I have a larger post coming later today (after sleep) but for now a quick update:
I called Jerusalem at 3am EST (10AM Jerusalem) and I spoke to three wonderful people at NBN so I have a few things squared away:
1. I was having trouble with their website, but they did in-fact get my changes, which means that my Legal name in Israel will be Matan Ar’ye Schwartz (מתן אריה שוורץ). As soon as I said my name he goes “oh yes, you want to change your name to Matan…” so hopefully that means the computer has it, or he was just reading my request off the screen and hasn’t bothered to put it through…in which case the week after I land I’ll just go to the correct office and put the change through there.
2. They did receive my contract which means I’ll be getting my grant check soon (ohhh thank God I can’t even tell you how much I need that money…according to the terms of contract, I can’t reveal how much they’re giving me…but it’s a lot, and it’s incredibly helpful).
3. I’ve received my flight confirmation for Aliyah:
I leave 1:30PM on December 26th from ELAL at JFK Airport in New York and I land 7:10AM at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel on December 27th (though this may all be moved up by an hour, we’re waiting final confirmation from ELAL)…I’m incredibly happy that I land on the 27th…I take it as an incredibly positive sign. The party at Ben Gurion is an hour long, then the processing (I can’t imagine that going quickly so in the mean time, I’ll activate my cell phone and call home and let my parents know that I landed safely and then take out a book and read). After the check in process I have a certificate with Itai (nir1)’s address that will be a free cab ride to his apartment…the 28th-29th is Shabbat and on the 30th I’ll meet up with Shirah in Tel Aviv and begin the Bureaucracy process and then head back with her to go to Jerusalem (where I have to be a week from landing for the other NBN Party which is when I get my other papers back from NBN…what can I say, they’re big on parties). From Jerusalem, after the new years, I’ll be heading to the apartment that I have access to for the month before the Kibbutz Program starts…then I’ll be playing with Cows on the Kibbutz =D
4. I have to get my flight papers in order (not that they’re not in order, they are in order…just in separate folders) so now I need to put them into an action folio, tabbed based upon content (Certifications/Degree, Letters of Recommendation, Letters Attesting to Judaism, Aliyah Agency Papers, NBN Papers) so I can flip to them on demand.
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Before the flight in NYC, you’re supposed to arrive no later than 3 hours prior to the flight…which means I’ll be pacing around the house on The Island starting at 6am…and probably heading to the airport at 7am…and pacing around JFK at 7:30AM. Yes, I will be wired on caffeine…the odds of me sleeping the night before are slim to none (unless I have a booty call, in which case that will be from exhaustion)…the odds of me sleeping on the plane are incredibly high.
There is a going away party thing at JFK and a welcoming party at Ben Gurion (which if anyone wants to go to on either end, let me know and I’ll figure out the details…which are supposedly coming to me in another email).
Oh, and they’ve increased the weight I can carry in my luggage…which means that with the OED I can still have another 45 lbs in that bag, and another 60 in the other; for a total of 105 after the OED (which weighs 15lbs)…I don’t own 120lbs of stuff, so that makes my life a bit easier…and it makes me happy I can bring my OED and other reference books with me (…nerd what!?…yeah…)…I’ll be almost done packing this weekend (once that’s out of the way, I should be even less stressed).
Okay, sleeping until 12:30PM, then getting up and cleaning the apartment hardcore until 7pm (though I certainly hope to finish earlier than that), which is when Tami is coming over to look at the furniture, and after that giving my dishes to Jacqueline and Joe (since Jacqueline, Joe, Adira and her boyfriend are all going to my house for thanksgiving I’m using some of their trunk-space to bring my china back to my parents house). As soon as I’m done cleaning I need to finish a 200 word Tagalog Transcription for Phonetics and a computer programming assignment for my math class (and I really don’t want to hear any lip from the professor for being late on this one – he still owes me my first and third homework from the start of the semester…I’ve scratched his back…now he can blow me).
Okay…sleep time 😀