Amir and I immediately bonded the first day of OTZMA due to the fact that his last name is simply two letters longer than mine. Lauren Zink, meet Amir ZinkOW. It’s funny, there I was meeting someone for the first time to have a last name extremely similar to mine and I thought to myself, “My last name isn’t even Jewish and here is Amir ZINKow, a full-blooded Jew. The irony! The humour!” Anyway, since Amir is now my roommate in Rehovot, and has a last name so similar to mine, I figure he pretty much can be considered my brother. Since I let another family member be a guest writer on my blog (my mom, hi mom!), I thought, why not my “brother” too? So everyone, get your laughing pants on because Amir here is a funny one. It must run in the family, heh heh heh . . .
Let me start out by saying that I am not a blogger. I have never blogged, and never planned on blogging until the particular day I am writing about. I began to write a segment of it on someone’s facebook wall, but decided the story, and the day, were too multifaceted, and, frankly, too long for a facebook wall post. That said, let me tell you about one of the most “Israeli” afternoons I’ve had since the beginning of the program.
It started in the afternoon, when I happened to start up a conversation with one of the teachers, Ilana, at the Matnas (as an avid reader of “Holy Moly It’s Lauren’s Blog,” I’m sure you know what that is.) One thing Ilana asked was a question I get a lot: “How do you like Israel?” I gave her my pretty standard answer, which is that I love it here. However, when asked why, I can never really put my finger on it. Is it because the people here really care about you as individual? Is it because everyone is Jewish? Is because of the do anything, say anything you want culture? Ilana went a long way in proving that people here really do care about you, as she proceeded to invite Lauren and I over for dinner (at an unspecified date. Come to think of it, she hasn’t called me yet. Maybe people don’t care about you as much as I thought…)
On this particular day, Lauren and I happened to be walking home, and we decided to stop at Shufersal to buy something for the family whose house I would be eating dinner at that night. The parking lot was surrounded by a fence, with no gate in sight. ‘How the hell do we get in?’ we asked ourselves. We decided that the answer to that question was simply to jump the fence. Wondering whether we broke some horrible social taboo (security in Israel is important, thus fences would theoretically be as well) we continued to walk through the parking lot. We decided we didn’t do anything too terrible when a lady in the lot, who seemed to be having as much trouble getting out as we had getting in (how she got IN I will never know…) asked us how we got in, and thought nothing of it when I told we simply jumped the fence. Cultural crisis averted!
Upon entering the Shufersal, the incredibly tight security, which, as I said before, is of the utmost importance, simply pat the bottom of Lauren’s backpack, without her even being ready. This is a classic Israeli security move. From the outside, it looks to be a token check of a bag, from which nothing about the bag’s content can really be discerned. However, I believe Israeli security personnel to be specially trained operatives; who can identify all contents of any bag, regardless of size, shape, or weight, simply based on slight “scoop” of the bag from the bottom. Believing this helps me sleep at night. Another thing that helps me sleep at night are chocolate covered cornflakes!
Chocoflakes, as I endearingly call them, are a product made by Klik, which makes several types of candy, the rarest of which is the chocolate covered cornflake. This day, a very special day, chocoflakes were on sale, 3 bags for 9.99 shekel. YES! When I got to the checkout lane, the lady in front of me asked where I found them. Instead of just telling her, I decided to go for her and pickup three bags on her behalf. I call it spreading the chocoflake love. On a side note, the cashier was absolutely gorgeous.
Wow, look at how far we have come! One page ago, I was a non-blogger, living in a sad abyss where no one, nowhere, could read about my monotonous day-to-day life. How absolutely horrible a life that was. But why have I picked this story, this day, to open my eyes to the life-changing possibilities of blogging? I think that this particular day, between the random conversations, the ignoring of institutions, and the general camaraderie of this day paint a perfect picture of life in Israel.