The very last week of Ulpan was wild. We were scrambling to cover new material up to just a few days before the exam. We did make time for a class party where we all brought treats to share. The entire day before the exam, our teacher gave us one last practice test although this time she gave us the same time restrictions as we would have in the actual test. We were all super nervous to begin with and one by one as we each silently read through the reading portion of the test, groans could be heard from all over the room. The reading portion of the practice test was extremely hard with a lot of unfamiliar word and we all began to fear that the real test was just a little out of our reach. Our teacher was super encouraging and told us that just because the words in this practice test were difficult for us did not mean that the real test would be the same. Maybe the real test would end up being stories full of words and tenses we were really comfortable with. As hard as she tried to calm us, we all left pretty somber.
At home, I reviewed again the area that I am weakest in: prepositions. I was pretty confident I had that settled in my mind so I tried to come up with little ways to remember verb conjugations and also practiced the newest material we had just learned a few days before.
On test day we all arrived uncharacteristically early because, well, prolonging the inevitable really doesn't help. I was feeling confident enough to actually have a conversation (in Hebrew) with the shopkeeper at the corner where I bought a lucky Diet Coke (ha ha) and also with the secretaries of the Ulpan (who speak no English). We had fun reminiscing of the day I first showed up to Ulpan.
Unfortunately, I was unable to take the exam with my class because I am not a new citizen of Israel. I, and the other tourists, had to take the exam in the teachers lounge which still doesn't make any sense to me what so ever. I ended up with the highest score of all the tourists. I do not know how I scored in comparison to the new citizens since we were tested separately. I am supposed to pick up my little certificate this week.
Being on the other side of the exam is a huge relief but I am a little sad that the whole adventure is over. My biggest concern right now is to not lose everything I have learned over the past 6 months. I bought several Dr. Seuss books and a collection of Hans Christian Anderson stories in Hebrew to take home so that I can stay in practice as far as reading goes. I also have several good Israeli friends or American friends who are here still in Ulpan who promised to stay in touch over Skype so I can continue practice speaking. I have looked into a few options in the St Louis area where there may be Hebrew classes because I still have so much more to learn. So, really, this is not the end of the adventure but only just the amazing beginning.
The Hebrew adventure:
............ to be continued!