Posts with category - Faith

Our First* Play Date

*First play date at our house. The kids have been to many play dates at their friends but we didn’t have any furniture or any of their toys so we put off play dates at us until now.

So the day before yesterday each of the kids invited a friend over.

Neither of the friends speak English. And I barely speak Hebrew. But that’s OK. My kids speak both English and Hebrew. Yes, you read that correctly. My kids are bilingual! I have never been more proud of them. They were thrown in the deep end and they have swum!

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Back to the play date. Aaron and his friend were fine. They played games, played hide and seek, ran around, ate ice lollies and generally looked after themselves. Faiths friend was also OK, they painted pictures and coloured in a Frozen colouring book and then they had a disagreement about playing something.Her friend started to cry and I could not console her. I just didn’t have the words in Hebrew and what words I did have went straight out my head. We landed up calling her mom to come fetch her and while we were waiting she cried herself to sleep on the couch.

My heart was breaking. I felt so helpless. Poor child was so upset and I could not comfort her.

This was a motivation for me to keep learning more Hebrew. Especially when it comes to kids. In fact I am more intimidated by the kids than the adults. At least with adults they understand that my Hebrew is minimal and they either speak English to me or help with the Hebrew I don’t know. Kids on the other hand cannot fathom that I don’t speak Hebrew and that I cannot understand them. They think its hysterical when I look at them blankly. My kids roll their eyes and translate for me. I am definitely learning on the fly with these kids.

Bottom line is that I need to learn more Hebrew and we will keep having play dates because that’s an awesome way for me to learn :)

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Work and all that entails

I posted last week about about the fact that our container arrived.  It took us 48 hours and everything was unpacked.  All those boxes were emptied or stored in the downstairs storeroom.

I’m not going to post any pictures just yet because the house is still a bit of a mess while we try to find place for everything. I will do a proper post with pictures later on in the week.

In the meantime lets talk about work.

In Israel the week starts on a Sunday, so while all my South African friends are having a braai, chilling with mates, browsing flea-markets, drinking beer, running marathons and doing triathlons, I am at my desk, working.

Most places work a five day week although some work a five and a half day week (Fridays being the half day). Both Paul and I are lucky to work for companies that are closed on Fridays so we still get a ‘full’ weekend.  Also, the kids go to school from Sunday to Friday, so we get a child free morning on a Friday which is nice.

My day starts at 05:45 when my alarm goes off, by 06:00 when Paul’s alarm goes off I am out of bed (usually! I’m not a morning person so sometimes it takes me longer to get going).  Hopefully by 06:30 I am out the door and on the way to the central bus station, a 10 minute walk from my apartment.

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If I leave the house by 06:30 I am able to catch the 06:45 bus.  If I leave later and I dont hustle I then catch the 07:05 bus.  My bus ride is usually about 20 minutes give or take. And its a short 5 minute walk from the stop to the office. So I get to work between 07:15 and 07:30 most days.

I work in a fantastic office with about 60 people. They are a mix of Anglos (English speaking people from USA, UK, Australia and South Africa) and native born Israelies. My team is all English speaking.  We work in an open plan office with 5 of us sharing the space.

My company looks after us really well and one of the benefits to working here is we get a meal card loaded with a balance for the month. We then log onto the website and we have a variety of places to order from. We have to place our orders before 11:00 in order for them to be delivered at lunch time and when I first started working here I was told that the golden rule is ‘First thing you do when you come into the office: have coffee and order lunch!’

On the off chance you do forget to order in time there is always something to eat in the fully stocked kitchen. Bread, cottage cheese, fruit and veggies and tons of snacks. Not to mention the coffee machine!

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My work day is roughly a 9 hour day. Now the kids finish school at 13:00 for Aaron and 14:00 for Faith so they both attend after care at their respective schools.  2 or 3 days a week we have a babysitter who fetches them from school after aftercare and takes them home. She does homework and plays with them or takes them to the park across the road from our house.

