All Around Town: An Errands Story

                  I've been living in Jerusalem now for a little while, settling in and such, but mostly I know the lay of the land here, having spent many a summer and holiday here before. This time is different though. It's not just, "Where should I eat tonight?" and "Where can I go later?" Because nowadays, I need to get stuff done. And what do I have to get done? Millions of errands! There is never a shortage of boxes to tick off on the myriad lists I have been compiling on my iPhone (right under "Lot B, section 33"- so I won't forget where I left my car in the mall that one time last year.) I've always had errands to do in New York (I'm a grown-up, thanks very much!) but they used to go faster and I think I may know why:
       This little beauty may have been perpetually low on gas (oops!) and never very clean (double oops!) but it got me from the bank to the post office to my grandpa's house in under an hour. In Israel, I can only hope to accomplish one full task in that amount of time on these 2 little legs of mine (well, average length for a Jewish girl.) The bus and rail systems in Jerusalem are quite good, but since I'm living in the center of town until my ulpan begins (shout out to the Bacharachs!) I try and walk to most of the locations I need. While this is fabulous for my cardiovascular system, in the Jerusalem summer heat, well let's just say: I'm shvitzing.
       So what are these very important errands? Let's just start with today and my new favorite hangout- the bank. After signing away my life and future offspring to the bank, they still wanted me to come back this week for my bank credit card. But did you know that the hours of the bank are insane? It closes for lunch from 1-4PM and then reopens til 6. Unless you are silly enough to want to come any day but Monday- then it closes at 1 and you, sir, can just go home! When you enter your bank, because for some reason, you need to swear allegiance toone bank in the country ("I will love you, King George Street bank, more than any other Bank Leumi!") you must get a number to speak to a woman who has no one else who needs her attention and can easily speak to you without the formality of a deli-shop number butwon't. She gives you your pin number, which the bank has chosen for you and you can not change. How will I ever commit it to memory?! She informs you it cannot be changed "until 120!"- which only lessens the sting because, how cute is that little infusion of Jewishness into her bad news? So cute!
         Then, you need to take all your pertinent bank information, and give it to the Ministry of Absorption. Do you think the Ministry is open when you need it? Nope! The door is open. The guards are there. But you will have to wait 2 more hours until the ministry is back from lunch. And I thought my speech therapist schedule was light- but municipal work here islaaaaid back. So while taking a break from my last errand, I decided to run another errand! One of the only kitchen appliances I regularly used back in the old country was my Keurig coffee maker. I would go so far as to say I loved my Keurig. So I did some research and decided to bring a mini one-cup Keurig with me to Israel (a total bargain after the Bed Beth and Beyond coupon!) Of course it will work, I thought, some lady brought one with her to Germany and it worked out splendidly! And so it did, the first day. By the second, the transformer I was using decided not to transform my coffee sufficiently, and so I went to the electrical expert (and by that, I mean the guy who works in the cell phone store) to possibly switch my voltage (yeah, that sounds right!) Undetermined price for services, undetermined period of time needed to fix my Keurig- errand success!
           Back to the Absorption office, where the lady tells me I need these papers, not thosepapers! Luckily, I saved every one of the papers I've been given, so after a bit of sifting, I had the right papers! Haha! One win for the little guy! What I realized, after signing yet more paperwork is that I can never commit a crime. Not that I was planning to, I would just be the easiest person to find! My signature's on everything, pictures of my face are on all documents, my bank information is connected to every other network I'm in, which is connected to my US banking info- I am most definitely in the system! She informs me that I'm all set, and I have an appointment for next week. Wait, what? If I'm all set, what's the meeting for? It's to go over all my benefits, in case I have any questions. Now, I never mentioned having questions, never asked any questions; but I suppose there's something nice about being signed up for an informational session anyway. Right? Right!
           All told, I have at least 5 new cards/documents sporting my name (in English and Hebrew) and my so-happy-to-be-in-Israel smile. Here is a nice little collage I made of them while waiting on one of the 3,000 lines of which I found myself a part:
           Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading about my errands significantly more than I enjoyed running them. Oh, who am I kidding- I live for this stuff!