It’s going to be HARD but WORTH IT

I’m not going to lie, today was a frustrating day!  A lot of people who have lived abroad have told us it’s going to be hard, but worth it.  

Sunday’s are “work days” in Israel and we had a lot to do!  At the top of our list was getting Josh registered for a local school. The girls have already been accepted into a British school.  But, finding a high school for Josh was more challenging. The reason, there are fewer high schools that teach in English. The girls new school also has high school,  but Josh’s class was full.  There are some local high schools, but Josh doesn’t speak a word of Hebrew!  None of us do!  But, we did hear some schools have classes that help non Hebrew speakers immerse.

First on our list was going to the municipality to register Josh in the event we found a local school for him. Ohad had come along to help us translate. So, we jumped on our scooters and headed to the municipality building.  

As soon as we arrived, there was a guard outside the building and a metal detector to greet us.  I’ve learned just about everywhere has a guard and metal detectors here, including Ikea!  Ohad had what seemed like a long conversation with the guard in Hebrew.  When they were finished, we learned that all the offices we needed to visit were closed until August 22nd. That was disappointing, but we still had a lot on our list!

Ohad directed us to a local bank because we needed to open up a bank account right away. There are a lot of things you need cash for in Israel and US ATM limits make it difficult to always have enough cash. There was a special foreign residents office at this bank. So, we took a number and waited in line for about an hour with people speaking various languages around us.

When it was finally our turn, the woman sat us in her small cubicle and asked us questions like where we were from and what we needed to do.  We explained we needed a bank account now that we are living in Israel from America. She asked twice, “So, you are living in Israel?”  We answered twice YES. She then told us this office is for people LIVING abroad, not people who live IN ISRAEL.  WHAT?   If we weren’t “foreign residents” I don’t know who is! So, we asked about opening a regular account. She told us we would need our visas first.  We were scheduled to pick up our visas later in the week, but did not have them today.  Jim told me on the way out there may be another problem. We needed to pay for our visas with an Israeli credit card. We can’t get an Israeli credit card until we open a bank account.  I left totally confused.  Another hour + wasted.

From the bank we went to shop for an electric bike for me.  Tel Aviv is an incredibly crowded city and it’s difficult to drive with heavy traffic and almost no where to park. So the E Bike would be my preferred method of transportation equipped with w bike seat for Mika. We were directed to go to a store which sold bikes.  We looked around the entire store and finally spotted the bikes.  But these were regulars bikes, not electric bikes.  Electric bikes were not sold there.  More time wasted!

Jim remembered seeing a store near our apartment that sold electric bikes, so we went there.  The salesman was nice and extremely helpful to someone who had never shopped for an electric bike.  I left the store with my new bike, helmet, cellphone holder, and a seat on back for Mika.

Jim and I decided to do some grocery shopping again while they put my bike together.  This was just as slow and painful of a process as before.  But, we were able to get a few more things for the apartment and I now had a nice basket on front of my bike to take it all home.

Later that afternoon, Josh went for a workout on the beach with a trainer we were introduced to by the Weissmans.  I rode by on my new bike and felt sorry for him dripping in sweat from the Israeli heat.  Summer also had her first soccer practice shortly after that.  We took a taxi across town to the soccer complex.  The woman who ran the girls team was on the Israeli national team and played soccer at a US college.  She explained soccer was big in Israel, but not popular with girls. Basketball and Volleyball were the more popular sports and she struggled to fill an entire team.  It was her goal to make soccer more popular with girls like it is in the US.  She was delighted to have Summer join the team.

Instead of waiting for practice to end, I took a taxi home to start preparing our first dinner in our new apartment.  I decided to make something simple since the only spices I could still make out were salt and pepper.  I decided to make pan seared chicken with the salt and pepper, chicken broth and lemon juice.  While shopping I also learned chicken broth is not prepared like in the US.  So, I had to add a cube a to boiled water to make it before adding it to my chicken dish.  Meanwhile Jim jumped on my new electric bike to pick up Summer at practice and rode home with Summer on the back.

We had a nice first dinner at the apartment and talked about Josh’s workout and Summer’s first practice.  She said none of the girls on her team spoke English so they used google translate to communicate.  The coach explained everything to the girls in Hebrew before turning to her with the English version.  She also said the girls were very interested in her and asked her a million questions.  She also noticed the girls on the older team seemed to speak more English.  We were told middle school is when many people here learn to speak English, so that made sense.

3 comments on “It’s going to be HARD but WORTH IT

  1. Whew! It is so frustrating because it is all happening like this for us everyday too! I just went to get a family phone plan now that we have our Israeli credit card and the guy told me I couldn’t keep my number. That was the one thing I made sure of when I got the original SIM card and today it wasn’t possible. I have no idea what changed over the course of 2 weeks, but now I have to go back to every office and give them my new cell phone number. Why does it all have to be so difficult?!?

    • We paid for a plan to keep our American numbers, have an Israeli number and we can dial American numbers too. I was out today and I could not make a phone call. It was so frustrating! I think its easier with an android vs iphone. It has to be sorted out like everything.

  2. WOW – every day a new challenge. You are going to be a super start at navigating soon! Go Ericka and fam.

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