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Aliya Mama - Marianne Tanzer, posted December 20, 2011


[Marianne Tanzer, wife of Fromer Winnipegger Koby Tanzer, who has made aliya wrote this recently on her blog

With Elan’s first birthday looming, I decided it was time to get my body in motion and wiggle off some of my remaining postpartum jiggle.  Koby and I set out for our Friday morning “date” at the Country Club gym.  The exercise room looks like any modern fitness facility – rows of treadmills, elliptical machines, and the like.  A dozen or so large screen TVs are plastered onto the walls to distract one from the inevitable exercise activity at hand.  I practically squeal with delight to see that many of the machines have large individual TVs.  Now I really won’t have to pay attention to what I am doing!

In my last stint with the gym, I was partial to the elliptical machine, so I head over to their colony on one side of the gym.  I choose one with its own TV screen, called “Cardio Theater.”  The elliptical machine doesn’t exactly look like the one I am familiar with.  It is more of a venus fly trap of metal, with large moving bars for legs arms, and some sort of stabilizing device. I work my way in and hop on the tangle of twisted metal meant to slim me down.  I press Quick Start and I am off and running, or so I think.

First, I need to set my time and “course”, and the resistance.  I choose a button that has a picture of the course that looks reasonable to me.  The display panel reads “Press OK.”  It is at this moment that the remaining buttons on the machine come into focus.  They are all in Hebrew, of course!  Where is OK??  Does the button actually read “Beseder” (Hebrew for OK)?  Panic sets in as I can’t figure out what to do next.  The machine tells me to Pedal Faster.  I see Koby across the gym, tuned into his headphones and tuned out to my distress.  I want to send out a smoke signal to my trusty translator, yet I don’t want to disturb his workout.  Somehow, I get the course to begin.  I have no idea how long it will go for, what level it is, or how to discern these details.

I move onto setting up my “Cardio Theater.”  The screen is black.  There is no apparent power button; only buttons for volume and channel, which are thankfully in English.  Yet, neither of them do a thing.  I start randomly pressing buttons.  How am I supposed to hear this thing anyways?  Where do I plug in my earphones?  I am really confused.  I peer at the machine next to me.  Deducing that something could be wrong with my machine, I decided to hop on to another similar machine, which somehow presents its own series of unique challenges.  I give up and go back to the first machine.  I must look like one of those complete gym novices, haplessly flapping from one machine to the next, unable to actually get started.

I eventually give up on the Cardio Theater, and decide to watch whatever is on the giant TV screens in front of me, while listening to my random assortment of 80s pop and cool Jewish music that is on my iPhone.  I am pleased to see a movie that  I can watch without sound (Readers, can you name the blurry Tom Hanks flick shown in one of my photos above!?).  I am equally pleased that I survive my workout.  Panting, I meet Koby to strech.  He asks me how it went. I respond with a grin, “That was a blog post.”

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