Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What would you like to eat? IDC

By the way, that's a Pierre reference in the title. If you don't understand that then you have been culturally deprived and someone's gotta get sued.

We started early this morning, mostly by waking up. It seemed like a mistake at the time and I'm still not convinced. A walk over to the central bus station, a building which, by smell and appearance was as overjoyed to be awake as we were, and onto the 947 bus. I tried to use the automated ticket machine but it didn't seem to work. In my halting Hebrew I explained to the big guy what I was trying to do and he kept pointing out that I wanted something else. I was pretty sure I wanted tickets to the 947. Maddie came over to show me I was wrong but I showed her how the machine was leading me to believe it could get me said tickets. She asked the big guy and he explained that the machine was an inveterate liar and, though I had understood the instructions, it simply could not vend that ticket. I still await general apologies for the assumption that I am incompetent. Let it proven some other time; the fault, dear Brutus, is in the machine, not in ourselves.

The 947 headed to Ra'anana (hey hey, kiss him goodbye) through Petach Tikvah and Hod Hasharon. Fro that terminal, we hopped a #39 for 10 or so stops to get to the campus of IDC, the school Maddie is looking at for next year. There were two stops on campus, identically named, so we chose one and started walking. We followed all the college looking types and ended up on the campus which is small but very nice. Mad's friend Hannah showed us around and we took note of the Communications building, the cafeteria, the Law School, the coffee stand, the economics building and the pasta bar. Then Maddie found somewhere to get something to eat. Our 10:30 appointment was delayed until 11:30 so we looked into some classrooms and Maddie took a final in Statistics. It is a very relaxed campus. During our walk, I ran into a variety of former students and others and Maddie found a friend or two, all reinforcing her sense of comfort at the school. At 11:30 we met with Emily Feldman to ask some pointed questions about the Psych program and how in the world am I supposed to pay for it. She addressed the first and for the second, sent us to a coordinator of student affairs who explained that the person who could answer was next door. We explained more to her so she got on the phone to call someone else. It turned into a very educational morning because she learned a lot of new stuff about army service and federal funding. I'm glad we were able to give her the opportunity to learn stuff. What was interesting to hear was her admission that answers she got today might be different tomorrow -- not as a metaphor, literally 24 hours from now, the identical question might elicit different answers and nothing was in writing. Can a student use that on a test? "Ask me tomorrow and we'll see." No one really has authoritative answers, or even comprehensive understanding of all the possible situations involving lengths of different kinds of service, scholarships, Aliyah benefits etc. Even the Israelis were annoyed at the bureaucracy and uncertainty. Let the acculturation begin!

We hopped a Gett (Hebrew for Uber) towards Tel Aviv, through Ra'anana, a City of Roundabouts, so we could meet up with a high school friend of mine, Brian. Tel Aviv is known as the City of Traffic Jams. The streets were built to accommodate two thin men, or one plus size model walking, so 3 Citroens and a city bus, sharing the space with 2 motor cycles and a mini van doesn't make for speed of any note. Also, the dotted lines are apparently suggestions, and not good ones. Brian does something that involves words like "Mid East" and "research" but the details are unclear to me. We have seen each other once between today and 1988 so this was nice. We ate at Kakao, a dairy cafe on Rothschild. I had an eggplant appetizer and an impersonal pizza. Maddie had a Caesar Salad with Salmon, hold the vegetables. Brian had something health based so who cares? We chatted about life in Israel and important stuff like that. I actually liked it. The food was OK but the conversation and company were welcome.

Next we walked to what we thought was the location of our meeting. We were wrong. After a series of phone calls we found that we were supposed to be 10 minutes away. OK, another Gett to Weitzmann something or other where we met with the Lone Soldier Coordinator for Nefesh B'Nefesh, an organization which helps people make Aliyah to Israel. He, and his co-worker spoke with us about all the benefits Maddie could or could not get depending on all the misinformation we apparently received at IDC. Bottom line is that she should make Aliyah and everyone will throw money at her. If she doesn't she will have to sacrifice a goat and live under a bridge.

Back into another Gett to visit Dizengoff Center, a mall based in two buildings, each a city block long, across the street from each other (connected by multi level bridges) and 3 stories high. The mall is built around spiral ramps and staircases so you can be assured of not seeing all of it and not knowing how to get out. The types of stores were grouped together so you might find yourself in the pet store section and see 4 pet stores in a row. Then come the 6 linen stores and the 14 tattoo and piercings parlors. Then the store that sells swords, maces and potions. Struth. There was also a kosher Burger King. Fortunately, we also had a chance to go DRESS SHOPPING! Hurray! Now, salesladies in 2 cities are convinced I'm an idiot. Maddie actually asked me to find her a 4 Midi, and I, stupidly brought a 4 Mini. I know, right? How dumb can I be?

We walked outside and found our way to a bus to the terminal and then caught the 480 to Jerusalem. We both dozed and awoke near our destination. We walked back to her apartment so we could argue about dinner. Eventually we reached a solution. I would pay for it and go get it and she agreed to eat it. She got ac and cheese (or something not completely unlike Mac and Cheese) from the Waffle Factory (where they assemble some of the key industrial waffles you find in cities around the world) and I got McDonalds, as every growing boy should. Tomorrow, I may attempt a solo trip, so let's hope for the best.

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