This week I’m feeling what I’ve been waiting for since day 3, really. The adverse effects of being somewhere entirely different. Culture shock. D2. Whatever you might call it it’s good to recognise it and try to take it in good humour.
Like today, when at the pool, I am being made to wear a cap because of my “long hair”. It is so frustrating that I have no way of explaining to the male life guard the injustice that all those men in the pool who have chest hair like grizzlies which they pull along with them don’t have to wear a full body wet suit. I exhaust myself and give him the full lecture anyway, but of course he doesn’t understand me in my heightened state of angst and anger and only replies “toda” – thank you.
At least I try to make myself laugh at the fact that “the office” for our dorms make every effort to keep us aware of the (completely irrelevant) fact that should we wish to reserve housing for next academic year, we will need to come on the list now. They e-mail, they call, they even send someone round with a print out of the e-mail, all on one and the same day. They still haven’t told us how much the rent is for staying here, but they do want us to know that it’s time to reserve housing now. But then, when I call the number they say to call for further information, the man on the phone just shouts at me, as what I should have done is send an e-mail?! I am so angry, it transpires into how I view every other Israeli man I come across. I get annoyed at their kippas, even, they seem to symbolise a different thing for anyone who wears them, but I would never know what, and I feel that urge to say “what are you trying to tell me with that kippa, that you can’t say to my face!” But of course I could never say that.
I rage at the silly fact that I can’t distinguish a price tag that tells you the price of strawberries in pounds from that of kilos and so I have to pay twice what I think I should pay (and what they cost last week).
In short, my aversion levels feel acute. And I just want to hear someone say something like “tea?” and then not need to explain that I’d quite like some milk in it. At least my husband is a proper Brit (and can make that sort of cuppa). I miss the rest of you lot.