Thursday, April 26, 2012

Culture Shock

This is what home life looks like these days ...

And for the most part, that's where I am when I'm at home, unless I'm sitting at the couch with my MacBook Pro. It's almost pure normalcy here - same as life was in China, San Francisco, or even Richmond, Virginia. In between the lines, though, are moments of difference and change.

For five days every week, I go to an intensive Hebrew language course for new immigrants called "ulpan." The course lasts for five hours, starting at 8:30am. My class of 20 is made up of men and women between the ages of 22 and 35 from Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, France, Spain, Chile, the UK, the US, and Canada. At the 10:30am break, I eat an apple, sit on the deck outside and talk to my three close friends - all who hail from the UK. I never see these friends outside of the course.

After classes, I head home and do what you see up in the photo - stand in the kitchen and make lunch. Then I eat together with Jack. This is the best and most normal part of the day.

The rest of the day is consumed by errands amongst non-English speakers - and my Hebrew is simply not there yet, navigating the most insane traffic I have ever experienced, or exercising at our lovely gym that just so happens to be entertainingly full of retirees playing backgammon or boiling their rotund bellies in a hot tub that faces the entrance.

I go between laughing at, ignoring and being frustrated by the differences in my life. It's very difficult to move to a new place, and though I thought I was immune to experiencing culture shock after having lived in China so many times, I'm remain simply human.

I realize in going over this blog that I have written from when I lived in San Francisco right out of college to China after that, back to San Francisco, and now to Israel. Is this a blog about living life to its fullest or is this a blog about experiencing differences and new cultures? I'm starting to think it's about the latter...

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