OPT: Other People’s Tupperware

OPT.

We all have some of it in our kitchens. It’s not pretty, and it’s not easy to even admit to yourself. You take home leftovers from a dinner party or your parent’s house, and you realize you’re growing a collection of mismatched plastic tupperware containers in the depths of your kitchen cabinets.

When it comes time to move apartments, you’re tasked with the unpleasant decision: Do I toss these innocent people’s tupperware? Some of the tops mysteriously have no bottom counterpart. Some are just crappy take-out containers. But you got them as gifts from some kind soul who fed you, and sent you home with even more food.

It’s just a shitty situation. Thankfully, the recycling bin will make me feel a little bit better about myself. Isn’t that what recycling is for anyway? Everyone wins.

Game of Thrones Re-Watch Explosionnn!

Memorable, awesome quotes:

Episode 2

  • A mind needs books like a sword needs a wet stone. – Tyrion
  • Too easily words of war become acts of war – Maestar Ludwin

Episode 3

  • We are the lords of small matters, here. – Lord Baelish about the royal council
  • Everyone who isn’t us, is our enemy – Cersei
  • We’ve come to a dangerous place. We can’t fight a war amongst ourselves. – Ned to Arya
  • I know a story about a boy who hated stories. – Old Nan

In Tel Aviv You Can Take Your Dog Almost Anywhere

I take my dog with me to:

  • work 3-4x per week
  • therapy
  • cafes and restaurants
  • bars
  • the mall

This is not going to be the case once I return to NY. It seems like everyone in Tel Aviv has a dog; most if not all of my close friends do. We talk about our dogs, they play with each other, we have days at the park for humans and dogs….

THEN SUDDENLY:

Today I went to Florentin, a neighorhood in South Tel Aviv known for its grittiness. I took my dog with me, and we stopped at some random felafel place on Derech¬†Salame (a real sh*thole of a busy street). I asked the guy at the counter for a cup of water, and said it was for my dog when he asked what kind of water I want. He got me the cup, but added “please take your dog outside, there are people eating in here.”

I bring my dog with me to nice, sit-down restaurants in expensive neighborhoods. This guy kicked her out of a small, dark felafel place, with 3 patrons inside.

The interesting thing about this – is that I really can’t blame him. He’s absolutely right. But I’ve grown so accustomed to taking her with me wherever I go, without a second thought, that I felt shafted at first. I wanted to laugh, and say “You silly felafel man! I can bring her¬†everywhere – but THIS PLACE?!?!

I reserved my judgment. And realize it’s one more f*cking thing that will require some readjusting when I move back to NY. It’s funny because I remember my initial shock – at dogs being allowed into cafes. I was at one, where two yellow labs were playing with each other while people sipped their coffees, read the paper and chatted with friends, as if there were not two humongous animals acting as though they were outside – INSIDE.

It’s amazing how sharply changed my perception of this small aspect of Tel Avivian life is.

How Long You in Israel?

This is a question I’m asked often.

The manner in which it’s asked – with both its awkward wording, and the forwardness with which it would spew forth from a complete stranger upon hearing my terrible American accent in Hebrew – was once grating to my ears. I used to wonder “Are they asking me how long have I been in Israel? Or how long will I stay here? How much time altogether? Should I subtract trips to the states, in my final answer?”

Every Anglo expat living in Israel is familiar with the question. When an Israeli asks it, he or she is wondering how long you have been in the country. Yet they’re also probably curious about how long you plan to stay, if you are a tourist or you’ve moved here, if you made aliyah, what you do, if you have family here, why you came here in the first place, etc.

It’s a reasonable question to ask when you meet someone not from “here”. Yet I’ve struggled with the answer, and with the very question itself, since I moved here in August of 2008. It always felt like an unwelcome invasion of privacy; just because I’m interested in purchasing your fresh lemon and mint juice, doesn’t mean I want to open up and tell you my life story, discuss my language acquisition skills or recite any line from a well-memorized script of generic and vague answers to a series of tough questions.

  1. I’m from New York.
  2. I live in Tel Aviv.
  3. My Hebrew is OK but not perfect, and having this conversation with you in English is frustrating.
  4. No, I don’t have family here.

Now that I’m planning my return to the states next month, I’m looking forward to finally being free of questioning every time I interact with a stranger on the street, at the dog park, at the drug store.

But part of me already misses it. The feeling that I’m “foreign”. It can be extremely inconvenient, when you’re not in the mood to meet people and just want to buy a bottle of water. But it can also feel really empowering, exotic and exciting.

When I move back to New York in a few weeks, no one will be able to tell where I’ve spent the last 3 1/2 years of my life. How I’ve experienced life for the past 3 1/2 years as a sort of active observer. It’s a huge part of why I’m ready to move back home – but at the same time I’m already anticipating a sort of anticlimactic return to normalcy.

I don’t want to blend in with the normies. I’ll have to find other ways to stand out other than my accent.