The kids have their own impressions of this new, hot, and exotic place we’ve dumped them in.
Sebastian, forever our look on the bright side kind of guy, exclaims enthusiastically “the melons in Israel are so tasty.” And “the salami in Israel is so tasty”. The eggs also. And large enough to fit into egg cups. (My grandfather used to say that the eggs in North American don’t tear their asses.) Why just the other day Sebastian proclaimed “Israel has the best oatmeal in the world!” I grinned and concurred, while putting away the Tupperware filled with the oatmeal packets that my mom had brought from Vancouver.
Although our little fineschmecker confided in me that he really liked “our apartment in Toronto” (the Toronto Airport Sheraton), he was prepared to reside in any one of the numerous grimy, tiny, crumbling, dilapidated places we saw during our apartment hunt. At bath-time, he reminds me, diligently, that we don’t waste water in Israel.
(Lance typically reminds me of this verity when I’m washing the dishes. In fact, one of my “absorption” lessons in this new land has been in the subject of washing dishes in a conservationist manner. Needless to say we don’t have a dishwasher.)
While walking home one evening, mentioning the street names along our way, Sebastian commented: “Basel is a very nice name. I don’t like Jabotinsky. “ (Jabotinsky is the street we live on.) The kid certainly has a musical ear. Basel does ring of pastoral Swiss hinterlands. But it is also the place that was home to the first Zionist Congress. Jabotinsky, a name evoking a little more punch, was the Ukrainian orator, author and soldier who founded the Jewish self-defense organization, and later the more militant Irgun. This is a place where history is embedded in the topography. A name is never just a name.
Liliana’s observations are similarly refined. Only they reflect a grossly different spread. “Doggie poop” is her widespread declaration while walking the streets of Tel Aviv. And when someone goes to the bathroom, she’ll inquiringly ask “shul?” (shilshul being the word for diarrhea in Hebrew)
The daily cry for kartiv (popsicle) is equally shared by both children. And encouraged by me. (Sebastian would readily agree that Israel has the best popsicles in the world!!)
As for the kids’ interactions with one another — Sebastian very accurately described to me his relationship with his younger sister one day while pretending he was introducing her to me: “this is my sister. But she’s a little annoying (מעצבנת). And she’s a little crazy (משוגעת), because she throws things. Sometimes she annoys me, and sometimes I annoy her.” I couldn’t have penned a more lucid observation.
When they’re together, we shut our ears to the repetitive chorus of “no me” “no me”…
When we hear giggles or worse yet, silence, we know we’re in trouble!