As my next door neighbor would say, "Oy v'voy!"
I had an appointment at 9:15 at the Ministry of Interior to renew my visa. So, I went and was supposed to see Alona at counter #1. I went up to the receptionist, who sent me to Room 201. A few people were standing outside of 201 and there were two not so happy women inside the office. They take one of the men, told the rest of us to sit, and then shut the door. OK, so I'm sitting there and finally I go in. I sit down and show her my papers, ask for Alona and she starts blabbering to me, of course in Hebrew.
"Mah zeh? Mah zeh? What's this?", in a really loud voice. She must think I'm hearing impaired because I'm not understanding her. I get out my paperwork, and say that I have an appointment at 9:15 with Alona. Of course, I'm pronouncing Alona's name, A LAH NAH. The woman, who apparently is not Alona, say's. "LO, LO Alahnah, ALO NA," Ok, fine I say, Alona. She then tells me to go to room 204.
I find 204. A guy was in talking to maybe Alona, who the heck knows by this time. He gets done and she tells him to shut the door. So now, a second door has been shut in my face. I'm in a narrow corridor and another women keeps asking me if you need an appointment. I say, "Ken, yes, you need an appointment." Then I point to the sign which said in English and Hebrew, YOU MUST HAVE AN APPOINTMENT, and you can only call for an appointment between 8:00 am and noon. Apparently the women didn't believe me. Another woman comes out of another office and tells me to sit down.
I said, "I have an appointment with Alona at 9:15 am", "Sit", she said. By this time I've lost patience and said in a not so subdued voice, "I have an appointment, if I sit how will anyone know that I'm here?" She said they will call your name. I thought to myself, I know where this is headed, but I sit down anyway.
Sure enough, about 10 minutes later I hear my name, or some facsimile of it, being called. Finally, my turn and it's only 9:30 am...not bad. The woman was SO nice, grace abounds even in the Ministry of Interior. "How are your supporting yourself? Do you have family here?" she asked me, "How long do you want to extend your visa?" "Until September". I say. To my amazement she agreed to it. I had to write a statement saying that I'm renting an apartment, how I was funding myself, and how long I want to stay. No problem, she granted the visa and I gave her 150 shekels. The Ministry of Interior is a like the DMV, only in Hebrew.
So, I'm good to go for another 10 months. But, that was just the beginning of my day.
I grab bus 30 to Mt Scopus where Hebrew University is and get off only to find banner's and students blockading the entrances. HU students are staging a strike against the teacher strike that has gone on now since the beginning of September. I find a classmate of mine at Rothberg and we surmised that we could get in but had to go to the entrance all the way around the university. Rothberg has too much backing from the US community = $$$ and they're not letting the strike effect us, yet. We went along with other Rothberg students. Yup, we crossed the picket line. Now I know there is a word for that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Once inside I headed to the computer lab to check email. Of course, what did I find but an email from the administrator of Rothberg. The subject line: One Time Class Cancellation. AAARRRGGGHHHHH. The text of the message: Professor Orded Irshai has cancelled class for today. OK, so he's the department head at Hebrew University for the Department of Jewish Studies. But did he really have to cancel class today, when Oy v'voy what a day I've already had? Apparently so. Guess the strike is getting to him.
So here I am, writing this blog.