Thursday, January 30, 2014

An Evening in Hebrew

One great thing about making aliyah is connecting with friends who you haven't seen / socialized with in years - lots of our friends have made aliyah over the years and of course we've sort of lost touch.  Maybe we'd see them when we'd come for a visit, but to be honest when you've come to visit with your kids and grandkids any millisecond spent away from them seems like a colossal loss.

So now we are starting (yes, we've been here two years and yes, we are just starting, so deal with it) to re-connect.

Bern, through various odd circumstances, found two of his old friends from YU - one was his dorm counselor there, who'd been here for many years, and one just made aliyah 6 months ago.

We were invited to dinner at the home of the new olim in Jerusalem.  I was expecting a lovely dinner with conversation, in English, about aliyah, our kids, grandkids, etc.  WRONG.

When the second couple arrived, our hostess greeted her in Hebrew.  Uh oh.  Wait - is she Israeli?

Yes, she was Israeli.  And guess what - the language of the evening was Hebrew.  I mean it's only polite that when one person is Israeli, the rest of the guests speak in Hebrew.  So I greeted her as well and my head started pounding.

And then the unthinkable happened - the Israeli wife and I found ourselves in the living room by ourselves. NO!  Now I have to speak in Hebrew!  HELP!  SOS!  Well, help did not arrive, so speak I did.

I actually was OK.  At one point, Hebrew words were flowing out of what I think was my mouth and the woman didn't give me looks like, "Oh my God, she's been here two years and she still speaks like a 2 year old"  At least I didn't think so, because she asked me questions and I answered them, so I believe what we were doing was considered having a conversation in Hebrew.

We were there for 3 hours, and spoke Hebrew the whole time.  I even waxed eloquent at one point about how we love having Friday as a "get ready for Shabbat" day instead of a work day and how that makes Shabbat an entirely different experience than outside of Israel.

At one point I could not think of how to say a phrase in Hebrew, so I just said it in English and Israeli wife nodded.

Wait a minute.  You understand English?

But, no matter, I'm sure she was more comfortable trying to figure out what the heck I was trying to say in my broken Ulpan Hebrew, than trying to understand my English.

Now, having said all that, I don't know if, as they were driving home, the Israeli-wife couple was laughing themselves sick over my grammar/botched vocabulary, and saying things like, "Did she say ____?  Please tell me she did not use that word!" But I'll never know, will I?

As for me, I THINK I did ok.  All I know is that I was exhausted by the end of the evening.

I mean, that's a lot of grammar to remember, put in the right context, and get out of one's mouth the right way.

1 comment:

  1. I speak THE most jumbled mix of Heblish ever. Basically my MO is to say as much in Hebrew as I can, while maintaining a normal pace of conversation, and just replace anything I don't know with English. Seems to be working OK :)

    Kol hakavod to you!