It is hard to believe that I have been here two weeks both in that I have already been here so long and that I have only been here for such a short time. After two weeks of ulpan, 5 hours a day for 5 days a week with many many many hours outside of class studying, it has been an intense experience.
With three weeks to go, I am looking forward to the weekend to catch my breath. Because Sunday is part of the normal work week here, Hebrew University has been kind enough to give us Fridays off from here on out. I am thrilled to have a two day weekend, even though I will likely spend much of tomorrow studying yet again.
Today began with a bit of a frustrating experience at Cafe Aroma. Aroma is essentially the Starbucks of Israel. There are several in every major neighborhood; not on every corner, but they are hard to miss. I pass one every morning on the way to campus, but rarely have time to stop in to get a coffee. But today, I got up early for a run and was able to get out the door in plenty of time.
My class starts at 8:30; I was in Aroma at 8:10. My order: Cafe Shachor, essentially Turkish style ground coffee in a cup with boiling water poured directly on top. As I waited for them to fill my order, they lazily made sandwiches, lattes, and other things requiring a fair amount of preparation for the other customers. At about 8:15, one of the baristas put the coffee grounds in my cup and left it sitting on the espresso machine. At 8:25, I butted to the front and demanded they just put water in the cup because I was now running late. The service couldn’t have been more quick. Next time won’t be the polite American and will skip right to being the in-your-face Israeli. Here, it gets results.
I made it to class just as it was starting. No harm, no foul. Class was pretty straightforward today. We did more review of the passive verb form, how to transform active predicate clauses into passive ones, and how to make gerunds out of passive verbs. We also read a few stories, sang a few songs, and took a test. I feel much more confident about this one than the last one, but it is consistently difficult to adequately prepare for tests equivalent to a university midterm exam every week.
My afternoon has been spent, surprise, studying. Dinner was homemade couscous with peppers, cucumbers, black pepper, olive oil, and canned tuna. Don’t knock it until you try it. This evening, I am meeting up with some friends who live in the city for bowling and other joviality. It should be a nice start to the weekend. Is it just me, or is my English getting worse?