October 2005 Archives



I like my pharmacist. He makes me smile. I like having a pharmacist. To me it is a great sign of me belonging. When he pauses to talk to me, letting the other people wait until he finishes, it makes me so happy - to me it's like a big neon sign above me: this girl belongs here!

He recognizes me, knowing what I am coming in for before I even get in the shop. He has taught me practically all the Hebrew I know. He tells me about the lectures on the Baha'i Faith that he attends at the university here. Recently, when the Kitab-i-Aqdas was translated into Hebrew by the Chair for Baha'i Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he proudly pulled out his copy to show me how beautiful it was, to explain why he appreciated the language so much, how well done the translation was....

And tonight, after promising me a 3 month supply of my medications by tomorrow evening (just in case), he told me he had a famous Jewish prayer that was excellent for healing (apparently they've done studies on how effective this prayer is!). So he is going to translate it for me and give it to me tomorrow.

I think that is so kind. All the other things I know he could do for anyone, just good business. This, to me, is going beyond that. I mean, I could probably just Google it. But why would I?

You know, I don't even know his name.

Last Night: It Dafoes Reason


Where to begin? Every once and a while an evening so bizarre comes along that it just defies reason (the title will make sense to you eventually).

A dear friend of ours, who after 16 months had still not made it to the cinema here, asked if we'd join her for a movie last night. It was the last evening of the Haifa International Film Festival, and she didn't want to miss the festival once again.

So, even though my plans for the evening largely consisted of scouring the walls of our shower, we agreed to joining her for her first theater experience in Israel.

She ordered the tickets in advance, as tickets sell out - especially on this final evening. In fact, we were going to see "The Wedding", a Polish film, but it had sold out, so instead she chose "In Her Shoes", showing at the Haifa Auditorium at the same time.

Now, the idea of getting tickets in advance is twofold:

1. You're ensuring you get a ticket when it might otherwise be sold out.
2. You're saving time later in the evening so that you don't have to go through the process of buying them right before the show.

So much for that.

We got there at about 8:10, after a ride with a taxi driver who proposed marriage to our friend. We made our way through the people milling around outside (and watching what I suspect was a fairly popular Israeli band - everyone seemed to know the words) to get inside and pick up our tickets. After being cut off while we were in line for our security check (yeah, sorry, but that's pretty typical behavior here - I hope I can break that habit when we leave here!), we discovered the box office was actually back outside. So, out past everything again, to stand in line at the box office - with three of us it was easier to defend our place in line (anyone who denies the validity of this statement in Israel seriously has their head in the sand). When we asked for our tickets, we discovered that, despite calling to reserve tickets at 4pm, our tickets were for the 2:30pm showing earlier that day. When the ticket kids explained this to the boss, he actually started yelling at our friend, telling her that there was no way you could have bought tickets after the movie had shown. Which she agreed with, and forcefully stuck to her guns that she had in fact bought them AFTER that showing had occured.

The guy was really rude, went off to "help us", basically walking away hoping we'd just never find him again. Seriously.

So, after waiting about 5 minutes, we went back to the ticket booth kids and asked what was up. Good ticket boy, versus mean manager boy, offered to help us find mean manager boy and a solution. He found mean manager boy, who used his cell phone to wave us away. Good ticket boy took us to the ticket-takers and they basically said we could go in, but seats being reserved, seating wasn't guaranteed.

Oh, and there was a 1 hour closing ceremony before the movie started.

Eh? That was definitely not advertised. So much for our early evening. But by this point we were getting pretty determined to see the d*&@ movie. So we went inside, got seats, hoping no one would kick us out and sat down to wonder what the heck was going on.

And then we realized that mean manager boy had whatever thread of proof that existed that we had a right to be here at all. So, out went our friend to figure the puzzle out a bit. She missed a riveting awards ceremony in Hebrew (think the most casual, laid back Academy Awards show you could conceive of - in our jeans and sandals we fit right in). She came back to tell us what had happened, and since someone had taken her seat while she was gone (what right did we have to stop him?), she had to squat in front of us to tell us what happened(we were in between sections of the theater, so there was a wide aisle), some well-intentioned but completely incompetent usher came to tell her to sit down because there was an awards ceremony going on (yeah, right, we were whispering and so far back I'm pretty sure no one noticed) - and since this decided whether we were staying or not, she could just shove off, except she kept repeating herself so that our friend couldn't simply finish her sentence and find a seat. Silly usher girl drew more attention to herself than anything. But we did discover that there was very viable proof in the theater's records that we had indeed ordered the tickets at 4pm. Twits.

So, at this point, we decided to stay, at least a while longer - until our friend hit her breaking point and decided to leave. At this point we were there as her moral supporters. We watched the end of this rivetting ceremony to discover that the guest of honor, Willam Dafoe, had also sat through this painful, agonizing event - except that he had translation! So they brought him up to present some silly prize - I know it wasn't the biggest because some people had received boxes and others only received a certificate and he was just handing out a certificate. So yeah, they bring him up on stage, immediately thrust him into a corner behind a big bush of flowers - all I saw was the toe of his shoe. The award winners jabbered a bit, and then they all got off stage. Ceremony over.

Sorry, but what's the point of bringing in Willam Dafoe if you don't use him? Really now? Still, it was somehow comforting to know he'd had to sit through this, too.

