If you remember, two months ago we went to get Tova’s Report of Birth Abroad, and to request social security cards for both Shlomo and Tova. We were told that Tova needed a passport, and that I needed to bring Shlomo’s birth certificate in, and since I was short ten shekels to have the Report of Birth Abroad delivered to our home, I decided to do both things at once, and come back.
That was two months ago, and today I have just come back from the consulate, having accomplished both of the above goals. What happened in these past two months?
Well, first of all, we were told that the report of birth would be ready in a week or two. Not willing to travel all the way to Jerusalem only to find out that it wasn’t ready, I called two and a half weeks after our appointment, thinking that enough time would have passed that they would definitely have the report of birth waiting for us. The call didn’t go through. So I called again, a different day. On the third try, someone answered, told me that they couldn’t help me, and told me to email the consulate. I went online, found the email address, and emailed.
Two days later, I got an email saying that it was ready, and that I could pick it up on a Tuesday or Friday, between the hours of 12 and 2pm. Wow, good thing I emailed! When I was last there, I was told I could come in any day, any time, to pick up the documents. But apparently, they changed the rules. Which kind of makes sense, given the fact that they changed the appointment-making system, too, annoyingly enough. Now, you have to email them with date and time preferences, as well as all the forms and documents, and they get back to you with an appointment. Very annoying.
This left us, three weeks after our appointment, in a difficult position of having to go ONLY on a Tuesday or Friday, and if we didn’t make it out early enough – missing the opportunity entirely. Now, Tuesday does happen to be my day off, but because of that, there is always something that needs to happen that day. A couple of times I wanted to go, but something came up last minute. If it hadn’t been an only-Tuesday thing, Yitzchak would’ve gone a long time ago. In fact, we happened to be in Jerusalem, about a month ago, for two Shabbats in a row – but the first one didn’t work out (don’t remember why), and on the second one, I got lost because I tried to take a faster bus, and then got there too late. That was over a month ago, and the month that has passed since we have tried not to travel, simply because we have been forced to travel way too often, and we needed time at home.
Today, again, was a Tuesday, and I decided sometime last week that I was going to go today. Of course, as luck would have it, Yitzchak ended up needing to take Shlomo into Be’er Sheva today. I considered having Yitzchak go to the consulate instead of me, but dragging two kids by myself to gan, back, and dealing with them on my own until 5 or 6pm didn’t sound too great. Plus, like I told Yitzchak, if I go, I don’t have to worry about what might happen to him.
We got onto the bus to Jerusalem, and Tova and I fell asleep. We just missed the bus to the consulate, so I waited, took the “faster” bus, had the same thing happen, got off the “fast” bus and got on the right bus, and finally made it in. The citizen services window was closed, so I went to the non-citizen, visa window. Weird. Then they took my cell phone, charger, camera, and USB device, x-rayed my back and checked it manually, and told me to leave the stroller by the door.
I went in, no numbers this time, and went up to the window to ask for my documents. The guy at the window told me he’s not sure he can drop off the social security forms. What do you mean, you can’t? Nolan Klein said I can, and he’s the vice consul. Look at the back of the slip, he wrote that I can, signed it, and stamped it! But, of course, I didn’t say any of this, because the next thing that the window-guy said was, “When was this?” I said, “A while ago,’ and he looked at the papers and said, “A long while ago. I don’t think I can do it, but I have to ask my boss.”
In the end, he took the papers for the social security cards. My passport, Shlomo’s passport, and Tova’s passport, as well as Shlomo’s birth certificate and Tova’s report of birth, were all photocopied. Previously, they had photocopied both Yitzchak’s passport and mine, but this time they only took mine. I double-checked that it was okay and would still go through, and they said it was. So all we have to do now is pray. Because it can take six months (this time I heard eight) to get the papers, I asked what would happen if we moved in the middle. We don’t have any plans to move, but I asked just in case. They gave me a paper with the email of the social security on it, and said that if we move, we need to update them. Sigh.
At the consulate, there was one woman who needed her emergency passport for her flight tomorrow morning; and a mother and daughter who needed their emergency passports for their flight three hours from then (in other words, it took off three hours ago). When I had finished my business, I asked the mother and daughter to hold Tova for a minute so that I could use the bathroom. When I saw the huge wheelchair stall, I thought, “What a shame! I could’ve brought her in with me!” until I remembered that I couldn’t, because the stroller had been parked at the gate. Oh, well.
We got out of there, waited for a bus to the central station, just missed a bus back to Be’er Sheva, and then slept on the bus. With a baby and a big bag, I didn’t feel like sharing a seat, because I knew I’d need both spots. If Yitzchak had been with me, I wouldn’t have minded sharing, but whoever would have sat next to me wouldn’t have let me change diapers with the baby half on her and half on me, wouldn’t have liked my elbow or the baby’s feet taking up some of their personal space during a nursing session, wouldn’t have held the baby so that I could reach down and get stuff out of the bag at my feet, or given me what I needed from the bag without having to bend over double with a baby (if you share a seat, your bag goes on the floor; if you have two seats, your bag goes on the seat next to you, and if you have only one hand free, that’s a world of a difference), and wouldn’t have taken care of my bag so that I could hold Tova, or taken Tova so that I could have a break. Sooo . . . since three and a half hours had passed since she had last nursed, I plopped the bag in the window seat, took out a cloth diaper, plopped myself and Tova in the aisle seat, and started nursing. Yep. The bus was nearly overstuffed, but anyone looking for a seat just glanced at us and moved on to look for something else. In other words, it worked.* And I don’t feel bad, either. On the bus from Be’er Sheva, I had to share a seat. The lady next to me was nice, but it was squishy, I had no space, Tova was bouncing all over, I couldn’t even put my bag by my feet for lack of space and lack of hands, and while it was cute for forty-five minutes, I don’t know how I would’ve passed an hour and forty-five minutes that way. So, sorry guys, but I’m not sorry.
I would’ve gotten something to eat while I was in Jerusalem, but I was just going from bus to bus, and by the time I had half an hour (because I had just missed a bus), I had no energy to walk around, wait in line, find something, and then run back before the bus left. I figured to give myself ten minutes to get to the bus stop, which would have left me with fifteen or twenty. Chumus and crackers, or anything requiring two hands, was out of the question. And finding something edible, fast, that only required one hand – too much work.
So, I have only had two cups of hot chocolate today and some water. I’ve been up since six in the morning, and it’s now 7:15pm. And I’m too tired to get up and figure out what to make now, even though I’m home. Yitzchak went vegetable shopping (which means there’s nothing worth eating until he gets back), and pretty soon I have to leave for the school’s end-of-year party. I hate parties, but I feel like I should be there for my students.
*This would not have worked with a bottle, because maneuvering with a bottle is infinitely easier. Also, when people see someone breastfeeding, they immediately think, “She can’t move easily,” but when you are bottle feeding, you are simply holding a bottle as well as a baby. Therefore, I can’t see myself as having been able to pull this off if I were bottle-feeding. Actually, I have a story to prove this point, but that’s for another post. The point is, breastfeeding is terrifically convenient.