Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Blog Fodder - You Asked For It

(If you're looking for Wordless Wednesday please scroll down.)

Wow, great questions. You guys will give my muse a run for her money. She'll have to haul her butt back here soon or she may find herself out of a job!

From L the D:

1. Are you American by birth? Yes, I was born and raised in a suburb of NYC. My husband grew up in New Jersey.

2. If so, are you considered Israeli now, or are you an ex-pat? I'm both. I have dual citizenship, as do my husband and children.

3. Do you live in an ex-pat community? Nope. Not hardly. *throws self down on the floor laughing hysterically and mumbling to herself*. While there are many communities in Israel that have a high proportion of "Anglos" (native English speakers) my town is definitely not one of them. My children are both the only anglos in their schools. I'd say that anglos in this town are few and few between, but the truth is that they are, by complete coincidence, few and close together. I have two English-speaking friends from my town, and they both live on my block! What are the chances of that? (Slightly higher than you might think, it's a hi-density urban block, but still. Come on. Roll with me here.)

4. If you are an ex-pat, what's that like? Israel is full of immigrants from other countries, so while I do self-identify (sometimes, not all the time) as an American-Israeli I don't consider myself an ex-pat. To me, an ex-pat is someone living, often just temporarily, in a country not their own. Israel is very much my country, just as the US is. I vote in both countries, pay taxes in both countries, and hold a passport for both countries. My life is in Israel though, and has been for nearly 20 years.

5. Which languages do you speak (besides English)? Hebrew, and some French. I used to speak completely fluent French but sadly it went completely out of my head when I learned Hebrew. I can barely order dinner in French these days.

6. What's your favorite part about living in Israel? 8 months of gorgeous weather, great friends, great restaurants, how cosmpolitan Tel Aviv has become in the past 20 years, so many things

7. Consequently, what's your least favorite part about living in Israel? The politicians on BOTH sides who let self-serving interests, greed and fear keep them from moving this country forwards toward a real and lasting peace.

From Janet:

How old were you when you first were interested in writing? I wasn't really interested in writing until I was an adult, surprisingly. I always wrote well, but my writing was primarily academic. When I wasn't in school, I didn't write. I didn't start keeping (an online) journal until I was trying to get pregnant with Itai, and then stopped soon after he was born. I was active on several message boards in the interim but didn't start writing for the sake of writing again until I started blogging in November 2006. I work as a markcom writer/editor now, and even with that and blogging I'm never really sure I can call myself a writer.

Did you write stories as a child? Nope

From Jen at Laughing at Chaos:

As a kid, did you know what you wanted to "be" when you grew up and did you make it? You're going to laugh. I wanted to grow up and "go to meetings and carry a briefcase". Have you spit your coffee all over your keyboard yet? I stayed fairly consistent with that as my lofty and well-defined career goal throughout my childhood, except for a brief desire, circa Nadia Comaneci's triumph in the 1980 Olympics, to be an Olympic gymast (a dream sadly crushed by my utter inability to do a backwards somersault) and a later dalliance with the idea of becoming a peace corps volunteer - my mother crushed that one by telling me that I wouldn't have outdoor plumbing. I was a somewhat girly child... As I got older, I refined the "meetings and briefcase" idea into a career in international business.

Are you where you expected to be, doing what you thought you would do, or did you take another path? I actually did spend over 10 years with a fairly successful career in international business, but I quit the rat race when my son was born. I knew that I didn't want to try to combine motherhood with 60+ hour weeks and never-ending travel. I now work part-time from home for the same company, but in a completely different capacity from my original business development position and love the freedom and flexibility that that gives me (came in very handy when Itai was sick last week). I never expected to become a lactation consultant either. I doubt many LC's do before they become mothers themselves.

From Planet Nomad:

How many countries have you been in? (Airport countries don't count) This one is going to be tough. Let's see... Okay, I've got it. 26. Still loads more to see out there.

How much do haircuts cost in Israel? A cut and color with my (out in the burbs and so cheaper) guy is NIS 200, which was only about $45 a year ago but which now thanks to George Bush and the tanking US dollar is now $55! And yes, my salary is tied to the dollar. Great, huh?

Are you sure your muse wears flowy gowns? Absolutely. It's positively diaphonous (just showing her I can still use big fancy words without her help). And she's got ringlets and possibly a simple gold tiara too, a la all those Greek goddesses I learned about so long ago.

From Margalit (who is mistaken about the size of my kitchen - it's large by apartment standards because we knocked down a wall, but these days people building their own houses tend to build larger kitchens than the ones she's remembering. In fact, they're often called "American kitchens".):

Do you have American appliances? Just a few that have survived from my original shipment back in 1991 (I think all that's left is my fridge and my bedroom television). My washer, dryer and dishwasher are German (AEG) and my stove and oven are French (Rosieres). Oh, my bbq grill is American, but it is a piece of crap and is hopefully being replaced with a Weber this summer, if we can manage to carry back the smaller one. (For some reason those are still frightfully expensive here.)

