I recently talked to my friend Noga who’s been following my adventures. I was interested but not surprised by her impressions of my writing. She was a tad irked (ech omrim “irk”?), not as much by what was on this site as much as what was NOT. “If I didn’t know you, I would wonder if you were enjoying yourself in Israel. You make fun of things a lot but you don’t always talk about what’s great.” The thought had in fact crossed my mind before; street cons, the toilet paper lady, and cold showers. Maybe she has a point. Those who know me are well-aware that I’m not cynical about life here (apparently unlike every Israeli, according to their opinions of themselves). It’s just more fun to make fun of the ridiculous stuff in life.
- I love that the women are not only hotter than Mitzpe Ramon in July but that they also have a Passover Seder. (Much like the fourth dimension, my human brain is incapable of processing this.)
- I love the outdoor cafes/kiosks on Rothschild and that Israelis universally agree that Starbucks (the altar to which American consumers bow their heads and pray) stinks.
- I love that the Ulpan teachers talk to you like you’re four and that immigrants from all over the world come together to speak the same language.
- I love that falafel is a healthy snack (OK, maybe I just love choosing to believe the American myth while I scarf it down forty-seven times a week.)
- I love that people I know from all over the place are always visiting this place, the center of the Jewish world (no, it’s not the Upper West Side.)
- I love that I can tell a joke about Rosh Hashana at a comedy club here and know that it will be understood by everyone in the audience.
“Kippur? I hardly know her!” (Settle down, that’s not a real line.)
- I love wearing jeans to virtually any social event.
- I love the kumkum and the utter shock on every Israeli’s face when they ask “but how do you make coffee in America???” in the same manner that teenagers ask how we survived before cell phones. (Since it takes an hour for my dud to heat up during the winter, I plan to shower in the kumkum until March.)
- I love that it’s 12:48 AM, tomorrow is a work day, and Cafe Aroma is still hopping. HOW DO THESE ISRAELI PEOPLE DO IT??? (This warrants its own post.)
- I love cab drivers and how they’re genuinely interested in what I’m doing here (and not because I have to tip them.) Sabras/tzabarim say this will wear off. I say we’ll see.
- I love expanding my already unrivaled vocabulary of ridiculous Hebrew and Arabic slang and that Israelis think I’m fluent because I can say I have to go the bathroom 47 different ways.
- I love arsim (from afar. When they’re leaving me alone.)
- I love Friday in Tel Aviv.
- I love English words which are directly absorbed into the Hebrew language. “Slicha, yesh li peepee!“
- I love how warm and proud of each new immigrant the former olim are and how so many treated me to an “aliyah beer” or dinner. I’m excited to pass it on to the next generation. Shoshana K., I’m waiting for you.
- I love how cheesy American pop music is welcomed with open arms here. For this reason, someone hypothetically can sit in the barber’s chair, get a proverbial spring in his step when “Backstreet’s Back” comes on, look around, and realize that nobody finds it the least bit weird that said song is being played. This is all hypothetical of course. It never happened.
- I love that I went to World AIDS Day and had my AIDS awareness raised by two macho sperm kicking a soccer ball. (Ok, Noga, I’m back to making fun of this country now.)
This is just a short list. So, my loyal readers, I ask you: what do you love about this place?