Saturday, August 30, 2008


I'm visiting my grandparents in Haifa, Israel at the moment. They emmigrated here nearly two years ago, the first time they have ever lived abroad and for my grandmother, the first time she had ever traveled abroad with the exception of visiting Israel for two weeks before deciding to move here.

They have the same fascination and dismay that I first experienced when I moved to Japan. Simple things, like the toilets are in a tiny room separate from the shower and sink. The lever to flush the toilet is different (theirs is the same as Italian toilets). I think my germiphobe grandmother would flip if she had a Japanese toilet in which the sink to wash her hands was the same water circulating in the toilet tank to conserve water.

They took me to the Shuk, the local market where they buy their meat and produce. Touring me around the market they pointed out watermelon, oranges, dates, walnuts, cheese and fish as if this were the first time I had ever seen such treasures. Explaining the bus and train system as though I have never used public transport before: On the train, a station employee will come around and check your ticket.

I just smile and nod, act surprised or amazed, and try to suppress my comments of Yes, I know, most of the world outside of America has the same thing, or does the same thing, or operates in the same manner. It's cute, and I'm proud of them for emmigrating.

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