Look, all I’m saying is, I don’t want to go through this unless I know I’ll pass.”

“You will pass.”

“Well, if you are saying that I will pass, then OK.”

Well, OK.

The unAmerican practice of sketch.

As of yesterday, I have embarked on a journey into the murky waters of the murky Israeli drivers bureau.

[Did you know? Israeli driving instructors are required to fail 50% of their testers every day.]

And there is a conspiracy theory that Israeli Anglos fail faster because the officials know that they will come back and do it again until they get their liscence, as not being able to drive for Anglos is unbearable… (same goes for Israeli Arabs, but it is actually not a theory; they actually fail most of the time, and it’s not because the bureau thinks it can make more money off of them, but because, well, do I have to spell it out?)

So I equipped myself with a recommended driving teacher, with a connection in the bureau who will test me and pass me… After paying a nice ammount of cash. Or, so I am told by a friend.

Me: “I heard that with you, I won’t fail.”
Teacher: (slight smirk) “Well, that depends on how you drive.”
-eyes lock-
I handed him my papers and hoped for the cheapest bribe… the friend shelled out 800 shekels by the end of the process…

In conclusion, I don’t know if that was stage 1 of the bribing process or it is only bribing when you actually pay. I’ve never done this before.

I’m American, dammit, not South African!

סנייק פיש

הלכנו לראות (וגם לשמוע!) את הדג נחש… סוף םוף, אחרי שנתיים שרציתי, ובקשתי פעמיים את חברים שלי לבוא איתי בנו יורק, אבל הם לא רצות ואז הלכו אחרי שעליתי! (איזה חוצפה באמת). אז היה כיף מעוד (אחרי שנתיים) במעבדה, ונהנתי. היתה להם כל האנרגיה שציפיתי! כל הכבוד! י