- Open a bank account. Money doesn’t grow on trees here in Israel, only citrus and sarcasm.
- Get our Israeli cell phones. Or pelephones—fun Hebrish word of the day.
- Go look at a few apartments, so I can feel like less of a homeless drifter.
- Buy dog food.
We’re told to put DH’s teudat zeut number (Israeli social security number) into this an ATM type machine and in return it gives us a number. When our number pops up on the screen, someone at a window will help us. DH and I patiently wait for 2 to flash across the screen and when it does, we excitedly jump from our seats. We then realize the screen doesn’t say which of the 20 windows to go to and every window is already full. We ask a woman behind the counter and she sends us to Mr. Cohen, the director of the bank. We wait for Mr. Cohen for 15 minutes and Mr. Cohen tells us to go to Hanna in the 3rd window. Hanna asks us to sit at her desk while she finishes up the last bit of paperwork from her previous customer. When Hanna comes back after another 15 minutes, she kicks us out of her office and tells us to go see Ayala.
Ayala takes our passports, marriage certificate and DH’s aliyah documents to make copies. She tells us it will only take about half an hour to finish the paperwork and get our bank account open. Half an hour later, Ayala comes back with the copies and asks for DH’s teudat zeut. DH writes down his number and hands it to her. No, no, no!! Ayala needs his actual teudat zeut card. Which we, of course, don’t have. Ayala informs us she cannot help us without a teudat zeut card. DH, of course, doesn't want to be a typical American frier (pushover) and tries to talk his way out of it. No luck this time.
We head to DH’s Aunt and Uncle S's house for café and oogah (coffee and cake). It is quite something to watch DH relive his childhood. He says everything in Israel smells the exact same as he remembered, a mixture of onions and spices and lemons. But everything is much smaller than he remembered. Probably because he is much bigger than he was 15 years ago. The cliff in the front yard is really only a few steps high. The giant stone wall in the kitchen is only a few feet across.
We didn’t achieve much on the official to-do list, but I got so much more out of spending hours with DH’s family.
I can’t explain the culture shock, the moments of absolute fear and joy I feel during small moments like these. The weird and wonderful feeling when I once again remember that this is now home. It will take time to get used to, but in the end...yi’yeh beseder.