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So just a quick update on a bunch of little things.

First and foremost, the utterly deplorable “business practices” of El Al are again denying my the lawful return of my possessions. I called again today, to check and see if my items had actually gotten to JFK “for additional security testing,” as I was told they were en route to last time I called. This time, I was given the answer “I can’t actually tell you where they are, because I simply do not see them.”

This is entirely unacceptable: perhaps they were barely within their legal right to tell me what I can and cannot take onto their airplane (even though the “reasons” given were weak and had no clear evidence to back them up), but illegally seizing my possessions without returning them simply does not work. I am still trying to be polite on the phone, but at this point I am losing my patience with them. Specifically, I tire of their assurance “I’ll have the night shift call the US,” because this empty claim has never resulted in any new information being passed my way. The claim of some fellow passengers, that “El Al is really the only way to fly into Israel,” is a hollow one indeed – its the only way to fly if you’re looking to have your rights stomped on, your possessions handled by total strangers and confiscated ad naseum for an indeterminate period of time, and your personal finances shaken by their ridiculously overpriced tickets.

In terms of my living situation, it seems that my room is directly above the water heating mechanism for the entire building: our floor is always warm to the touch, and the water from our faucet always comes out somewhere between warm and hot. This is great while it is colder outside, but I shudder to consider the sensation of an overly warm floor upon waking up this summer.

Our next door neighbors are also a treat. As I have previously mentioned, the guy across the hall is all about burning his speakers out as soon as humanly possible, and does so with his door open. Directly to our left, we have a set of floormates who may just be tied for the best laugh in the entire world. One, a shorter guy, have a really deep-pitch rumble sort of a laugh. His friend/roommate (I haven’t figured out which yet) has this hyena-like staccato that emanates from deep in his belly and thus has the power of gale-force wind: it does, after all, reverberate throughout my room, rattling my possessions, teeth, and very soul. Its especially enjoyable after a long silence, because then its unexpected and makes dorm life into sort of a suspense film that I can’t get out of… 🙂

We had a mandatory academic registration orientation today after Hebrew, and beyond the useful information, the gentleman giving the talk explained that “all classes at HU are 4 academic hours. This means that they last 3 hours per week, because in Israel, an academic hour is equal to 45 minutes of time (due to studying so hard).” I was intensely pleased by this, as was everyone else there – this so perfectly frames the reality of Israeli bureaucracy and “efficiency.”

That’s all I have on these subjects for you. Hope you’re enjoying this blog.

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