Oy, what a week. I've been incredibly stressed this week over silly apartment things, and it's been one of those weeks where absolutely nothing has gone right or gotten done easily. It's the first week since I've been here that I've really missed America and somewhat wished to be back in the States. Israeli bureaucracy is really not very well organized (at least from my point of view), so doing something like getting the Arnona (tax) discount, which shouldn't be all that complicated, is actually a huge headache. Of course our landlord has been incommunicado so we haven't been able to get the documents we need from him to get the process started. If we can get a discount on these taxes, we'll save over $1,000, so it's worth it to keep trying. We're having some other silly but stressful issues as well, which have added to our week from hell.
To top it off, Israelis can be very rude and disgusting; yesterday as I was walking to ulpan, a strange man walked up to me, burped loudly in my face, laughed, and walked away. It was probably the strangest and most vulgar thing that has happened to me since I've been here, and of course instead of cussing him out I just stood there like an idiot in complete shock.
Since my stressful week obviously needed a very exciting ending, I spent last night with Steph at Haddassah Hospital. We're both fine, though last night was a rough one for Steph. Around 6:30 last night she had a sharp pain in her abdomen, immediately followed by profuse vomiting and much more intense pain. I called Magen David Adom (Israeli Red Cross) and they sent an ambulance over, which took forever to get here. They took Steph to the hospital and I went with her in the ambulance (which is not nearly as exciting as you might think.) When we got to the hospital, Steph was put into one of the ER "rooms" and we waited for a nurse. And waited. And waited. And FINALLY, a woman came in to get her vitals and give her pain meds, which didn't really work. Nancy, the "dean" of students and my new favorite person in the world, came to sit with us and helped immensely to get Steph the attention she needed and deserved and helped to keep both of us calm throughout the ordeal. Long story short, Steph apparently passed a kidney stone and was free to leave the hospital around 1am. She slept in this morning and has been perfectly fine ever since, thank goodness.
BTW, if you should ever need to be in an Israeli hospital (Gd forbid), be prepared for a janitor to clean the floors every hour or so and also to clean up and throw away your own bedpans and bloody gauze. Gross.
One bright spot of the evening was that Steph asked me to sing to her when she first got into her room in the ER. I sang a simple Shalom Rav and Oseh Shalom, but they seemed to be a great comfort to her. It was one of those "THIS is why I'm in Israel" moments that I will never forget. You can't imagine how powerful the combination of music and prayer can be until you're in a situation like that, when you're feeling totally helpless and then all of the sudden you have a purpose and a means of comfort for someone else. Needless to say, it was a very powerful moment for me.
Anyways, tomorrow a group of HUC'ers is going to the Dead Sea and the Ein Gedi spa, which I am incredibly excited and ready for. I have a deep tissue massage booked, which after this week I completely deserve, and it will be nice to get out of Jerusalem for a day. Tomorrow night the cantorial students have another synagogue tour and services at a Yemenite synagogue and then I am going to dinner at the Boxt's, which will be nice. I'm very ready for a relaxing and fun weekend with friends and to catch up on some much needed sleep and rest.
Anyways, I'm glad to know the week is over and that next week will be better. I'm also happy I can finally say "Kol Beseder", everything is fine. Much love to all.