Encounters with Israelis

The Obama Netanyahu confrontation has been on my mind, although I find it more appealing to write about the more mundane things. It’s hard for me to contribute new ideas to the political discourse when so much has been said before. It is also hard to wrap my brain around these scary, existential issues without feeling depressed and pessimistic.

The day-to-day personal experiences and encounters are easier to digest, take apart and relate to others. For me, it is easier to draw the extraordinary and profound from the ordinary and mundane than the reverse. Nevertheless  I will make some time to write about the socio-political situation here. Just not yet…

I’ve been thinking about all of the interesting encounters I’ve had with people here and the ease with which I’ve been able to interact with people. In my experience, many people here are eager to engage in conversation and create a connection whether they are secular, religious, Zionist, post-Zionist, etc. It has certainly made me feel less lonely and also more a part of society here even though I still feel like I stick out like a sore thumb.

Take for example this young, slacker dude who works in the baby store where I ordered our stroller (yes I finally did it!) The store manager kept scolding him for not being meticulous enough with certain tasks, and for wearing a cross (yes you heard it, he’s into Christianity). Despite his blase demeanor, he was quite eager to engage in conversation or at least practice his English. He was one of these Israelis who was obviously not psyched to be living in Israel. He would have preferred to live in Switzerland with his Christian girlfriend. Which meant that he really couldn’t understand why I would move to Israel of all places.

And then there was the Mizrahi cab driver who took me to university. (I’ve been taking quite a few cabs to school as of late since it’s a bit harder these days to lug around a belly filled with belly in the Israeli heat.) It was funny I met him not long after the slacker dude because he was almost a foil him. He was very happy to be in Israel and talked about the importance of family.  He is one of those Israelis with six kids who wishes he could have had more. This guy was certainly happy to see that I was on my way to having a family myself.

As I stay here longer, I am starting to build personal relationships with family and community. I’m getting to know my grandmother’s cousins better, and increasingly enjoy their company. One of my cousins gave us a few baby items she no longer needed, which is MUCH appreciated. I also have a cousin my age that I’ve been able to hang out with. I wish I had spent more time with them earlier in the year, but I am trying to make up for it.

I’ve also met some lovely women at the pregnancy and baby studio that I’ve been frequenting. Yes! There is a studio in Raanana called Yug’z which holds prenatal and postnatal exercise classes as well as labor, parenting and music classes (for babies). Wow, what a find! The place is run by a vibrant and warm woman, Yaella, who came here from South African when she was 18–so she is really a native Israeli. She is wonderful as is Adi, who also works there.

I can attest that the prenatal exercise class has been a great way to meet people and also get some pregnancy-safe workouts in. You should see me rolling around with that belly of mine 🙂 I am also looking forward to going there and checking out some postnatal classes. I will certainly be glad to get out of the house at that point!

I’ve decided that this week is my last week at university.  I am less than 3 weeks from my due date, so I figured I better not gamble with fate. I am sad to be leaving my classes and friends, but I know I will be back next school year.

Even if I am on time or a little bit overtime, I could use the additional weeks to read as much coursework as possible, stock up on food and supplies and just get ready for the deluge! I have been warned by many that I will not have the time let alone the frame of mind to look at school work or do anything besides tend to the baby. Yeah I can totally see that. Well, we’re off to the races!

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