Much to my surprise, today I slept until the “late” hour of 7:30 am. Having grown (briefly) accustomed to having far too much time on my hands in the morning, I did not manage to get out the door until about 8:20, ten minutes before class was to begin. Although I was late, fortunately the teacher was still doing introductions.
This teacher, different from our instructor yesterday, will be focusing on grammar and verb structures using one textbook while guiding our lessons through learning songs, prose, and current newspaper articles. The other professor will follow a second textbook which appears to emphasize vocabulary building and composition. Our classes will alternate every other day between the two.
Today we read a silly story from Ha’aretz about white and black geese who were duking (not ducking) it out over which breed could access a cool pond on a hot summer’s day. The story was clearly fictional, but it exposed us to lots of vocabulary relevant to modern Israeli politics. The teacher also managed to weave elements of this story into the rest of the lesson plan, from expanding our vocabulary regarding nature, animals, and politics to exploring the basic structures and categorizations of verbs in Hebrew. As with yesterday, it was a lot to take in, but I am learning a great deal.
In the afternoon, I spent my time doing homework. The most challenging aspect so far has been my lack of an expansive vocabulary from which to understand the exercises in class. While the grammatical structure of things has been quite clear (with no small thanks to rigorous instruction in grammar by my Hebrew teacher at Northwestern), I am spending a lot of time while writing assignments with the dictionary simply looking up words. At some point I will have to find a balance between accepting the implied meaning in context and discovering the precise definition of each and every word which confuses me, but I am not there yet.
In the evening, I took the bus down to King George Street and Ben Yehudah to show one of my friends here in the program the major tourist shopping areas and only area I know with a somewhat lively nightlife here in Jerusalem. From there, I met up with my cousins and their significant others, one couple on a trip through the country and another who lives here in Efrat, for dinner on Emek Refaim. The restaurant, Kafit, has really exceptional food at slightly higher than average prices. Between the company and the food, I have no complaints. 🙂
From there, I caught the 4 Bus back to Givat HaTzorfatit. I was so engrossed in the book I was reading (Homesick by Eshkol Nevo) that when the bus came to a lurching stop along the way, I assumed we had reached our destination. I jumped off the bus and the bus zipped away just as I realized I was still on the outskirts of Ramat Eshkol… about two neighborhoods away and down the hill from my intended stop. About 30 minutes later, I made it back to Kfar HaStudentim by foot, burned off a bit of dinner, and even managed to beat the next 4 Bus up the hill. Not too shabby.
Tomorrow brings more ulpan and perhaps new adventures. As always, I will keep you all posted. Oh, and apparently Americans aren’t that bad at soccer after all. The US is at the top of Group C in the World Cup…