Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Aug 17 Mid-week Observations

Just some observations about Israel:

* People do not say “No” here to questions such as “do you have...”, “do you sell...”, “do you know...”. Instead, they get very vague and mumble (more) and wave their hands and walk away.

* But there are more friendly people here. I get more response to my “Boker Tov” (good morning) here than I would at home.

* Today is Wednesday, and suddenly the greeting has changed a bit. Rather than “Boker Or” (the typical response to “boker tov” - boker means morning, tov means good, Or means light), today people are saying Shavua Tov (a good week) or Kol Tuv (all good). I am used to hearing Shavua Tov on Saturday night and maybe on Sunday, but wondering why the greeting switches midway through the week. Or perhaps I am just talking to different people?

* I have found my favorite breakfast: Turkish coffee (with milk and sugar) with a “bagele matok”, sort of a cross between a pretzel, a bagel and a pastry, sweet, with sesame seeds on top (sorry, Micah). YUM!

* There are cars, and all cars have horns. Most of the time, Israelis are very laid back about time. But not when they are the second or third car back behind a red light that suddenly turns green! They make Boston drivers look like country bumpkins.

* I am trying to speak Hebrew as much as possible, and rehearsing phrases in my head, to see if I can figure things out in advance of a conversation. But I don’t think the boys are doing so. For the most part they have not needed to. The Rabinowitz family is originally from Australia, so the kids speak perfect English, with the Levy clan, Adrin will translate for Sam, her cousin Alon speaks English fairly well, and Micah and Avia are tending to stay out of conversations, and last night with the Krispins, both boys of course speak English (having gone to school in the States). I’m doing all the commerce, dealing with the taxi drivers, ordering the food. David manages on his own when he travels, but he’s mostly leaving the conversations to me.

* We probably did not need Sofia’s car seat, since there has not been one single ride so far where she’s had her own seat. She sits on a lap in the taxis, and even on the van coming from the airport, she was on my lap. Oh well.

* I just picked up the laundry, and the guy had promised he would dry everything on low. The smell is much less perfumey this time, which is a very good thing!

* Poor David keeps staying up until 3am (or later). We get home after 10pm, and he gets on the computer and starts going through his 47 email messages (per day!). So we are trying not to do too much morning activity.

* Sam is sleeping late, too, but of course Micah and Sofia and I wake up early. It gives us some quiet time to get things done.

* The apartment is ... interesting. Size-wise, it’s perfect. Big bedroom for the kids to share, each with their own place to sleep - futon for Sofia, fold-out chair for Sam, couch for Micah. Decent sized living room with a long desk (attached to the wall) so we can have both computers working at the same time. Master bedroom plenty big (two twin beds pushed together, TONS of closet space). Kitchenette bigger than some other places we have rented around the world. But because we are deep in the heart of the city, there’s dirt. No, not really dirt. Grime. That sooty coating on the tile floors. Dingy. It’s gonna take a week of soaking to get Sofia’s feet clean when we get home.

* If I ever have a rental property of my own (which I hope never to do), I would have leather couches. I hate sitting on cloth couches that have been used by a million people before me. They just don’t feel clean. (And the fact that Sofia peed on the one cushioned chair in the living room is just another reason to have washable materials!).

* It’s tough to think and compose my words when there is an insistent little girl clutching my arm and saying, “Mama. Watch. Shrek Third. Mulan. PLEASE. Mama, Watch?” I have all her movies loaded on my computer, which just means I only get a chance on my computer when she’s asleep. This morning is an anomaly.

* Bring more than one plug adapter!!! We’ve had to share just the one, for my laptop, my camera battery, and four iPhones (well, three now, since Sam lost all access to his iPod for the week back when he was miserable on Shabbat). Which means you can only use each device for so long.

Mama, Watch. Mama, Watch? Mama, WATCH! Ok. Fine.