Archive for the ‘personal experiences’ Category

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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!

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I DON’T Know JR, I DON’T Own Spurs, and I DON’T Have an Accent

April 3, 2008

Being an Israeli Texan has it’s pluses. #1 has to be the misconceptions Israelis have about Texas. When I visited my cousin back in high school, she was teaching at a middle school somewhere in Israel, so she brought me to class with her (not sure why).

She introduced me to her students (thankfully she was a popular teacher so it made me cool by association) and told them I was from Texas. They had never met someone from Texas before, so they had a lot of questions.

I think the coolest question they asked me was if Texans milk their cows into their cereal bowls for breakfast (I couldn’t’ve made that up if I wanted to). The second most popular, which I get to this day, is if Texans ride their horses to school.

I tell them no, Texans aren’t primitive – they have horse-ridden carriages!

The reason I am telling you this is because the best experiences I have had in Israel is meeting new people. It’s not because I like meeting new people – I am actually quite shy in social situations where I know few or no people. It’s just that I LOVE the questions I get from people.

I’d like to share with you a typical conversation I have with people when they find out I am American. For the record, I have an Israeli accent. Most of the time, you can’t tell I’m not a native Israeli. Unless someone introduces me as being American, this conversation usually happens when someone says a word in Hebrew I don’t know or makes a cultural reference I don’t get, at which point I have to explain that I am not an idiot, it’s just that I am not a native. So here we go:

Them: You’re from America*? Where are you from? New York?

Me: Nope!

Them: Los Angeles?

Me: Nope!

Them: Miami?

Me: Nope!

Them: (Long awkward pause with confused look) Chicago?

Me: Nope!

Them: What else is there?

Me: Texas! (Note: I say Texas because is sounds WAY cooler than Houston.)

Them: There are Jews in Texas?! I didn’t know that!

Me: Not many. Only around 131,000.

Them: Are you from Dallas? Do you know J.R. Ewing?

Me: I’m from Houston. J.R was from Dallas, the actor himself, Larry Hagman, while born in Fort Worth, right by Dallas, actually lives in California.

Them: Houston? You’re from Houston? Houston – we have a problem! (Insert cheesy chuckle here.)

* Note to my Mexican friends (they’re actually FROM Mexico so I’m allowed to call them that!): I have been conditioned throughout my years working with you at camp. I personally say the US and not America – I know Central and South America are, in fact, America.

From there, each conversation goes in a different direction, but they usually come back to horses, cowboy hats, and spurs (ownership status update: I wish, yes, and no respectively).

I realize this sounds funny and uneducated, but I am telling you this for a reason: As uneducated as Israelis can be about Texas, non-Israelis can have many misconceptions about Israel as well. Next week I will post a bunch of the misconceptions I’ve heard about Israel in an attempt to educate.

Have any of you had weird questions asked of you when you moved countries? Do you have any questions about Israel that you need answered? Such as why do Israelis like to spread chocolate on their bread? Leave them in the comments!

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There’s a Grenade Outside My Office

March 12, 2008

I can’t remember that happening in Houston.

My friends and I got back from lunch today and we had to go around the building and walk in through the parking lot to get back up to work.

I love having these stories. Have them from high school in Houston too. An exploding trash can in the cafeteria or a bomb threat were not sufficient reasons to postpone a test.

The funny thing is we were all annoyed we couldn’t get back into the building (not that, heaven forbid, there was a grenade outside our office). Who ARE we people?!