What is the rest of your house like? Let's see... I live in a "rooftop" apartment, which is basically a penthouse where the rooftop patio is off the upper level instead of off the living room. The downstairs (which is actually on the 8th floor of my building) has everything except the master bedroom. Upstairs is the master bedroom and the roof, which is private. (All of the 4 top floor apartments have one. The lower floors just have small balconies.) We did a huge renovation two years ago after our plumbing basically self-destructed so the floors, paint, two (of three) bathrooms and the kitchen are all new. The only rooms we didn't touch were the two kids' rooms and the back computer/laundry/guest room. I'll dig out some before and after pictures if you're curious. The colors are mostly earth tones, the walls are beige (which in itself was a pretty significant departure from the typical Israeli stark white). The kitchen you can see in my header. The kids rooms are decorated in a more "American" style - fish and boats and blue carpeting for Itai, and flowers and bees and pale carpeting for Maya. Both rooms, but especially Maya's, are due for some updating. We may redo hers this summer.

Do you have terazzo floors with a drain in them (I have an abiding love for those easy to clean floors)? We used to have terrazo but we replaced it with large (45cm square) ceramic tiles when we did the renovations. The kids rooms are carpeted. The back room still has the old terrazo but I try to ignore that. The drains are only in the bathrooms and aren't really used. It's a lot easier and faster to just dry the floor. We do use the drain on the roof though.

What's the deal with an Israeli baseball team? We had a professional league (the Israel Baseball League) for the first time last summer! I even took Itai to a game (think slightly better than high school baseball and much more relaxed) but there were some financial scandals and I don't know if they're going to return for a second season. He'll be terribly disappointed if they don't. (By the way, the (very small) crowd at the game was almost entirely American. It was a real taste of home.)

What newspaper do you read daily? Haaretz online (the English version, I'm lazy).

How's the grapefruit this year? Excellent as usual, but my favorite is always pomelits. So sweet. We've also been buying a lot of clementines. Both kids love them, Maya in particular has become addicted to them, which I'm thrilled about. She's so limited in terms of what she'll eat that any new food is a cause for celebration, especially one as healthy as that!

Are your kids addicted to Bislis or Bombas? Nope. They prefer Apropos (like Bugles) or better yet Click (various types of chocolate balls, which their mean mom won't buy very often). They're real favorite junk food is Milkies though - basically chocolate pudding with whipped cream on top. I buy one for each as a bribe to keep them well-behaved while I'm in the supermarket. Maya clutches hers for dear life until she gets home.

From Fairly Odd Mother:

If you weren't a wife and mother, what do you think you'd be doing right about now? Probably still jet-setting from meeting to meeting.


Thanks guys, hopefully the competition will scare that danged Muse into coming back home where she belongs.

Anyone else have questions they missed asking?


mother in israel said...

Nice post. Do you think I would get so many questions if I did that on my blog? I'm afraid to try.

Robin said...

You get a lot of comments on good topics, so you'd probably get even more questions! You can always split them into installments if it's too much all at once :).

Melissa said...

Wow. I was wondering why you were over there. Interesting, thanks for sharing! Love to hear you like it there.

Anonymous said...

This was a great way to know you a little bit more, Robin.

One question for you: Will you and your family settle permanently in Israel or do you plan to live somewhere else in the future?

Irene said...

Great questions and answers! Very interesting!

I had to laugh at your comment about what you wanted to be when you grew up. I wanted to grow up, wear cool suits and work in a skyscraper in a big city. The actual "job" didn't matter as much. So I got a degree in business/marketing.

I did get my "city job" complete with cool suits, after college, but the thrill and glamour faded quite quickly. I hated the actual "job".

Preethi said...

Wow.. that were a lot of questions.. loved this post.. good to know you a bit more... maybe you can write a little about life in Israel and how different it is from the Americas.. or maybe you already have? I am new here... but I would love to read that!!!
I am from India, so I know that so many things we take for granted here in America is not so in the rest of the world.
Also 26 countries.. wow!!!! would love to hear more on that!!

Robin said...

Grace - we're here for good. No plans to return :).

Irene - love the skyscraper. I would definitely have added that one in if I'd thought of it.

Preethi - I do write about life in Israel fairly often. Just do a search on the label "Only in Israel" at the bottom of this post and you'll have lots to read :).

Claremont First Ward said...

I lOVE, LOVE, LOVED reading these answers. I missed out on asking one yesterday. I hope you decide to do this again. I'll be thinking of something interesting to ask........

Anonymous said...

I loved learning all of this about you.

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I had a comment, and it flew right out of my addled brain. Here's another question, my addled brain can't remember if it was asked: do you miss the States? And when are you coming to Denver? Or Chicago? I'll meet you either place. :)

Anonymous said...

Great post! Thanks.

Robin said...

I don't really miss the States per se, Jen, and these days you can even get most of the same products here, but there are little things here and there. Fall colors, ready-made pie crusts. And family. Family is definitely the biggest thing I miss.

Sorry, no plans for either Denver or Chicago on the horizon. We'll be in New England this summer though, where I'm hoping to meet up with Janet and a few other online friends :).

Shannon said...

I loved reading this! So much to learn about you and you are so interesting. I too wanted to be an important business woman in a suit with a brief case. Until I became a not so important business woman and hated every minute of it. Funny how life is!