“Does he have balls?”

Against my better judgement, I did not learn a ton (that is putting it generously) of Hebrew before we moved here. I wanted to. I like learning languages. I signed up for a five month intensive Hebrew class starting next month, but I wanted to start immediately. We bought books, and “methods.” We had visions of a utopian summer where we read all the books we had been meaning to read for years AND learned enough Hebrew to get by in our first few weeks here. The placelessness of this summer really jostled these plans into the ether, however.

To get to Tel Aviv, we left LA in mid-June. We drove up the coast to Santa Rosa, Mendocino, Arcata, Eugene, Portland (a few day trips), Seattle, and back to Eugene before flying to Boston to stay in Plymouth, with side trips to New York (me) and Chicago (Will), and finally drove to and flew out of Newark. We left for Tel Aviv in early August. Until we went to Seattle we had two dogs with us (Finnegan, and my grandmother’s dog, Ella), and then from then on we had just Finn with us. It was a very long moving process. Something about not having a space or a routine really eclipsed our efforts to learn Hebrew and we just didn’t.

While we can get by with English here for most things, I hate it. I hate immediately being a stereotypical American who does not speak the language and cockily assumes she can get by just speaking English. I hate calling places and cheerily but with a desperate edge chiming “Shalom! Inglit?” I hate laughing awkwardly as people try to make conversation in the street, and then hearing them say, “oh, you don’t speak Hebrew?” Yesterday, I hated when Finnegan surprised both of us by pooping in someone’s walkway…as a resident of that building was walking up the path. I hated being yelled at and not being able to understand, and not being able to profusely apologize and explain that it was unanticipated for me and the dog. So far, I like this city, and I would like to be able to speak its language.

Bureaucracy here is hard and different from what I’m used to, but it’s much more difficult not speaking the language of the country (obviously). I just spent probably an hour on the phone (split between two phone calls) trying to get a license for owning a dog (a requirement here), and to get Finnegan registered with the city. The woman I spoke with was patient, and helpful, but I really wished I could speak Hebrew. Or at least spell my dog’s name in Hebrew for her, without having to pause for an awkward 30 seconds between each letter while I confirmed that was how I would spell it. Not speaking Hebrew also led to the following back and forth:

“Does he have rabies?”

“No.”

“Okay he will need a vaccine.”

“He was vaccinated in May.”

“Okay, does he have balls?”

“Balls?”

“Balls. You get a discount if he doesn’t have balls.”

“He doesn’t have balls.”

Spay and neuter your pets, people. You get a discount if your dog doesn’t have balls.

And because this post was just text, here’s a picture of a really cool, zebra print bird I’ve seen around that I’m increasingly obsessed with:

IMG_1022

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5 thoughts on ““Does he have balls?”

  1. #1 – I’m so glad I just noticed this link on your Instagram. I laughed out loud multiple times while reading all the posts.

    #2 – did Finn hold his pee during the ENTIRE trip to Tel Aviv? I’m dying to know.

    #3 – the exterior bathroom art in TV is top notch.

    #4 – sending good apartment juju your way! Put us down for Cervez time once you’re settled 🍻

    P.s. Blog name = nailed it👌🏼💯

    Like

    1. #1 Oh man, thank you!! I’m glad you like the blog! So sweet 🙂

      #2 Ahhh, I can’t believe I didn’t give a follow up on that! Shockingly, Finn held his pee for 4 hours in the Newark airport, like 11ish hours on the plane, and then another couple hours going through customs. We were able to sprint over to a patch of grass to let him pee while boarding a bus to do paperwork at the airport, so that took the edge off, but then he had to hold it ANOTHER like 3 hours while we did everything we needed to do to get out of the airport. It was insane, and I can’t believe he did not pee.

      #3 I know, it’s the best bathroom art maybe ever.

      #4 YES on cerveztime! We should have internet this week. It’s on.

      P.S.: Thank you!! We spent the entire drive from Seattle to Eugene picking it, no big deal.

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  2. Hi Alivia!
    My God, You Are Brave! I moved across the country, but You one-upped me on that one! Your journal is Wonderful but I got exhausted reading it… You’ve traveled so far, just your driving was most likely as many miles as you’ve flown… OK, maybe not that much, but it’s Crazy… You’ve got youth & good health on your side! Me? I’d be the one in Finn’s suitcase & I’m WAY heavy! Well, if nothing else, you got to see what it’s like to travel with a baby on your lap, but at least he wasn’t screaming the whole way on the plane! Was he? Well, I’ve learned a bit about you thanks to my 1 in a million chance of finding your blog, & I think you are Amazing, you definitely have that Novak sense of humor that’s able to take a mentally scary situation & find the the light in it, no matter how pinpoint it is. So, all in all you’re having a great time?! Perhaps that’s a bit too pinpoint. Your little boy🐶is adorable… Thank God they adapt fairly easily. Well, I hope you find your home (I’ll light a candle for you!) so you can crack down & become the good little Israeli (is that the correct terminology? or perhaps Hebrew?) young woman that you, apparently, were meant to be! The Best Of Luck To You, Will & Finn! Purrs😻

    Like

  3. Hi Alivia!
    You Got Balls!
    My God, You Are Brave! I moved across the country, but You one-upped me on that one! Your journal is Wonderful but I got exhausted reading it… You’ve traveled so far, just your driving was most likely as many miles as you’ve flown… OK, maybe not that much, but it’s Crazy… You’ve got youth & good health on your side! Me? I’d be the one in Finn’s suitcase & I’m WAY heavy! Well, if nothing else, you got to see what it’s like to travel with a baby on your lap, but at least he wasn’t screaming the whole way on the plane! Was he? Well, I’ve learned a bit about you thanks to my 1 in a million chance of finding your blog, & I think you are Amazing, you definitely have that Novak sense of humor that’s able to take a mentally scary situation & find the the light in it, no matter how pinpoint it is. So, all in all you’re having a great time?! Perhaps that’s a bit too pinpoint. Your little boy🐶is adorable… Thank God they adapt fairly easily. Well, I hope you find your home (I’ll light a candle for you!) so you can crack down & become the good little Israeli (is that the correct terminology? or perhaps Hebrew?) young woman that you, apparently, were meant to be! The Best Of Luck To You, Will & Finn! Purrs😻

    Like

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