Several of you have written to ask me if I plan to work as a nurse here. The answer is "not sure, but definitely not yet". My experiences with the healthcare system here have convinced me that I barely have enough Hebrew to be a patient, never mind a provider.
I recently went to the allergist here. I walked in (here, there is no medical assistant or nurse to pave the way. If the doctor's door is open, you waltz right in. If there are others waiting, you engage in verbal scrimmage over whose appointment time was earlier vs who has been waiting longer, as proven by the little number taken from the machine by the clinic door [like at a US deli]. Israelis love these machines almost as much as they love door magnets....). But I digress.
I walked in and apologized for being a few minutes late. He responded with a somewhat confused stare with a slight undertone of mild panic. I thought, "I know that look! That's the look *I* have when people speak Hebrew to me!". And I realized I was about to have a medical appointment in Hebrew....I had been told all the doctors in Israel have to have a minimum level of English. Guess that's not true because he spoke Spanish and Hebrew. I made it through the appointment in Hebrew, but let's just say there was little subtlety in what I told him.
Cosmic joke: I found out I'm allergic to olive trees. Since I've had allergy shots in the US and been desensitized to the majority of trees there, it wasn't surprising that I found a new tree to be allergic to. Thankfully he said it was fine to eat olives (the olives here are outrageously good). And I get a whole new insight into the healthcare system here by going every week for allergy shots. Sample difference: in the US, the office I went to strictly followed the guideline that all patients must wait 30 minutes after an allergy shot before leaving. Here, you waltz in and waltz out. I did see one family waiting: an American mom (of course) waiting with her son after his shot.
So, anyway, I realized that, if I'm not planning to work, it would be a good idea for me to change my online job profile. In the past few weeks, I have had several contacts from headhunters, and it wasn't right of me to waste their time since my new home is a bit too far to commute to a school nurse position in Massachusetts. We also decided that I will not go back to work as a camp nurse this summer. It was, and is, hard for me to give up being "Nurse Ellen" (even temporarily, which is why it took me six months to change my profile!), but I did it. My new job title: New Immigrant :). And, boy, is that a full-time job!