Monday, November 10, 2014

Anglo Saxon? Duh!

One would think that after living in a country for almost 18 years, the blatantly American mannerisms would become dull and fade. Despite the American tinge to my Hebrew accent that will never vanish, I know that my approach to politics and life and child-rearing are Israeli to the core.

A prime example:  even after I made aliyah and before I gave birth, the idea of hitting back was abhorrent to me. I spent many an occasion berating the Israeli educational system for allowing such active physical bullying, accepting it as the norm.  Today, if Raphaela tells me that a child in her class was bothering her and hitting her, I instruct my daughter to defend herself first, and then tell the teacher.  For better or for worse, and especially in these days of terrible escalating violence all over the country, a child growing up here must have superlative awareness to their surroundings and not become a victim.

And yet, yesterday as I walked around the whole city of Jerusalem doing errands, several people addressed me in English, from the start.  As if it was obvious that English was my mother tongue and that I am an Israeli wanna-be.

It bothered me, and so I started taking a poll among my Israeli friends, asking what subtle signs gave away my land of birth.  No one could exactly put their finger on it, one person suggesting it was the way I wore running shoes all the time, many others saying that it was just "obvious."  Even Raphaela, born here in Jerusalem and possessing the most authentic Hebrew accent, along with the Israeli chutzpah, apparently shows some anglo markers, inherited and observed over time in her mother.

One of my Israeli friends assured me that my mixed past made me a more interesting person, and that all the elements of my upbringing gave me certain advantages.  "Take it as a compliment that you don't come off as an obnoxious Israeli.  Besides, you are more Tel Aviv than Jerusalem."

Who knew?

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