Our first weeks in Israel

We are six weeks into our move to Israel. Here are the highlights in a nutshell.

Israeli Bureaucracy

It’s everything you’ve heard about, and more. You book an appointment on a super advanced app only to arrive at a location that no longer exists. When you get to the right place, the lines can be so long that men use their time wisely and pull our their shavers to trim their beards right next to you (true story).

Finally, they set up your ID number, take your fingerprints and then throw obscure security questions at you that make you wonder what about you they don’t already know. That ID number becomes your single most important piece of information and you need it everywhere, ie., while filling up for gas and buying furniture.

National Security

A mere two weeks into our move we got a taste of Israel in a state of emergency. It was a bit scary. For a whole day we stayed in and I kept my shoes on in case of a siren. The next day, things seemed to have calmed down and we came out of our hibernation blinded by the sun. We then went to have lunch at a delectable Italian restaurant above which the day before the mighty iron dome intercepted a rocket. The restaurant was so busy, you would have never guessed. People here love to live (and eat).

Food

Amazing. The food scene is out of control and after weeks of eating out we must now go on a diet. The other day we went to a bakery where one rogallach turned into five other danishes. When the cashier asked if we wanted anything warmed up we shamefully replied, “all of it.”

Weather

Incredible. We’ve been to the beach and on a mini getaway to explore Israel’s northern wineries. We sat outside sipping wine and eating goat cheese. Meanwhile, the soup festival has begun. Apparently, it’s winter here.

Language

I’ve whipped out more Hebrew in the last few weeks than I have in years. Zvi is totally using his school-taught Hebrew and is doing great, except for the time where one government office was closed and he told the receptionist that we were told to come if it’s really “dafuk.” He meant to say “dachuf” aka urgent. What he said was more akin to the word “f*cked.”

The People

We were causally walking on Friday, when a car on the road suddenly stopped and a young woman started yelling to me. I was sure she was asking me for directions until it registered that she was asking me where I got my jacket from. Yep, she stopped traffic to find out. I yelled back “Zara!” to which she replied “from this year?!” Nope, from last year’s season, sorry. She thanked me and drove off. I couldn’t decide if she was crazy or confident. Probably a little of both, #onlyinisrael.

But I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out where Israelis get their confidence from. As kids they are swooned over by every single stranger and passerby. Israelis are especially obsessed with babies. Like obsessed. So far one cashier had me pull out my phone to video her making Ami laugh, and one worker at a car dealership claimed Ami was reaching for him (he doesn’t reach for people yet) and took him out of my arms and for a walk to peek at the cars. Our little guy has no stranger danger and went happily. After a few minutes, us Canadians politely asked for our son back.

Simply put, children here are treated like royalty. They skip all the lines, get free goodies and are adored by all. People rush out of the way when they see me coming with the stroller. Children are unequivocally the most important little beings in the country.

In summary, the last few weeks have been very eventful. Last week we were finally reunited  with our beds as our boat of furniture arrived. We’ve moved into our new place and community and are slowly settling in. I’m still pinching myself. This is real.

Till next time!

Sarit, the working yid, on mat leave, now living in Israel.

P.S. Turns out Ami looks exactly like the bamba baby.

 

 

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