I'm Eliana: Dartmouth College Tucker Fellow, Kiryat Malachi Scholastic Assistance Program English teacher, and over-the-top ENP fan. (For real. I really ought to stop rereading their brochures and Five-Year Report in my free time.)
And moving on:
So far as treats in Israel go, I'm more than satisfied. Even if we were to completely dismiss the relationships I've built or the experiences I've had, I could still get a kick out of just the stuff. I love the rows of gummy bears (/worms/hearts/berries/etc.) that they sell outside the Central Bus Station. And it's absolutely killing me that I have to wait till Rosh Hashana to wear my new dress. And I'm getting good use out of the spool of blue thread I bought partly because I needed it and mostly because the storekeeper complimented my Hebrew.
But those gummies are lucky if they live to see morning. And I suppose there's always the slight chance that I'll grow out of that dress somewhere between ages 19 and 120. And with a couple hours spent crocheting on buses everyday, my remaining thread is hanging by a thread.
Here's what I can keep:
English assignments. Loads of them, scraps of paper written on by Ethiopian-Israeli girls spending every day of their summer wanting to learn more. The girls who'd struggle over concepts like present progressive until they were confident that they understood, and who still had the persistence left over to memorize both the English and Cameroonian Fang lyrics to Shakira's "Waka Waka." I see their accomplishments in the morning that they granted permission for me to speak English to them alongside Hebrew, as well as in each of their self-edited and re-edited class writing exercises. Which I won't lose.
From our Let's-Talk-About-Why-We're-Here assignment:
"Education is very important to me. I can connect with people in a proper way. So we will be better people, and so we can find what is special in people. The world will be better."
From our Future-Tense assignment:
"I hope that in the future it will be good. That I can succeed in all that I do, fly to a lot of places (like Argentine, the U.S., Ethiopia, and more), and meet people from outside Israel. And simply to enjoy life and think more about the present."
From our Heck-Yeah-you-Should-Ask-Your-Parents-How-they-Got-Here assignment:
"My parents grew up in Ethiopia and they helped the family grow animals: cows, roosters, dogs, horses, and more. Their parents introduced them at a young age and so they knew each other, and they made aliyah to Israel and lived in Haifa. In a house like a caravan, next to the sea and there they had my sister. And they moved to live in Kiryat Malachi and I was born there and the family continued there."
From our I'll-Tell-you-to-Write-About-Your-Interests-but-You'll-All-Cheat-and-Just-List-Famous-People assignment:
"I like Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Eminem, Justin Timberlake…"
From our Subjunctive If-Then assignment:
"If Amir from the pizza store were my boyfriend, then I would eat pizza everyday.
"If Uri from school were my boyfriend, then I would ride his motorcycle."
From the Rosh Hashanah cards they gave me after class today:
"I wish you happy holiday new and I wish you really good luck on the future and happy and I want to say that you help me a lot and without I would not be good and you was my friend."
After about six weeks, tomorrow's our last day.
Here's what I know now:
1. If you don't push, you'll lose your seat on the hour-long bus to Kiryat Malachi. And then you'll probably fall on someone's face when the driver makes a sharp turn. Conclusion: Push. Pay. Sit.
2. Brush your hair in the morning. They will play with it, and tangles hurt.
3. The word for "refrigerator" in Hebrew is not "cold closet." But close enough.
4. If you dance to the Cupid Shuffle and the Cha-Cha Slide everyday for six weeks, these girls will never confuse their "right"s, "left"s, or "cha-cha-real-smooth"s.
5. Hold onto the scrap assignments that the girls write out in class. They're infinitely more special than gummy worms.