Reasons why I love Israel:
1. The taxi drivers don't mind having a personal conversation on the car speakers. He just told us to be quiet so that the person he was on the phone with wouldn't hear us.
2. Everyday the coffee at Waffle Bar is a different price.
3. The guy at the fish store wished me a Shabbat Shalom on a Monday.
That happens everywhere. No matter what day it is, the people in the stores always wish you a Shabbat Shalom.
4. I was in the grocery store ready to pay and I had to wait for this old man to finish blessing the owner, before he would ring up my vegetables.
5. You can drive by a falafel store and shout out what you want from your car, and the person who works there will bring it to you.
6. I know I have truly adjusted to living here when I walk in middle of a busy road without checking if the cars are stopping or not.
7. Every evening the guy who owns this little store gets strangers from the street to come inside and do afternoon prayers.
8. These guys sit outside every day and just hang out with each other. They all were probably in the same unit when they were 18 and are still friends.
9. I was in the vegetable store and one of the workers just broke out in song and everyone in the store joined in.
10. Despite the multiple 'No Smoking' signs that are all over, people smoke everywhere.
I was in a cab that had 3 different signs and the cab driver was smoking a cigarette.
11. There was a giant crowd of people by the late night bus, and so a couple people brought out instruments and were jamming.
12. There is a pair of guys that are always playing in the shuk. They sit there all day, people join them, buy them beer and come and go. Once I was there and there were 8 different people all playing together. It always makes me smile to see them
13. Everyone walks around everywhere carrying large rifles and you don't see anyone shooting up a school here. Coincidence? I think not.
14. This was overheard at my Shabbat table
"Guns? Who needs to carry around a gun? If something goes down then you hit the nearest Magavnick on the head and take their gun. Thats what they're for...walking armories."
(Magavnickim are officially border police. Who don't stand on the border. So are therefore useless)
15. On Lag Baomer the entire country smelled like bonfires. You couldn't go anywhere without smelling it.
(Lag Baomer - Jewish celebration marking the anniversary of a Rabbi's death)
16. The bus driver stopped the bus, blocking the entire road so that he could go inside and get a shwarma.
17. I was at a restaurant and my lemon came with a sticker on it.
18. Its perfectly acceptable to drink beer first thing in the morning. During my 10 minute walk to Ulpan, I saw 5 different people doing it.
19. This isn't such a good picture but for me this kind of sums up Israel. The 4 soldiers sitting next to the 4 old guys who are in the park everyday playing poker. And in 60 years that is who they will be because that is the nature and way of Israel.
20. Every time you drive out of Jerusalem, you have a gorgeous view of the Judean Hills. It never gets old.
21. I took my grandmother to the dentist and it was on a high floor of the building overlooking Jerusalem. This was the view.
22. Some guy tried to convince me he's from America. Where in America? Lake-town.
Nice try dude, nice try!
I told him next time, with the next girl, to say Manhattan.
23. I was standing outside, waiting to get into a concert and some girl grabbed my friends Smirnoff Ice while simultaneously saying - Give me some, I am thirsty.
24. One night some Israeli tried to buy me in the shwarma shop. He pulled out a 20. But then 2 minutes later he was too cheap to buy himself a 6 shekel cola.
25. People will have huge screaming matches about the smallest things, regardless of the time, place, or the people watching.
26. These are ultra religious Jews who play classic rock music. They always have a huge crowd, and they always play in front of the Intima shop. (Local Victoria's Secret)
26. Yom Yerushalayim. One day a year to celebrate Jerusalem. People come from all over the country and fill up the streets of the Old City and Jerusalem.
27. Israeli Independence Day. It means so much more here, than it did in America.
28. I was at the Golani swearing in ceremony at the Kotel and there is nothing quite like it. The fathers and grandfathers watching with pride, as the soldiers swear to protect Israel and its people, the mother crying when her son receives his gun.
And best of all when all the soldiers and the entire crowd sing HaTikvah together, it reminds me of why I truly love Israel.
Sometimes there are the days that I don't know what I am doing or why I am here. Those days happen often. But then there are the moments, like all of the ones above, that remind me.