And then, at 10pm, the movie finally started. (I don't know about you, but when I go to see a movie starting at 8:30, I usually think the movie will be over shortly after 10pm, not just starting!)

Thankfully, it was good. "In Her Shoes". I recommend it (not to kids, though). This must have been the most convoluted way to watch a film!!



Yesterday, we had a lesson - a two hour lesson no less - in English.

Do you know the difference between a title and a subtitle?

Well, briefly, here it is: if the title is in English, I know what the movie is called. If the subtitles (note the plural) are in English, I know what the movie is about.

So, Haifa Film Festival, please take note: a Japanese film with an English title is not a Japanese film with English subtitles.

Well, it was fun, we all just sort of made up our own subtitles for what the characters were saying in Japanese. Too bad the movie started at midnight. I should have known something was wrong when the website referred to it as "midnight medness".



A TCK is a "third culture kid" - both children and adults.

If you grew up spending time in more than one country or culture, you may just want to find out more about how your quirks and how you never really fit in anywhere is similar to all the other kids around the world who did the same.

I'm reading a book: Third Culture Kids, and I can think of a number of my family and friends who would be able to relate to this. Whether you actually lived in a country different from the one your parents called "home" or you were simply raised differently enough to feel like you lived in a foreign country, this book is worth the read.

This is, in essence, our future. The world is only getting smaller, and with Australians marrying Nigerians, Bolivians marrying Americans, Iranians marrying Japanese, etc. more and more children are going to find themselves in this situation of "so, which culture is mine?"

What's wonderful is what the book has said, at least so far: that these kids can find a sense of belonging by viewing themselves as people who can help make change happen. As a future parent, it's wonderful guidance on how to help shape my children's identity. Even if they don't relate to the society around them as 'the norm', if they understand that their 'place' is to be different, then they can be comfortable in many places.

[Warning: Easier said than done.]

So, yes, Char and Danio, I think you should find a copy of this book and read it. :-)

Know how I know?

Well, I like to read. I'll read just about anything. Which is sort of hard being illiterate in Israel.

So I got a toilet Duck for my toilet and was installing it. The photo instructions of which were in the wrong order (and yes, I'm fully aware Hebrew goes from right to left).

But anyway, so the only thing in English, other than "Toilet Duck", were the ingredients.

Yup, you guessed it. The second ingredient in my Toilet Duck is "non-ironic surfactant" (actually, it was "non-ironic surffactant", but whatever).

I love it. I'm using non-ironic surfactants. I'm going to continue buying it just for that reason alone.



Beware: this is very stream-of-consciousness stuff.

You know, Capricorns are supposed to be known for ambition.

And I think I have it, certainly to some degree or in some areas.

But I was wondering: is my struggle with confidence intertwined with what I/society define as ambitious?

I don't think I've considered my definition of ambition much. When I think of ambition - as related to women, because I am one - I think of women dressed in business suits in high-powered jobs, making executive decisions or women "in the field" saving the world en masse or a woman in some research lab, biochemical for instance, making discoveries which will also save the masses.

I guess, in large part, these are my heavily media-driven concepts.

But I don't exactly fit into any of those categories:

1. Me in a business suit? Well, maybe, but I prefer to be Assistant X, than Director X [and I live for my jeans]. I suppose this harkens back to my fear of failure: I don't want to have to take the blame when it all falls apart (wow, how awful is that?). I imagine my parents will have something to say about that one.

2. Me out saving the world? No, I've learned I'm not exactly comfortable with the nitty-gritty side of social work (Kristen, I really admire your strength). I have more faith in humanity than I used to, but that stuff sort of kills it for me - I really struggle to keep a positive outlook when I get that close.

3. Research: I love it. But academia is not exactly calling me at the moment. Anyone know of a job where I can run around researching stuff for people all day? I love being given a puzzle and working and working and working, with whatever resources I can find, until I at last achieve it. It has to be attainable, if it's too convoluted I'll just walk away, but if I know there's a solution, and it's worth my time, I love research.

And yet, I would be totally untruthful to you if I denied wanting to be one of those women.

And do you notice that none of those three examples includes her children in the definition? Hmm. Definitely gotta' rethink that one, too, 'cause I know I value motherhood, crave motherhood and all-around respect motherhood. On the other hand, I do want to do things as well. I want to contribute to society in some other way, too. I know women who, when they no longer have little kids depending on them, go through a major identity crisis. There must be some balance, right?

Help me out here, folks.

Bad Joke


Bear with me. I know this is going to sound like a bad joke. But it really happened:

Two young Baha'i women were at the beach and decided to go to the bathroom.

As they approached the bathroom, two Muslim young women appeared and headed to the bathroom in front of them.

The Baha'i women, dressed only in bathing suits, noted to one another that they suddenly felt slightly underdressed - seeing as how the two Muslim women were wearing black pants, shirts and sweaters with light-colored head scarves.

Then before they knew it, the whole situation was rocked on end when they entered the bathroom to find an older Jewish woman changing completely.

You know, I respect this Jewish-Israeli culture of comfort/unconsciousness of body, but there is definitely something to be said for a degree of modesty beyond "hey, I'm in a room designated for women". [especially when there's a much larger shower/changing room right next to the bathroom.

In any case, WOW, major culture clash!

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