If the babysitter is fetching the kids then I leave work between 16:30 and 17:30 and catch the 16:45 or 17:45 bus home, getting home between 17:15 and 18:15. I usually go past the store on the way from the bus station to pick up milk, bread or anything else we need and the babysitter leaves between 18:00 and 18:30 depending on the day. On the days when we don’t have a babysitter I leave work at 15:45 and am back in time to fetch the kids from aftercare at 16:30 for Aaron and 16:45 for Faith.

The kids love being at aftercare where they get to play with their friends, do homework (in Aaron’s case), are fed a yummy hot lunch and do activities like learning to play chess, learning to juggle and making artwork for our fridge.  They also love their babysitter who gives them her undivided attention and they love when I fetch them and we go to the park on the way home.

By 18:30 kids are usually in the bath while I get supper going and then they help with chores around the house, cleaning their rooms, sweeping and generally tidying up before dinner time.

And speaking of the kids, Paul helps them get ready in the mornings and makes sure they are dressed, fed and groomed and then he walks them to school on his way to catch his train to work. He is usually home between 19:00 and 19:30 each night which is when we have dinner and family time before the little ones go to bed.

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Its a long day with a lot of travel.  Its certainly not what I’m used to and its taken a while to get used to the hours and the commute but its working for us.

**Photos by Paul!

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Your favourite things – Faith

TV programme: You watch a variety of things on YouTube, most notably Frozen videos.
iPhone App: You like playing Two Dots on my phone.
Meal: Schnitzel. Corn or chicken, you dont care as long as its schnitzel.
Fruit: Bananas and apples and grapes. Oh my!
Vegetable: Sweetcorn, carrots and cucumbers.
Breakfast: As long as it has chocolate in it you love it.
Drink: ‘Red’ juice, just like Aaron.
Toy: You have a little Lego genie figurine and a Boba Fett figurine, they go everywhere with you.
You love: The park, especially the swings.

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Something that happened yesterday: The day before yesterday you went to play at a friend without me going with you. Granted, Aaron was with you and the friend is the neighbour across the hall and you were running between the two apartments so I was close, but you went there on your own and that is huge!

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Purim!

{Purim} is the day we celebrate the Jewish people overcoming a plot by the Persian Empire to wipe us out.

You may have heard the expression ‘The whole Megillah’? Meaning the whole long story. That comes from the reading of the Megillah or the Book of Esther on Purim.  Its the story of {Haman} (boo hiss) and {Mordecai} (yay) and of course the phenomenal {Queen Esther} (woohooo!!!).

We also give food parcels to friends and the needy. These {gift baskets} should contain at least two different foods/drinks so that two separate brochas (prayers) can be said over them.

A large part of Purim is that it is a celebration.  As such we have celebratory meals and parties.  Everyone gets dressed up, including the adults, and fairs/carnivals and parades with much singing and dancing take place.

This was our first Purim in Israel and it was quite the eye opener.

The children started by having special dress up days at school throughout the two weeks leading up to Purim.  They had Hat/Hair do Day, Country Day, Celebrity Day, Pajama Day to name a few.  They had face painting and hat making days.  They made gift baskets to exchange with each other and to bring home.

The Friday before last was the annual Modi’in Purim parade.  There were floats and jugglers and stilt walkers.  There were ice cream vendors and candy floss and popcorn.  There were balloons and bubble guns.  There were entertainers and actors and singer and dancers.  There was lots of fun!

On the Monday evening we went to the annual Absorption Centre Purim party.  This is a party for Olim (new immigrants) and was great fun. Lots of kids, music, games, popcorn, candy floss and a show.

Then both Paul and I had work Purim parties.  My theme was Supermarket and I went as Fairy Dish-washing Liquid.  Paul didn’t have a theme so he went back to his roots and went as Clark Kent/Superman.

