Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Israeli Kids

Yesterday was a giant boost to my self-esteem. It has been at least 10 years since I've been able to think of myself as both the fastest, and the tallest member of a sports team.

My Hebrew teacher, Chen, due to enormous pressure by her students, took us on a field trip to her son's third grade class.

(If you have spent much time in Jerusalem then you have probably seen the school - it's right off Ben Yehudah street).

As an introduction to the third graders, all of us American/French university students were drilled as to why we are in their classroom, why we are in Israel, what our names are, where we are from, why do we care about learning Hebrew, and then, if Jeff is a rapper.

We then split up into groups. The boy university students played basketball or soccer with the kids, and the girls did something else... I think they probably cooked or something.

So it was Jeff and me versus five third grade boys. And if it weren't for our height, we definitely would have lost. There was one kid, as you'll see in the pictures, who was a little over-weight, yet he could do everything ten times better than we could. I don't know if his lack of intimidation was because he is Israeli, or just because he could sense that Jeff and I were weak.

Anyway, the end score was tied 15 to 15 when the teacher called us in from recess.

And in the middle of all this, I did succeed in achieving the purpose of the trip. I improved my Hebrew speaking abilities. For example, "Sa! Sa! Sa!" means "drive the ball!". "Fowwelll Bawl" means foul. And "SHEET!" means "shit!" which was used a lot, without any reservation. They also liked to give eachother the finger.

One thing I recommend, if you get the chance, is to speak to kids when you are learning Hebrew. They aren't afraid to correct you, they actually don't know enough English to ruin your chance to practice speaking, and they are not too intimidating.

The classroom

Jeff trying to guard that kid. Ariel and French David playing soccer with the other kids.

The star. I'm not sure if it's visible or not, but there is a ton of random shit and rocks all around the basketball goals - good for falling on.


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