Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy New Year...with a resolution

I miss blogging...Its been too long since I've posted, and too long since I've taken it seriously. Now that Akiva is over a year (!) and I've got a bit more time to blog (we're down to one nap a day = earlier bedtime), I'll try and be back. For my sake. Because I've noticed I've become rather stress-y and nasty and blogging somehow destressed me and make me put things into perspective.

That being said, I've been thinking a lot about my stress levels and why I am, as Bryan puts it, "A tee-pee and a wigwam" (two tents = too tense). I was trying to think about why I am so tense, and when that started, since I used to be really laid-back and more carefree. Anyone who knows me from my childhood would agree. Was it just adulthood, with more responsibilities, which pushes me over the edge?

Recently, I've realized what the catalyst was...it's living here in Israel. Now, here comes the not-so-pro-aliyah talk: If I ever made yerida (moved back to America, or anywhere else for that matter) it would be for one reason only. Not because I'd have a better lifestyle somewhere else, not because life would be easier in English, and not because the shopping is better. Israelis, for all their quirks and charms, are among the most self-centered people I know. Nowhere is this more evident that on the roads.

People cut in front of you, without a care as to what will happen when you are forced to slam on the breaks in order to avoid an accident, knowing that at least they're safe. Turning signals are used for purely decorative purposes. If an exit lane is moving particularly slowly (because the turn-off has a light or whatever), they will simply move over to the lane to the left of the exit lane, speed to the front of the line, and cut in. Leaving us fools waiting for hours to exit, watching the jerks behind you whizz by. Off-road people are much the same. They cut you in line at the grocery, the bank, the post-office, the buffet. "Lo kara kloom" (nothing happened!) they exclaim when you point out their misdemeanor, making you look like the petty one for begrudging one person a few spare minutes. They never think that other people in the line may also be in a rush.

I'm finding this self-centeredness exhausting. I feel like I always have to be on the alert for someone looking to cut me in line, cut me off, screw me over. And this, I think, is why I am so tense. And nowhere is this selfish behavior more apparent than in our holy city of Jerusalem. I've now lived elsewhere, I see the differences.

To pro-Zionistic, shiny happy hand-holders in America, Israelis are warm, friendly, a bit rude, and open. I know, I thought this way too a few years back. But as my acculturation in Israel is nearing complete (I'm fluent, I work in an Israeli hospital, I go to an Israeli university, I understand army slang), I'm finding myself somewhat disappointed.

When I heard about friends who were making yerida for "a few years" I asked Bryan his thoughts. He won't even think about it. He says my whole family is here, he's finally feeling comfortable here, finally got a good job (starts after the chagim, much better salary and its in Jerusalem). I have a job I more or less like, I've only got one year left to school, Akiva is happy in his new mishpachton (childcare).

We've settled on the fact that we definitely have to leave Jerusalem for the suburbs...things seem better over there. But that won't happen until we can afford to buy, and that won't be for a while. So my Rosh Hashana resolution is to find a way to be less affected by the behaviors around me...I've started going to the gym, tried yoga (not for me...I found myself thinking of good recipes for fish items, instead of performing the Downward Dog), finally put up flowers and a swing on our tiny little porch in an attempt to create an "oasis".

I wish all of you a happy, healthy, personally fulfilling 5768. Lets all find a placed where we can call "home".

4 Comments:

Blogger Evan said...

Interesting, because I've heard many complaints about Israeli behavior, but I never really noticed any of it. I figured it's like the heat, nothing you can do about it, so might as well ignore it. But I don't think it's "cute" or anything like that. We'll see. I'm coming home from America in less than a week, so maybe I'll notice the difference when I return.

3:53 AM  
Anonymous Eithan said...

"Israelis, for all their quirks and charms, are among the most self-centered people I know."

As a native Israeli (albeit with an Anglo-Saxon background and years spent living abroad), I'm rather offended by your "observation". There are so many things about Israelis that prove you wrong, that I really aren't gonna go into it.

Let me just ask you this - is spending three years of your risking your life to defend your country a self-centered thing to do?

You think I signed on to go be an officer, stayed in the army for almost 5 years, because I was thinking of myself? Yeah, I really felt it would be good for me to put my life on hold until age 23. Or not.

What have you done for your country lately?

Where were you in the war last summer?

11:59 AM  
Blogger Yehudi01 said...

G-d bless you guys! It sounds exhausting...my wife and I are making aliyah soon, so we're riveted to stories from, "The Promised Land." Keep smiling, don't lose your charm, and watch out for Islamic nutjobs. :)

5:30 AM  
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