Wednesday, November 21, 2012
To live here is to have a beautiful life in a beautiful land but also – sometimes – balagan (craziness).
Sunday, November 18, 2012
“My country is under attack. You will hear about it soon enough...when we retaliate.”My country being Israel. Our attackers, Hamas and its supporters in Gaza. And on the fifth day we did retaliate. And so began Operation Pillar of Defense.
Everyone sent us their heartfelt support. But we’re out of rocket range, I kept telling them. Don’t feel bad for us. Feel bad for my friends and neighbors whose husbands and sons and sons-in-law are being called to the front.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
30 days has September, April, June, and NovemberAll the rest have 31Except for, quite contrary, February, which has 28…most of the timeBut in LEAP YEAR, 29!
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Swirling Thoughts #219 - you really don't have to speak hebrew. but then u need to understand the signs better.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Them. We did not switch your seat. We switched planes and now your seat is a middle and not a window, but it’s the name number.
Me. Yes, but now I am in the middle and before I had a window.
Them. There is nothing we can do and it’s not our fault.
Me. Well it’s not my fault either and it’s not fair.
Them. There is nothing we can do and it’s not our fault. We did not switch you. We switched planes.
Me. Okay. The extra seat added. Why don't you switch that guy to the middle and move me to the window as originally done.
Them. We can't do it. This is his seat.
Me. No, it’s my seat because you switched planes.
Them. No it is not. There is nothing we can do. What do you want us to do?
Me. Switch me to an aisle seat.
Them. (after checking...) There is nothing available. We are overbooked. There is nothing we can do.
Me. Okay. All I want is for you to say that you are sorry and what was done to me was not fair.
Them. I can't do that. It is fair. We did not change your seat we ....
Me. Yes I know you just switched planes. You told me that. Do you really think what happened was fair? I am not blaming you. I just want you to acknowledge it is not fair and an apology. That's all. And I want you to know I am not happy.
Them. No. (then silence). You are right. It’s not fair. I thought I apologized.
Me. You did not.
Them. Are you sure I did not apologize?
Them. I am sorry.
Me. Okay. Please switch me.
Switched to an exit row, aisle seat!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Let’s do something tomorrow. Something fun.
Wanna get breakfast at the mall?
Um, well, there’s this Jerusalem Ice Festival. Maybe we can hit that first....
We arrive at the ice festival which is actually called Ir Hakerach, City of Ice. We park and notice but don’t really notice mothers bundling up their kids (on this 50°F day) with mittens, hats, and scarves. Israelis really don't like the cold.
Bob: So what is this? Mini ice sculptures?
Me: No, I think it’s life-sized stuff. Something about Jaffa Gate made out of ice.
Bob: This is Israel. There is no way they wasted enough water to make a life-sized Jaffa Gate.
We arrive at the paying kiosk. 2 adults. Maybe she didn’t notice the stroller. Except that would mean she was blind because when I asked if she spoke English and she motioned me to another kiosk window I specifically said,
Bob, you speak with her so we don’t have to move the stroller.
And I gestured to Bob. Who was standing 2 feet away with the stroller.
So maybe she noticed the stroller but she didn’t notice the baby inside….
Now we move through the entrance line. It’s all set up for a crowd of a bajillion but there’s only me and Bob and a handful of people in front of us.
Suddenly everyone is upon us. In Hebrew and in English.
Assur l'agala! (It is forbidden to take the stroller.)
I was prepared for this. I brought the wrappy carrying thing.
There was a LOT of gasping when people saw me taking the baby out of the stroller and putting her in the wrappy thing.
Assur le’tinok! (It is forbidden for the baby!)
As it turns out, it is not forbidden by the police, like the stroller is. But it is VERY NOT GOOD, according to everyone at the entrance, to bring in the baby.
Ice City Employee: It’s -10°C in there!
Bob (to me): What’s minus 10, anyway?
Me: I don’t know but I thought the write-up said something about 17. or maybe 27.
Bob: We don’t even know what 27 is anymore. Is that cold or hot?
Passerby: it’s MINSK in there.
Bob: MINSK? We’re from New York. How cold could it really be? These Israelis are such wimps.
We press pass the naysayers, baby wrapped, covered with a blanket. They are offering jackets to people as they enter. Bob takes a jacket. I think, “LICE! Don’t take it!” but then a blast of Siberian air whips across my face and I grab one and put it on backwards to cover the baby.
Amid a sea of disapproving stares we open the door to the actual exhibit.
One winter break we returned from Florida to something like -7°F in New York. My in-laws came to the airport loaded up with wool blankets. We threw the blankets over the kids in their strollers and I’ll never forget how cold it was when we pushed those strollers out the airport door. You couldn’t breathe.
Ir Hakerach is not as cold. But it’s definitely close. We agree to move through the exhibit quickly, which we do, stopping only to snap some photos of the (life-sized!) Jaffa Gate and the James Bond-style ice bar serving up Absolut Vodka. There are grown-ups flying down ice slides and kids running through ice tunnels. It is 4 minutes of ice magic.
We make our way out.
Bob: Wow it’s really warm outside.
