It is rather incomprehensible that with all of the trips I made to Israel before making Aliya, and that with all of the groups I accompanied, I never--not even once--drove a car for a single kilometer in this country! The funny thing also is that when people would call me for DRIVING directions to come visit us...I could barely help them other than in general terms...BUS ROUTES? No problem at all! But that changed yesterday. I had a need to go to the Tel Aviv area and bring a number of items, and it would just have been MUCH easier with a car than with a bus. Enter a MAGNIFICENT neighbor who offered their car for me to use. (THANK YOU YONI AND SHIRA!!!!) I got in the car, put the gear shift into reverse..then into drive...and POOF...I was off. Let alone it was the first time behind the wheel of a car in 6 months. It was my VERY FIRST TIME driving in Israel. I was proud of myself that I navigated the highways and byways of our beautiful country. I tended to stay in the right lane and let people pass me, being a bit meek at first. However, by the return trip, I was right there with the rest of them, feeling very confident travelling the roads. It was indeed a very freeing experience. (I had this desire to pull over at every bus stop so it would feel like a regular commute, but that feeling soon passed!) Maybe one day we will get a car, but for now, I am more than content not spending money on: gasoline, insurance, upkeep, licenses, the car itself etc etc. (Someone did a non-scientific study and determined that a person can go EVERYWHERE by cab--we don't--that they need to go, and still come out ahead instead of purchasing a car! However, we WILL need to convert our American licenses to Israeli ones, one day...that will be an adventure all its own!
Second special event: TODAY, JANUARY 7, 2010 IS EXACTLY SIX MONTHS SINCE WE MADE ALIYA! It seems like we have been here for YEARS and that we have been a part of this life for a much longer time. When I think back to the first few days after arriving...it seems like a LIFETIME ago! It is hard to put into words how integrated we feel after such a short time. All I can say is Baruch Hashem, the experience thus far has been great and may it continue like this for 120 years...then we can re-negotiate!
I guess that the Israeli government wanted to help us celebrate our six-month anniversary. I was sitting outside (in the sunny 80 degree weather!) working when all of a sudden I heard a VERY low flying airplane. I looked up to see a one-seater-cropduster flying RIGHT overhead! He was "dusting" the areas of trees and vegetation on the surrounding valleys/wadis. This event brought out a lot of people onto their balconies to see what was going on. What a strange sight indeed. (It kind of felt like being at the Chicago Air and Water Show...but no water, and it was January instead of June/July) So, we saw hundreds of sheep in the wadi when we first moved in, and now 6 months later, we had this other special greeting. Life continues to be quite exciting, BH!