And, man, those Israelis don't mess around! SS lived on cousin Gil's kibbutz oh, 30-something years ago, and he and Gil are very close. Gil is a great guy and I really adore his wife, Nitzan (who needed to work today, but, hey, we'll see her some other time, right?!).
SS and Gil had a list of things for us to accomplish today, including going to see our new place, measuring the space for appliances and buying them. I threw in going to the NBN office to get our teudat zehut (someone, help me out here with the plural. Abby?! Anyone? I'm offending my own grammatical sense.....).
Gil was able to load onto his car all the things we didn't need here in Jerusalem but needed to shlep with us to Israel for use until our lift comes (towels, shower curtains, sheets, pillows, a few air mattresses, etc).We saw our new place and it's got a lot of potential and I think it will be great when it has furniture in it. Interesting how some things really looked different in the video/still photos we saw in the U.S. compared to how they looked in real life. I was delighted to find that the kitchen was larger than I expected, although this was definitely off-set by the living/dining room being smaller than I anticipated :)
I got to meet two of the neighbors, one across the street and one next door. The next door neighbors are also new olim, mutual friends of our friends Harold and Shoshana, and also have a 4th grader going to the same school as our 4th grader. So the next door family was a very good one to meet! We went to the shopping area that's nearby and it looks like it has a fair amount of shopping there. Definitely more than I expected for a neighborhood shopping area.
Next up was the NBN "teudat zehut" (Israeli Identity Card) fair. What a great job NBN did. They had already put the photos taken on Tuesday into a slide show with music ("Come Back", which is the NBN theme song: "I can hear my homeland calling....Come back, come back to me now"). They had a bouncy slide, ice cream, crepes, waffles and (Gd help us learn self-control) slushie coffee, a photographer taking pictures for "Aliyah 2015" magnets (sooo cute! Now I just need a fridge to put mine on) and many, many government representatives to meet with after getting the TZ. We were able to open a customs document to help speed the process when our lift gets here, meet with a rep from the ministry of absorption who helped me work through exactly what steps I need to take next to get all our paperwork in order, and, perhaps most important, I got a keychain that perfectly simulates the 5 shekel piece needed at any grocery store to get the shopping cart out of its queue ;). SS and I both noted how nice it was to see people from our flight ("Hello my best friend who I just met that day and will likely never see again" kind of thing). Gil was surprised and impressed that we didn't have to go wait in an endless government line to get our TZ.
Then off for appliance shopping. Ilana and I lasted for an hour at the first store before heading home in a taxi. PB managed to last for all four stores. Unfortunately, no appliances were ordered bc everyone was too overwhelmed and exhausted after all that.....
Lastly, out for a lovely dinner at Cafe Rimon on Ben Yehuda St, which was a huge party site tonight. Ben Yehuda is always a party street with lots of street musicians, stores open very late and many restaurants and cafes, but Thursday is very, very busy (Friday in Israel is like Sunday in the US, with most people working only a half day) and Saturday night it will be ever more of a mesiba.
I'll sum up our day as "fun but exhausting". Still no phone service. This is definitely reminding me of Feb when we just couldn't find a phone place that was open/could do what we want/etc. I'm hoping tomorrow will be the "day of many working phones"!