Passerby in the parking lot (in Hebrew): You really should pay more attention to your baby’s health.
Bob: What do you want to do now?
Me: Wanna get breakfast at the mall?
Bob: Sounds great.
Video on how they built it
Thursday, March 1, 2012
* Ani memaheret
When I moved to Israel I like to think I left that rapid-fire New York pace behind. But just in case, I’ve got ‘I’m in a hurry’ stored in my phone.
* Ubiquitous Axel F
I couldn’t figure out why 8 year olds were doing gymnastics to the Beverly Hills Cop theme song. And also 10 year olds doing Tae Kwon Do. And also 9 year olds doing dance. Now I get it. As it turns out, it’s Crazy Frog – Axel F (not to be confused with the original Axel Foley song from Beverly Hills Cop even though I totally confused them because it is the same exact song, just with some ‘crazy frog’ sound effects) – this crazy frog song ranks right up there with HaTikva in terms of songs you are guaranteed to hear if your child is in any school or after-school performance of any type.
* Twisty ties, the REAL Johnson’s baby lotion, my electric pencil sharpener
I can only describe this entry as ‘Things I love that come from America – reduced to 3 essentials.’
Means, literally, Bob Sponge.
* Oreo Car
There were rumors about an Oreo Car. I dismissed them as the talk of people delirious from Oreo deprivation. And then, suddenly, out of nowhere, my own eyes beheld the whimsical Oreo Car. A seemingly ordinary car with…a gigantic Oreo on the roof! Um, world, there is an Oreo Car lost in the West Bank.
* Teenager on cell phone driving erratically. On donkey.
What can I add to this?
* The sky is not even one pitch of blue
This is something Rosie said to me in a typical example of English speakers translating from Hebrew to speak English. Or of just not knowing how to speak English properly. Which, by the way, is now the ultimate insult among my kids.
You don’t even know how to speak English!
I lived in America ‘til I was 6!
Well I lived in America ‘til I was 9!
* Conspiracy Theory
First we were supposed to boycott Tnuva. Because the cottage cheese was too expensive. (Who do I talk to about organizing a boycott of new cars?) Now we’re supposed to boycott Elite & Strauss. (Somehow our socialist economy has produced an all-powerful chocolate monopoly.) I’m not sure what to make of it all. And this only complicates my understanding; I mean, is cottage cheese inherently expensive or are we actually subsidizing Newark Liberty International Airport? I ask you.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
And so there are stories to tell but I lack the energy to relay them in their full hilarity.
For starters, the story of procuring a US passport for Sarah. Which involved 100 failed attempts at photographing a 2 month old without parental appendages, shadows, and unnatural expressions.
There was the dramatic Hollywood moment where I ran toward the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, arms flailing, shouting, “I’m an American Citizen! Open the gaaaaaaate!” Because I just couldn't resist.
And there’s more stuff which I really should write about – the orange pay phones inside the embassy which only take special cards but nobody has a special card (no cell phones permitted inside the embassy). My friend once asked a shopkeeper for the special card and he asked her for her cell phone number so he could sms (text) her the special card pin. Um. Yeah.
The juxtaposition of the southern Virginia drawl of the American consulate workers with the y’alla pace of the Israelis working for the embassy is funny but not as funny as the spreadsheet we got on how it is possible for American grandparents to commute citizenship to grandchildren born in Israel. Post mortem.
Then there’s the story of how America looks through the eyes of an American who’s been living in Israel for 2 ½ years. You guys have re-usable Tropicana jugs now!
As I suspected, America is still the land of 24 ounce coffees in REALLY THICK PAPER CUPS, blueberries as far as my eye could see, and ridiculously nice store clerks.
My Target list read like a camp scavenger hunt. My best surprise find was the twisty ties my sister in law had in her junk drawer. She had maybe 300 of them. I took them all.
There’s the story of the jet lag upon returning to Israel. Which is mostly a story about Peetoosh making ridiculous demands in the middle of the night.
“I want to go OUTSIDE!”
“Um, Peetoosh, it’s 3 in the morning.”
And finally there’s the story about Cellcom. Cellcom who calls me weekly but only wants to speak with Bob. About free gifts which I try to reject but they cannot accept my rejection since I am not Bob. For the record, Bob is usually right next to me, waving his hands in an “I am NOT here” gesture. Anyway, today as Bob slept off more of our collective jetlag, a Cellcom rep called me and asked where our house was. I woke up Bob.
“Um, did you ask Cellcom to send a rep here?”
Ten minutes later I looked outside and they were talking.
One minute after that, he was gone.
“Why was the Cellcom guy here?”
“I wanted them to do something about our klita” (reception)
“But he left.”
“Yes, he left.”
“Did he do something?”
“Why didn’t he do something?”
“Well, for the neighbor, they did something to give them klita all over the house."
"That sounds great!"
"Yes it does. But for us they wanted to do something to give us klita in just one room.”
“Just one room?”
“Just one room.”
“So I sent him away.”
And so we are back. A fine visit with family and friends, and just enough smiling customer service, blueberries, and twisty ties to hold us over until next time.
And in case you were wondering, it is good to be back.