Today was the day we went to the Licensing Bureau in Jerusalem to get someone to sign the form that allows us to take driving lessons so that we can get an Israeli driver's license so that we can buy a car.
First we were supposed to wake up at 6:00 to catch the 6:45 train to Jerusalem. That would have worked out so well if the time on my phone had been correct when I set it.
So....we took the 7:46 train to Jerusalem. Arrived fine, got a cab to Talipyot, cabbie knew where he was going, and lo and behold the building said "Misrad HaRishui" on it (in Hebrew)! Yay, we are in the right place!
Go inside, figure out which office to go into and how to take a number (for you Baltimoreans, every time we go into one of these government offices, it feels like Goldman's on Friday morning). Our number is 689. The sign that shows which number they are waiting on says.....55. Please, I think, tell me the numbers don't go in consecutive order.....
We sit down and think, "OH, this ticket must mean that our number is 89, not 689! hahahahaha! we figured that one out, didn't we?" So with this myth in our heads we sit down and prepare for a very long wait.
The electricity goes out. Everything goes dark. Computers don't work.
Several important looking men finally come into the waiting room and open a cabinet where presumably the electrical panels are hidden. They look and look, they flick things, but nothing. We wait more - more men, more flicking, more nothing.
Then an older gent with a very angry countenance storms out of a back office and walks purposefully to the same cabinet. He flings the door open and shouts, "EE Efshar! [IMPOSSIBLE!"] and then proceeds to say that if there is no electricity, there is no service, all of these people can go home.
NO, I think, PLEASE don't let this happen - pretty please fix it, Mr. Angry Man. He closes the cabinet and walks away and then.....THE LIGHTS GO ON! YAY!!
OK, crisis averted. Now we wonder how the numbering system works and whether we are 68 or 689 and whether we will have to wait for over 500 people to be waited on before it's our turn. If that's so, where the heck are these people?
Once the electricity is back on, the little sign with the electronic numbers goes back on and suddenly someone realizes that for the entire morning the numbers have been wrong. ALL of the numbers begin with a 6 (hundred), so we are indeed 689 and they are now helping 660. Not so bad.
We are called! It's our turn! Wheee! We go to the lady and explain that we are olim chadashim (new immigrants) and ask if we can speak English and she looks perturbed and says something about us having to learn Hebrew, and proceeds to speak LOUD and SLOW. I almost cracked up in her face because that is just what I used to do when I was speaking to my Bubby who only spoke Yiddish. It don't help, people. Not knowing the words is not knowing the words.
Anyway, we show her our holy "green" form and she takes it and asks for our US drivers' licenses. She looks at Bern's and says - is this the first driver's license you ever had? No, he says, I've had one for over 30 years. Well, she says, how am I to know that. You need to get a letter from the Maryland Motor Vehicles people that states how long you've had a license. Oh no, we both look distraught. She then looks at my license and says, "You're ok." Then she looks at our immigration document and says, "Wow, you just arrived!" and we said, yes, less than two weeks ago. She gets up to ask someone something.
Then, miracle of miracles, she comes back and says, "You're both OK, we want to make things easier for you as new immigrants."
So, she signed the papers and told us what we had to do next (you get two tries to pass the driving test and then.....oh let's not think about that.)
After this, we went to the mall and had a celebratory breakfast, visited Bern's client who works nearby, returned to the mall and bought Bern some cool new clothes, and came back to Leezy's. Tomorrow I meet with the driving instructor and we take care of some other things.
Our last aliyah-related tasks are to get the driver's license, get into the apartment, and meet with the Ministry of Absorption rep who speaks English and can answer some questions for us.