Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wow. by August blogger of the month David Weltman

View from train to Beersheva

Wow. When I landed and took the train in during the early morning down to this city (see above), after having traveled such a long route east, I was in such a daze. I arrived at my apartment and, despite being totally beyond tired, I somehow managed to stumble to the bank, spit out convoluted Hebrew, and open up a student account before going to sleep and messing with my sleep schedule that much further (which, as I am finding as I compose this post tonight at 9:30 P.M., is still the case).

Since we began this Sunday, we have all learned a lot about living in Beer Sheva. From the safety situation to the location of the mall and grocery stores to the not-so-secret elevator on the medical campus and so much more, this is certain to be the beginning of a long learning process on how to live as a student and as a resident, a גר תושב, as it were, in a country not our own. But we are here to do more than that. In the next four (or however many) years it will take for us to get there, this program will cause us to take on new challenges, new experiences, and give us a new set of tools with which we can change the world, one patient and one place at a time. In the meantime, an ulpan a day will do much to keep us future doctors at bay, if not away entirely. But, as the Israelis say—לאט, לאט—one step at a time, and we can get there.

Entrance to Caroline House, where the MSIH
has its administrative offices.
Meanwhile, for me, this week has been anything but clear-cut. My bags got lost in transit, and even as I type, one is now with me, one is at my friend’s place (since they couldn’t get in touch with me for delivery), and one is still lost in transit. I opened a bank account after a lot of backs-and-forths, only to arrive today to pick up my bankcard and checks and discover that they couldn’t find my passcode, so I’d have to wait some more. I also still have no SIM card and my credit card doesn’t work—both the SIM and my new card came in the mail today with sign-for delivery requirements, and I missed both of them.

Smile, its all for the best.
Despite all of this, as I passed a utility box a couple of days ago with a smiley face and the words תנו חיוך, הכל לטובה, “Give a smile, all is for the best,” I could not help but smile. This is the start of a brand new, amazing adventure. And I hope it will truly be for the best.

Hats off to our Israeli liaisons, Daphna, Dana, and Evy, for being such help to us before and during my journey down here, and to the wonderful staff of our program who helped us and continue to do so through our orientation. I can’t wait to see what’s in store next. It has been so awesome getting to know my fellow students over the past few days, and I’m looking forward to getting to know you all so much better as the days go on!  - August blogger of the month, David Weltman