After being away from anything for ten, fifteen or more years – a person, hobby, vacation destination or home – the changes “the other” has undergone leap out preliminarily because the frozen image within the mind is simply outdated.
Accordingly, the first months and years upon re-entry are “fresh” ones. Impressions and mental images are sharp, crisp and clear but it’s a limited time deal: Blurring sets in rapidly and once a daily routine develops, the images can dull and fade away altogether.
So before mine starts going fuzzy, how’s about a few snapshots from the Steph Collection?
1) Everyone’s Aged and Gained Weight!!. You run into old friends or meet them on purpose. You’re feeling a bit anxious because over the years you’ve had a kid, put on a few pounds and that 20-something svelte is long gone. But criminy how the friend or acquaintance looks! You couldn’t possibly have greyed that much or be protruding so prominently in the pooch, could you?….hmmmm.
2) Kudos to the Service Industry (sic). Okay so that’s an anomaly here in Holy Land Central (HLC) but doing business with the young, with-it sales reps of Cellcom or talking to 012 tech support or Help lines? No different than being back in the U.S. of A. No lengthy waits in hold-hell listening to Musak, no indifferent clerks who discuss evening plans over the phone with boyfriends while you wait impatiently. It’s efficiency without the mindless automaton, U.S. customer service voice. (Not everywhere, of course. For nostalgia’s sake, stop by any government office)
3) Ha’Yarkon Park Promenade is Gorgeous. The entire upgrade from the promenade to the rowing club across the river, to the arching, wooden bridges adorned with fairy lights is simply lush. I feel like a character out of Zhang Yimou’s Raise the Red Lantern whenever I walk or ride my bike alongside the willow graced, river banks.
4) I Still Have an Aversion to Jerusalem. Call me godless. But man is that city frenetic and full of zealot energy and I don’t mean the Roman era kind (Oh am I gonna get it for that one, I can feel it already). Yes it is beautiful and for living, fascinating history can’t be beat. But it has always been too intense for me so why would ten years within a few millenia make a difference? Silly me for being so self centered.
5) Israeli Women are Still Hot. I didn’t make that up. The guys concur too. Ask Tonny (my husband). They dress to accent, show it off and certainly not to cover it up. And good on ’em is what I say. Why else have it, huh? That being said, however, there are higher numbers of heavy people around than in days past. Computers, sedentary lifestyles, comforts, high stress…Same stuff the world is grappling with.
6) Less Aggro. You just don’t see the screaming and yelling that used to be sooooo commonplace. Sure it’s around but somehow, it’s more shocking nowadays. People turn around and stare. And when I’ve tried it on a few times, instead of a screaming match, I’ve been quickly leveled with a simple: “Don’t talk to me that way if you want me to help you”. Makes for quiet in the room very quickly.
7) Still Provincial. Sorry but…(I’m going to get it for that one too)
8) Men Have Come Out. Not only in the gay pride, boyfriends holding hands in public sense but also in the beauty bits. Strolling past Tel Aviv day spas, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the sight of men getting manicures. Metro-Sexual is where it’s at, gents!
9) Where are All the Palestinians? Funny what a decade of stalled talks, ill faith and bombings can do. They are not to be seen anywhere It’s a little bit bizarre…On the other hand:
10) Marked Upsurge in the Asian Population They originally came to work and now they’re settling down. This thrills me to no end having just transplanted from a near-50% Asian city. I’m fascinated with various cultures and cuisines so it’s nice to know that the influence isn’t far away.
11) Raised Animal Awareness Last time I was here, it was to work a stint on a goat farm. The owners actually instructed us to “throw rocks at them to get them to do what you want”..and as added insult, they would “teach the dogs a lesson” for stealing food from the kitchen by tying them to a fence in the blazing sun. THAT gig didn’t last. How refreshing nowadays to see all of the men and women adopting animals and feeding the street cats.
12) She Still Got it Goin’ On. Despite all this country goes through year after year, there’s still a vibrant buzz. Sort of akin to my friend Karina saying she lives in Manhatten because It lights a fire underneath her ass. There’s a spark of life and energy that’s almost electric. Good thing because it’s a positive element transplants to HLC site most often.