So it’s been over two months since I last updated…oops. It is a perfect example of how the past two months have flown by, however, and I really struggled to keep in touch (as if I don’t struggle enough with that regularly).
So since I last wrote I started…and finished…my training course for my job in the army. It was a 6 week course from the end of October until December 1st. I did what is called 12-2 meaning I was on base for 12 days and came home for two (every other Shabbat at home). That is probably the main reason why time flew by so quickly. I was back to the rules like basic training where I could only use my phone during meal breaks and during my hour before bed where I had to shower and get ready for the next day. I’ll split the course into thirds to explain how it went.
The first few days/two weeks were really difficult for me. We spent the entire day, 7/8am until 8/9pm in a classroom learning about the system of the army and then how it all relates to our job. There was so much army terminology that I didn’t understand that it made it really hard for me to follow the lessons the first couple days. I, unlike many of the Israelis, didn’t grow up in a society were everyone goes to the army, and these terms were not common language for me. Not to mention that I didn’t and still don’t have any idea what most of the words are in English (again, because I didn’t grow up with army terminology in my lexicon). The best part of all the new vocab is that you have to remember every word twice, because no one uses the full words in the army. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is in abbreviations and acronyms (like NASA). I was a bit stressed the first few weeks, especially because of the weekly tests, which were really difficult for me. It was not enough to sit in the lessons, understand the Hebrew, simultaneously take notes in Hebrew, and review during every break, I had to then understand what the heck they were asking me on the test and then figure out how to get the answer out in some relatively comprehendible style of Hebrew. Test scores week 1: 45, 48 corrected to 63, and a 65. Did I mention an 80 is passing?
The next two weeks of the course were more fun and less stressful. I had gotten the hang of how to get the most out of the lessons, I asked more questions, and we had trips around the country which helped with the “out of the classroom” more hands on type learning. Test scores week 2: 68, 76…movin on up!
The last two weeks were a lot more fun with many more out of the classroom activities, trips, general knowledge learning, etc. We broke up into our specific positions, either Liaison (me) or International Military Partnership Activity (yea, I just translated that directly, sorry). The former dealing with the countries on Israel’s border; Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt (holla!), and the latter dealing with all the other countries in the world that Israel talks to including Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America, you name it. I spent even more effort on hanging out with friends and having a good time the last two weeks than I did the previous month and it seems like it paid off; test scores week 3: 81, 84…hell yeah! I don’t know what I got on my final test because I never got it back (shows you how much the scores actually matter) but my final grade for the course overall was 90. The final grade includes the tests, simulations, the half hour presentation I did on Iraq, my job of managing our supplies for a week, and then things like effort, relationships, ability to work with others, how we deal with the system of the army and the course specifically, etc. From a 45 to a 90 in just 6 weeks…not too shabby ;)
I’m going to wrap it up and I’ll post again soon. We had our ceremony on November 30th (Shout out to my best friend Jen’s 24th birthday that was the same day!) and my sister, Eli, Daniel, and mahhm Deborah all came to support me. Sidenote: Mahhm brought me turkey and absolutely delicious pie (both pecan AND pumpkin) from Thanksgiving since I was on base and missed it, big Mahhm points right there. Anyway, it was great to meet everyone’s family since I had known some of the people for 4 ½ months already (since basic training) and felt like I knew so much about their lives and their family/friends. We got certificates and pins to put on our uniforms, my commander gave me his pin off his uniform instead of a new one, he was the best.
We got our assignments the next day…I’m a liaison to Egypt! More on that to come…
P.S. I have pics but my internet is in the process of getting fixed so they will be uploaded this weekend.