Losing My Identity (or Gaining One?)

April 4, 2008

A few days ago, I was asked by a few people to write more about my personal experiences in Israel, so people can know what it’s really like here. For the record, while I’ll be integrating these posts into my blog, I still see the main point of the blog to educate about Israel and show the world that there’s more to us than The Conflict.

As a preface, for those of you who don’t know, I am, what my friend Tilli calls, a hybrid Israeli-American. I grew up both in Texas and in Israel, so my personality is a mix of both. 6.5 years ago I moved back to Israel (as an adult), so most of my experiences are based on these years.

Since I moved to Israel, my name has changed. I still answer to my given name (albeit mispronounced by many anal Israelis who insist on trying to convince me that I am mispronouncing my own name), but I have been converted.

My name is now Texas.

When I worked in TV, mostly at the news station that I still work at sometimes and a huge late-night show that the entire country watched, people started calling me Texas. I’m not sure why – I guess it seems like a cool place to be from (I am very proud to be Texan). I know that on the late-night show, the way you knew if the host liked you was if you had a nickname.

I was scared to DEATH of this guy, but one day, maybe 2 months after I got there and he didn’t know my name yet (mainly because I would generally run in the opposite direction of where he was headed for out of fear), he overheard me speaking English on the phone. He was SHOCKED. I mean, the guy was floored (it must be the small number of native English speakers in Israel. NOT.)

He asked me why I spoke English like an American.

I puked.

Then I answered I was from Texas.

And that was it. I worked with him for 4 seasons, but I don’t think he ever knew my name. When I say worked I mean he would sit with me at least 20 minutes every day to edit stuff – so it’s not like we didn’t have one-on-one time. (He’d also ask me what I thought about stuff, so if I didn’t like something and didn’t want to wet my clean pants, I would blame it on my only being in Israel for 6 months/1/2/3/4 years).

I actually had the best nickname, for the record. One of the guys was called Annoying Romanian Guy, another extremely thin girl was called The Pencil and Leaf Blowing in the Wind (עלה נידף ברוח). So I was actually well off.

By the way, while he knew my name if someone else said it (Who’s in the VTR? (My name here.) Texas?! What are you doing?!), I know for a fact he doesn’t know it on his own. In fact, one day, about 3 or so seasons in, I asked him if he knew my name. He said yes. I asked what it is. He said: Brenda. Donna. Kelly. (I think he watched too much 90210). For the record, I have an Israeli name.

It IS probably my fault. While I am living in Israel because I love it and I want to (I DO have a choice – I am, after all, a US citizen), I think it’s probably my fault. I mean, this is what my office looks like.

My Office

(I got the Woody doll for my birthday this year from my friend who said it’s the closest thing to a cowboy he could find for me in Israel, and the Taco Bell Chihuaua… Well, I needed something from home. 🙂 )

Since you’re out there already, what else should I decorate my office with? A friend suggested a stuffed armadillo (none of those in Israel). Anything else?

By the way, did y’all know that they are remaking 90210? I kid you not!



  1. I think a six-pack of Shiner Bock is mandatory as Texas office decor.

  2. Totally, dude.

    When are you sending me some?

  3. Hang up lots of pictures of American corporate mascots. You know, like Ronald McDonald, Colonel Sanders, Mickey Mouse, etc.

  4. Your office will look warm and cozi if you place photos of family and friends, you also need some paintings and a wall for all your cards: thank you cards, birthday cards,etc. To add a little something about “YOU” this is how I described you to my friends and families when I talked about the fact that I met a beautiful girl from Israel: I met this fiendly girl in CA in 2006. She has the most beautiful smile I have ever seen and made me feel like I have known her my whole life. We talk about many things but I never felt that I was different, I mean I am constantly aware that “I am a Latino woman” and in the US there are lots of misconceptions about Latinos, never mind talking about Latino women. But with this girl, how I look did not matter, how I speak with my high pitch accent, did not matter, what matter was the fact that we were talking, laughing, sharing and caring for one another, is it how is life supposed to be??? love one another. I live with the belief that it is because
    “God made us so different from each other that we have so much to learn and share with each other.” I count you as one of the many blessing God has given me.

  5. Gracias, Rosita! I will probably hang up pics of friends and family (did I tell you I have a niece on the way? My sister’s due in June!)

    Thanks for the sweet words – I think we can agree that the combo of you, Lena, and me is as Benetton as it gets. Jaja (in Spanish, for you.) 🙂

    By the way – we don’t do birthday cards and thank you cards here. Which is fine cause there’s half a hear for my birthday.

    On the wall on the left side of the picture is my dance schedule (ballet, hip hop, lyrical, etc.) so I can be sure not to miss anything – though I know it all by heart now. 🙂

    And you just like me cause we sang the theme song from “Yo Soy Betty La Fea” and you didn’t understand why the gringa knew it. HA!

  6. Oh – Zack – I have a Jack in the Box thingy on my car antennae. 🙂

  7. We’re sending Shiner Bock to Israel now? Can I have some?

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