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The kids were off school on Thursday and Friday so Paul and I took off Thursday (we get Friday off every week) and we dressed up and missioned around town doing our thing.  We went to an anglo Shul to hear the Megillah and landed up getting there late and only hearing the last 5 minutes.  I wasn’t feeling well so Paul took the kids to the {Se’udah} (meal) that we had been invited to.  They had lots of fun eating and drinking and playing with all the kids there.

On Friday we were supposed to go to the Purim fair but by that stage I think we were a bit Purim’d out so we went to the park and just relaxed.

Needless to say, Purim in Israel is insane. Fun but insane.

Here are some pictures that Paul took over the Purim weekend.

 

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And that’s enough of that :)

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Here’s that post I promised about school in Israel

Since everyone is posting back to school photos and posts I thought it was time to tell you a bit about school in Israel.

*Please note that I may get some facts wrong.  I will try to make sure that everything posted here is as correct as possible.  Also note that a lot of what I am going to write is my own experience and that everyone will experience the school system differently.

The majority of schools in Israel are State Schools.  This means they are funded by the Department of Education and are therefore free.

For Aaron, who is in Kita Aleph/1st Grade, we still have to pay for his books and stationary.  We probably have to pay for a PTA type levy or a class fund but no one has asked us for anything like that yet, maybe because we started school in the middle of the year.

Faiths Gan (Pre-Kindergarten) also happens to be free (at least I hope so as they have only asked us for the PTA levy/class fund money and not anything else).

Children in Modi’in are assigned to schools according to their residential address, Aaron’s school is two blocks up the road from us. Faith’s is the same block as us, just on the road behind us (we can see the playground out our bedroom windows) and there is a nifty little path next to our apartment that cuts to the road behind us.

We drop the kids at school anytime between 7:30 and 8:00 and Aaron’s school day ends at 12:45 while Faith’s school day ends at 13:45.

Since we are working we have enrolled both children at aftercare.  This is a paid service and you have to register through the Education Department.  You can fetch the children no later than 16:45.  It is quite expensive but the children are given a hot lunch (yesterday they had chicken soup, hamburgers and salad), the older kids get homework supervision and they also have some kind of entertainment, either art class or drama or something sporty.

In Gan there is no uniform at all, kids wear what is comfortable for them.  In grade school the children wear a modified uniform.  They can wear any pants/skirts and shoes that they like.  T-shirts and sweaters/hoodies have to be plain (though can be any colour) and need to have the schools logo/badge printed on them.  The stores that sell the shirts also iron on the badges.

That’s the basics.

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Faith is loving Gan.  She is making friends and learning Hebrew.  She adores her teachers.

Aaron’s school is fantastic.  They are arranging for him to have additional Hebrew lessons so his vocab will increase and they also help him along during the day too.  He has made friends and is generally a very happy boy.

So far we are really really happy.

**It looks like a did get a fact or two wrong. Here is a comment that Dan left on Facebook for me:

You’ll have to pay for books every year. The school can charge an additional 1 time amount – depending on grade but with a cap set by the MoE – for extra activities (i.e. the annual trip.) The parent’s association may or may not ask for money at the start of the year but may ask for specific things – depends on the parents. The after-school is run by the municipality with no oversight from the MoE whatsoever. Education is from 3 and up in municipal schools although there are some schools in the city that are subsidized by the MoE and charge an extra fee and those any resident of the city can sign up for.

Go follow <Dan> on Twitter, he is funny and a font of information on Modi’in and living in Israel.  He also likes Star Wars so he gets extra points!

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The Pox

We reached a childhood milestone this last week.

Aaron was miserable and moany for a few days.  He woke up covered in spots. Chicken Pox!

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Poor kid is covered. Everywhere. He is achy and moany and miserable and sore.

