Sitting in a lounge chair watching Maury.
This is the American side of the Asher Yitzhak. :)
There are two things I can say outright now about being back in Colorado. One positive, one negative. Whether one outweighs the other is yet to be seen.
Awesome thing: Customer service here is amazing. I call and things are handled immediately. I need to return something, and it's not at all a problem. Used a couple of nappies in the wrong size? Take 'em back to Target and return them. Money back? No problem. Gift card form? Not an issue. Mr. T was absolutely baffled by the interaction.
Bummer thing: Shabbat is tough because our walk to the synagogue is along one of the busy drags in town, with cars flying by day and night. It doesn't feel like Shabbat. It's not quiet and relaxing and peaceful; it's loud and noisy and stressed.
There's more, of course. I like being able to walk into a store and get exactly what I need and not pay five million shekels for it. Being able to buy a shirt for $5 and knowing that it isn't going to fall apart is a blessing. Being able to buy the right things I need for Ash is brilliant. Finding inexpensive, delicious gluten-free food is wonderful.
Going places and everyone not being Jewish?
It's interesting. It's a weird adjustment. Even in Israel where not everyone is Jewish, you don't really feel like you're living in a non-Jewish country. Here, I get excited when I see another women in a head covering or sheitel (wig) in Target or King Soopers or at the Starbucks. But having people look at my name and say CHA-viva (like in cheese) is interesting and amusing. It's nice in a way. I get to share a little piece of information: "It's Hebrew," I say.
There's a delicate balance when it comes to living outside of the "Jewish state" of Israel. I find it both easy and hard. It's easy in the sense that it's more obvious here that I'm Jewish. I have to try harder. I have to think about things. I can't just buy things without thinking about it. Keeping kosher becomes more conscious than passive. And you get the opportunity to explain Judaism and its quirks to others when people ask you, curiously, what life is like in Israel.
On the other hand, it's hard because you can't just go anywhere and eat, you can't assume someone knows what you mean when you use certain words. Someone sneezes, you have to consider whether saying "l'vrioot" (lee-vree-oot) makes sense or a "bless you" will suffice. You can't go to all of your friends' homes for dinner, either, making building relationships something of a challenge sometimes.
But there we are. More reflections forthcoming, of course. This life is interesting, as it always has been. I'm just glad you're all coming along for the ride.