I know you are wondering about my Ulpan tests. I passed the oral one, although I have no idea what grade I received. Lucky us, the tester's daughter called her during the testing of the first student to announce that she'd just had a baby. Mazal tov! Go easy on us! And that she did. We were all a bit nervous about the possibility of her asking us what we would say in different "situatziyot" (situations) - like complaining about a noisy party, thanking someone for something, etc. Well, she didn't, probably because she was distracted.
Then we had two written practice tests - one for levels aleph/bet/gimel and one for levels bet/gimel/daled. The teachers were going to analyze our grades and also give us help for passing the real test.
So all of this is just fine, IF one is really concerned about passing the test. Which 99% of us are not. We want to learn Hebrew, and we know that we should take the test to get the holy and sanctified teudah, but we really aren't planning to put in all-nighters or anything preparing for it.
I did OK, let's not go any further than that. But of course one of the teachers, let's call her the more, um, up-tight one, insisted on going over our errors and asking us point-blank: "WHY DON'T YOU KNOW THIS? I TAUGHT THIS TO YOU NOT TWO WEEKS AGO!"
See, that just does not help one's self-esteem. What does one answer to that? I tried, "Because I'm stupid" but she didn't appreciate my sense of humor. She seemed personally insulted that we had not gotten the answers right.
OK, Listen, teach. We have moved to a new country. We have uprooted our former lives. We are worried about money, about making friends, about how to get from here to there (and back), about money (did I mention that already?), about figuring out how to ask where the bus stop is. We are doing way more than just learning a language, so CHILL OUT. We'll be OK, even if we don't get top marks on the test.
For instance, one of the corrections was leaving out a "yud" in a word. I know, I know, it means that the word is WRONG. But think about it. How often am I writing things here and what's really important? When I go into a store in the mall am I going to say something in my already pathetic Hebrew and then mention to the salesperson that, "oh, by the way, there was a Yud in that word there that I just said."
OK, enough about Ulpan.
Here's some good news. We have a little grocery store in our neighborhood - like the little stores in most neighborhoods it is way overpriced but way convenient, so of course we go there. The store has one of those clubs where, if you belong, you get a discount.
Every time you check out they ask you if you belong to the club. We always say no, and we always ask, "How can we join it?" Every single time we've been told that they are not accepting new members. OK, whatever.
Then two weeks ago the cashier said, "Oh, I know you, you are always in here, so I'll give you the members' discount." OK, making progress. Next time we saw her - blank stare.
Today, once again, we went there to "pick up a few things" (read: drop 300 shekel or so) and as usual the cashier (I think this time it was the owner) asked if we were part of the club. We said no, and as usual, we mumbled after that, "....But we'd like to be...." And he looked at us and said, "Well, why haven't you joined?" If I could have gotten away with laughing out loud I would have, but I was so astounded/excited at this new turn of events that I just said, "Can we?"
"Betach," (for sure) he answered. And right there and then we signed up and got our card. We laughed the whole way home. This is something we've been trying to get and have been asking about for over 5 months.
In closing, a touching moment - tonight I was doing my Ulpan homework with my 9 year old granddaughter Ariella nearby. I asked her to help me with a word. She not only helped me with the word, but explained to me in Hebrew what it meant and what the sentence meant. That is cool on so many levels.