Now we wait to see if Faith gets it…

sigh

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Your favourite things – Faith

TV programme:  Anything Superman!
iPhone App:  You love taking pictures and videos on my phone. You also love the Toca Boca apps on the iPad.
Meal:  Spaghetti and mince.
Fruit:  Bananas.
Vegetable:  Sweetcorn and peas.
Breakfast:  Coco Pops.
Drink:  Cream Soda.
Toy:  You love your superman figurine.
You love:  Joshy. You guys are getting married and having 5 children and going to live in the mountains.

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Something that happened yesterday:

Joshy came to play at your house.  It was the BEST DAY EVER!

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You will never catch me…

Thanks {Laura-Kim} and {Cindy} for the inspiration today :)

You will never catch me fighting with the kids about brushing their hair on the weekends, its just not worth the aggravation.

You will never catch me saying no to carbs.

You will never catch me without nail polish on.

You will never catch me wearing high heals unless its a very fancy function.

You will never catch me drinking decaf coffee.

You will never catch me drinking fat free anything.

You will never catch me running. Not unless something nasty is chasing me and even then, if it looks like it would be a quick, painless death I still may not run.

You will never catch me eating gummy bears, Turkish delight or licorice.

Gratuitous pics of my kids 😉

 

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What does love mean?

So, I fell off the #writersbootcampZA bandwagon, life is just way too hectic at the moment to be blogging everyday, as much I want to.  I may go back and revisit the topics and do them at my leisure though.

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Last night, while lying next to Faith at bed time, I told her I love her.  She said, “I love you mommy” back to me.  A minute later she pipes up, “Mommy, what does love mean?”

I thought for a moment, what does love mean, when I say I love her or she says she loves me?

I told her that it means that the person you love is in your heart all the time.  That she fills up my heart and that is why I tell her I love her.

She thought for a moment and then said, “And I am in daddy’s heart too!”

Yes baby girl, you are in all of our hearts!!

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Three things.

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On Thursday Aaron was at a play date.  They have a rather large and friendly dog who loves to play.  Aaron is very aware of the protocol for greeting ‘strange’ dogs, ask permission from the humans, hand out first so the dog can sniff him and then play gently.  The kids must have been a bit rough with the dog because Aaron got bitten on his arm.  Thank heavens he was wearing a hoody and a long sleeve T.  The bite broke the skin but didn’t bleed and we landed up having an anti-tet shot (which he has amusingly been calling a anti-TIT shot).  Thank heavens the experience didn’t scare him off dogs, he is still eager to play with any dog we come across.

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On Saturday we were at our cousins for tea and the kids were playing in the garden, there was a flower bed/rockery that Faith was climbing in and she must have tripped over a rock and she landed on her right wrist.  It swelled up immediately and she wouldnt move her arm.  So off we went to the ER and an hour or so, and a few x-rays later we discovered she has a green stick fracture in her wrist.  She is in a soft cast for a few days and on Wednesday I will take her for a hard cast.  Poor poppet was a bit miserable but she seems fine now and she has adjusted to using her left hand without any fuss.  Such a little trooper!

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Then on Saturday night, Aaron and I cleaned Ben the hamsters cage and played with him for a bit before bed time.  Sometime in the night Ben managed to break his back leg and when Aaron took him out to play with him in the morning he noticed it.  We rushed poor little Ben to the vet and were given three options, pin the leg and keep it immobile for six weeks, amputate or put the little thing down.  The first two options were risky in that he may not have survived the surgery and they would also mean he would have been in pain for quite some time.  I couldn’t put the poor boy through that so we made the decision to send him to the big hamster wheel in the sky.  Faith didn’t seem to really care when I explained it to them, she was more interested with the picture of the anatomy of a dog on the wall.  Aaron was a bit upset but he accepted that Ben wouldnt be in pain and that he was going to heaven.  He was quite happy when I told him that Uncle Cliffy would look after him.

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So, all in all an adventurous few days.  Lets hope that when they say bad things happen in threes they are right and we are done now.

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