After an exciting couple of months digging at Shiloh and Tel Burna, I’m finally back in Ariel. This week was pretty low-key. I spent some time unpacking, cleaning, and organizing.
I knew that I needed to figure out how to register for classes this fall, and I was kind of dreading it. It has been very difficult for me to figure out how to do anything on campus. The person in charge of helping international PhD students has been very nice and friendly yet very un-helpful.
Over the past few months, I have developed a strategy. I show up in his office and tell him what I need. Then, if he doesn’t give me the information that I need, I show up the next day and remind him. And then I show up the next day, and the day after that, and so forth until he gets tired of me pestering him and finally gives me what I need.
I planned to spent this week pestering him to tell me how to register for classes. However, when I showed up in his office on Sunday, he wasn’t there. It turns out that he no longer works at the university. Another employee is filling in for him right now. She was very helpful. She told me everything I needed to know about registration and helped me with several other things as well. It even sounds like she might be able to get me into classes in English rather than Hebrew. It is so nice to have a competent person in the office!
Having accomplished my entire week’s goals in 30 minutes, I ended up having a very relaxed week. I went to the pool several times, started on a workout program, and spent some time in the library reading interesting-looking books on random topics.
On Friday, I went to Shiloh and Jerusalem. At Shiloh, I met a tour group. Their group leader had gotten in touch with me and asked me to show the group what we found in our excavation this summer. The group was interested and excited, and I had a fun time showing them around.
From there, I headed to Jerusalem, where I had some errands to run. I tried to make it quick, since it was a hot day.
As I was walking from one place to another, I noticed some construction guys working. It looked like they were renovating a stone wall. I was fascinated to see one of the guys working with a chisel. We sometimes find ancient chisels in archaeological excavations, so I was very interested to see how modern workmen use a chisel. This guy was working on stones that were already in place in the wall. So, it seemed that he was not shaping the stones to fit into the wall. Apparently, his goal was to smooth out the face of the stones to make them look nicer. He held the chisel in his left hand and a hammer in his right hand. He placed the chisel where he wanted it and then struck it with the hammer. He worked quite quickly, landing strike after strike. The next time I’m in Jerusalem, I want to go back to that spot and see if I can see the chisel marks on the stones.
On the way back to Ariel, I noticed that the heat gauge in my car was creeping higher and higher. I pulled off at a gas station.
The gas station attendant didn’t speak much English, and my Hebrew is not sufficient to ask for coolant for my radiator. We finally communicated well enough that I understood that they had coolant, but she needed to know what type my car needed. I didn’t know the answer. I lifted the hood of my car. I was hoping that the radiator cap might provide the necessary information, since I didn’t really feel like sitting in the hot parking lot while I Goggle-Translated the owner’s manual.
Just then, a police car pulled up. The officer rolled down his window, and spoke to the attendant in Hebrew. She apparently explained the situation to him, because he stepped out of his car and came over to mine. While he examined my radiator, he spoke to me in English. He had a very American accent. He determined what type of coolant I needed and waited with me for the engine to cool down enough to open the radiator. He was friendly and chatted with me while we waited.
It turns out that he is from America, but now he lives in modern Shiloh. From his house, he can see our archaeological excavation area at ancient Shiloh, and he was interested to hear what we had found.
When my engine was sufficiently cool, he filled the radiator for me and sent me on my way.
I feel so grateful for the helpful people that showed up when I needed them this week. Both the lady in the university office and the police officer at the gas station were unexpected blessings to me, showing up and making things easy that would have otherwise been huge hassles.
And so the adventure continues.