Tuesday, November 10, 2009

making friends

I have been in Israel for two and a half months now. So far it has been good, but it is hard not being able to have real conversations in English. My hebrew is improving, but I still have to stop and think before every sentence, and I am often at a loss for words. While I love my in-laws and other family here, its just not the same.

Last week Yehi and I were in a pizza place here in KG when we heard a family speaking English at a nearby table. This is VERY unusual here. The only English speakers are usually Yeshiva students, but this was a young family with an infant. Yehi tried to get me to go over and talk to them, but I was nervous... How does one approach a complete stranger without seeming strange? In the end their toddler broke the ice by babbling in our direction... I went over and we made short introductions.

In the end we exchanged numbers, and met again today. It was amazing to be able to speak English and have a real conversation again. While Yehi's cousins have kids and are in a similar situation I am in, they dont always understand my background or my beliefs... or when they do it gets lost in translation. Having someone to really discuss things with was priceless. Sometimes it pays off to be forward, and it seems to work here in Israel better than it would in the states. So for now I am thankful I got up the courage... and we had plenty of fun making fun of ourselves. Living in a foreign country is making me take charge of my daily life, and I am learning to start over again outside of my comfort zone.


Simona said...

I know this is hard to believe now when Hebrew is so hard and uncomfortable, but think of how much Hebrew you will know in a year's time--much more than the average American in Israel. I can attest to this--my Hebrew is sub-par after 2 years in Tel Aviv and that's because I speak Hebrew to a lot of my friends, even the Israeli ones because its just easier to get by. Then I berate myself because my Hebrew is not good at all, considering I've been here for 2 years and should be fluent. Though I am lucky to have lots of Israeli friends here, I have a lot of American friends who sort of live in this American bubble, their job is English, their friends are English, and even after 3 or 4 years, they will never pick up the language fully. You are very lucky to be "forced" to speak Hebrew, even if you don't realize it now and to be honest, I sort of wish I was in your position as uncomfortable as it is, because it's very hard to force myself when I could easily speak English.

Simona said...

While other Americans will never be fully assimilated here, in 2 years time you will be a true Israeli!