Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Return to Normality?

It’s raining in Israel. Succot seems to have marked the end of summer with the swish of a lulov. Although September marks the return of many from vacation, the commencement of school and a change of mindset towards a new year, new goals, new priorities; in reality Israel plods along slowly and life does not really resume in ‘full swing’ until the holiday season is over. You can talk to people about any number of ideas or problems you are experiencing in September, but most will make arrangements to get things sorted, “acharay hachagim” – after the holidays.

So finally we have arrived. The New Year is upon us and life is returning to normal.

Although having said that, I think we are still trying to establish what ‘normal’ is for us. Two years down the line; two new businesses, a husband who travels abroad, kids who have changed schools, new work opportunities undertaken… things just keep changing around here. We even have an extra resident – we took pity on one of our ‘garden’ cats (a stray mother and kitten we fed and took care of but firmly kept outside the house) – following a fight and a nasty looking eye infection, we finally succumbed, paid a visit to the vet and now have the kitten fully installed as a house pet.

It’s not that I don’t like change, often it has many positives, it is just that after two years I am becoming a little ‘change weary’. I sincerely hope that by this time next year we will have finally gotten ourselves into a position where we have a ‘normality’ to return to.

On another note, election fever seems to have hit us. No, not of the US variety. There are local elections taking place in November and now national elections appear to be on the horizon. The Anglo culture in Israel is predominantly American and, as a Brit, I have been impressed with how the American’s here have approached the local elections.

In the UK people keep their vote quite personal and vote independently. I have seen how the Americans here have looked to find like-minded people, those with a common cause; be it housing, the environment, whatever, and looked to secure a block vote for the candidate that they feel best serves their purpose. I used to hear in England about the ‘Jewish vote’ in American elections and I really like the way that individuals have realized the power of grouping together and raising issues close to them with the candidates.

Much of the time I cling on to my British ways; I prefer our subtler, more ironic humor; I am more comfortable with a less aggressive approach to life and I sometimes raise an eyebrow at the directness of those around me. However, the elections have really brought home the positive qualities of my American neighbors.

So, with local and national elections over the coming months, yet more change appears to be on the horizon.

Sharona B