Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer is here again

It's hard to believe that I have now been living in Israel for a year now. Officially I flew to Israel on June 13th last year. In some ways the time feels like it has flown by and in other ways it feels like I haven't been here very long at all. So much has happened in this last year. I feel like I have learned a lot. Living in Israel has changed me somewhat, I feel like I've grown as a person more living here than in the States. Living in another culture has its own unique challenges.

Spring semester exams finished up last week on Thursday. Akkadian, the exam I was dreading the most was naturally the last one I had to take. It had to be the last one so I could worry about it. The picture to the left comes from my study sessions of Akkadian. After studying the various signs for hours I started playing around with them. The signs in the picture are from Lady Gaga's song Bad Romance there is no ro sound in Akkadian so I had to substitute ru. But other than that is the line from the song ra ra ah ah ah ro ma ro ma ma ga ga u la la! And then I realized that that line would insure that I never forgot those signs so I tried to come up with similar lines from songs to remember other signs. For the most part my strategy worked.
I still have one take home exam for the Assyrian sources class but I have until next week for that one. I'll probably work on that test this weekend.

The last several weeks there has been construction on the way up to campus. The city has been putting in bike paths all over Mount Scopus. From my observations the bike paths start and stop in very odd places. Entering and exiting the bike paths in some locations would be very dangerous to the biker and drivers. On the way to school the bike path construction caused them to tear up the sidewalks and eliminate a few parking spaces that were always full. Those who park their cars there now have to cross the bike path to put coins in the parking meter. Last week when I was walking to my Akkadian exam they were putting asphalt on the places where they broke up the sidewalk. Construction in Israel is mind boggling. They do not close the sidewalk you can walk by not even a foot from where a giant machine is picking up chunks of concrete. The construction workers do not wear hard hats but they do wear yellow vests. The supervisor will be the one sitting in the shade smoking a cigarette. They had put out the new asphalt with no signs indicating this. People were walking through the new asphalt and leaving shoe prints and none of the workers were bothered by this. I don't know how these people missed that the asphalt was still wet. It has a shiny quality to it, it smells awful and there is a guy in a steamroller driving towards you! I went around it which required walking out into the street and hoping a bus didn't hit me. Obviously I made it. Walking back the same way later I noticed they redid the asphalt because I can't find the shoe prints in it. They could have saved themselves some time by just putting up some signs.

The new students for the Summer checked in on Sunday and Monday this week. It was nice to already be in an apartment and not be dragging luggage everywhere. Every time one semester or session ends they try to kick me out of my dorm room even though I've paid for it. I tried to head it off buy going to the dorm office in person but it doesn't matter. My name is always on the list of people who need to move out. On the day they say I have to move out they sent by several maintenance men who tell me I have to be out of the apartment by a certain time. This requires multiple trips down to the office to get things sorted out. This time the lady in the office insisted I had to move because they had already scheduled my room for someone else for the Summer session. I had to throw a fit and it worked because I got to stay in the same apartment.

Monday evening I attended the mandatory orientation. It was exactly the same as last year but they assured me I had to attend because they had changed their policies. It was interesting hearing the same information but from the perspective of someone who has been here for a year. I would have been at the school anyway for the shopping trip to the mall. The Burger King is no longer in the mall but there is now a McDonald's! So I got my hamburger and french fries fix. I also went to the bookstore down on the first floor. They only have a small section with English books but I spent quite a bit of time looking them over. They were having a book sale so I ended up getting three young adult Hebrew. These books are above my reading comprehension level in Hebrew. I thought it would be fun to try and read these with the help of a dictionary maybe one chapter a night depending on how long it takes me to read. I had the sales clerk help me pick out three that were in easier Hebrew. I'm looking forward to reading these.

Yesterday was a emergency preparedness day. I don't actually know what they called it. Yesterday at 11am all of the emergency sirens sounded throughout the country for two minutes. During this time everyone is supposed to go to the bomb shelter in the building. Rothberg International School had special permission not to disrupt the summer classes so we didn't have to go in the basement. The professor told us that the police,fire department and other safety related departments would be running drills throughout the day. The sirens also went off a 7pm last night for two minutes. This was to make sure you are prepared at home and know where the nearest shelter is located. My room is the bomb shelter in our apartment so I didn't have to go anywhere.

For the first Summer session I'm taking Intermediate Biblical Hebrew. There are 10 people in the class. I have the class five days a week. On Sunday we meet from 10am-3:30pm. Monday-Thursday 8:30-2pm. It's very intensive but I'll be able to get Intermediate Biblical Hebrew completed. So far the class has been very interesting. Today we worked on translating Psalm 23 which is one of my favorites.

From the last post:
Uncle Joe- Yes Hebrew is one of those languages where you have to conjugate the verbs differently depending on the person's gender that you are talking to.


  1. Clever idea to use the words from a popular song to learn Akkadian. Next time I hear Lady GaGa's song Bad Romance I'll be thinking of you. Yes it's nice not to have to move in or out of your dorm while others are lugging heavy luggage up to Mt. Scopus. I gather that dorm mainteince and the office administration aren't on the same page. The trip to the Jerusalem Mall sounds like fun and the cost of your books was 3 for 99 shekels, a bargain. Glad to hear you're off to a good start in Biblical Hebrew. Wow five hour language class sessions are long but are typical for a intensive language course. I'm proud of how far you've come!


  2. Gosh Anna, I love seeing what you wrote in
    Akkadian. It looks a little like a play board for a soccer or basketball game to me. I can't imagine what the Akkadian's would have made of Lady Gaga. That would be something to see!
    Another great post.