I'll know more this weekend, when Elie comes home for the first time after spending time as a commander, but from the sounds of it, he's very busy, and loving it. ICQ seems to be a favorite method for young people to communicate in Israel, and probably around the world. Both Elie and his younger brother (the 18-year-old, not the 12-year-old) love to ICQ (can you call that a verb?). Amazingly enough, they'll even ICQ with their friends from school (after having spent a full day with them).
Somewhere along the line, I learned that in Israel, ICQ is hooked into our cellular phone company and so you can easily type messages and send them to someone's cellular phone (for free and much more easily than pressing so many buttons, so many times, on those little phone keyboards).
So, I decided to get with the program, literally. I downloaded ICQ and installed it on my work computer, only to realize that I don't know how to find Elie's ID. I managed to find someone who might be him...but wasn't sure.
"Hi, Elie. This is Ima." I typed out...only to realize that doesn't help much - Ima is Hebrew for mother. Most young Elie's probably have a mother called "Ima."
"Hope you are my Elie." I'm not doing to well here.
"Hope you can get home on Thursday." Ok, that's better - at least it cuts out all the Elie's that already live at home.
I sent the message and wondered how I would know if Elie got it or not.
A few hours later, still nothing.
"Hi Elie. I don't know if I have the right number. Call me when you get this. Aliza says hi." No, actually his little sister didn't say hi, but it was either referring to the dog or his sister and I think he's more likely to believe his sister said hi than the dog, right?
No answer. I might have to drive up north, and it rained here last night. The camping store called and I might forget to tell him. My new laptop computer is finally working. No, nothing really new to tell him, but I guess I just want to hear how he's doing.
So I finally call and get through. We talked for a few minutes - the laptop is fun; no, no rain up north; we'll see about Thursday; a Lebanese guy tried to cross the border; nothing new. It's comfortable up there; the food is, well, nothing much to write home about and he's still with some of his friends from the beginning.
Did you get my ICQ messages? I finally ask.
Yes, he told me, but he's been so busy, he really didn't have time to answer. No problem, I told him. I just wanted to make sure I had the right connection.
So, for now, he's up north, very busy, and apparently loving it.