Pesach break is over (finally! Rafi had off for over a week before Pesach even began) and my daily routine has resumed. This morning I got more done on my job search than in the last two weeks–but I think the rest of the country similarly stops over Pesach. It’s very much a holiday season.
For a while I’ve been meaning to write about a very Israeli moment: I walked into the supermarket and saw a boy Rafi’s age eating a whole raw tomato and waving around a toy gun.
Do I ever say, in America, “That’s a very American moment,” or do such moments pass me by as part of the scenery? I suspect the latter. Already this experience has taught me to look at my native country through different eyes and not to assume that the way we do things in America is the only way to do them (for better or for worse).
Anyway, I’m starting to get accustomed to the way things work here. I think.
At Home Center I was able to navigate some transactions that required actual conversations, such as, “Do I have to carry 60 pounds of dirt in here for you to ring it up, or is there another way to do it?” (She sent me outside to have the security guard write down the PLC.) And such as, “You charged me for four pairs of hooks for my planters instead of four hook/two pairs,” and, “How do I get cash back instead of store credit?”
At the shuk I ordered in Hebrew and asked him to clean but not cut up my fish, and I told the nut seller that he gave me too many, put some back.
These seem like small things, but I am not an assertive or bold person, not one to speak up, and as I’ve said before on this blog (I think), it’s not so much that I lack the Hebrew words–although there are certainly many that I have had to learn–as that I lack the confidence in what words to say and how to say them. There’s a certain formula in how to order and shop. Jeff says, “Just let them walk you through it,” but I find that I don’t always end up with what I want that way.
I did get the cash back at Home Center, but I didn’t get what I wanted at the shuk. In addition to a large musht (St. Peter’s fish, which I just found out is a kind of tilapia), I had also asked for half a kilo of some kind of small fish, and when I got home I discovered that while they had gutted the large fish, they had not gutted the small ones. (At Whole Foods in America they gutted each and every sardine.) So now I know how to gut fish. I thought about burying the guts in my planters as fertilizer but realized I didn’t have space…so I took them outside, said, “Here, kitty kitty,” and dumped them out for the cat that lives in the backyard. Yum 🙂