Sometimes I just laugh at Israelis. They really do mean well, but something happens when you grow up in a small country with lots of neighbors who dont particularly like you... you begin to think that everyone who DOES like you (aka people who live or visit your country) are your friends. And being that everyone living near you is a friend, it is more than permissible to ask complete strangers whatever you want. take the following conversation I had while walking home from my in-laws house.
(I stop at a red light waiting to cross the street. An older couples walks up next to me, religious, with a girl of about six or seven- the following conversation is translated from the hebrew)
Woman: How old is your baby?
Me: six months
Woman: shes yours?
Me: Yes, she is mine
Woman: shes skinny for her age, did you know that? Did the doctors tell you? She looks small/
Me: Yes, we know, but she is healthy, thank g-d
Woman: Of course, thank g-d. May she be very healthy. Look how she looks at us! Shes very smart.
Me: Thank you
(we cross the street and turn in the same direction)
Woman: Do you live on Glickson Street?
Me: Nope, I live on ______ Street.
Woman: Oh. Are you selling your house?
Me (thinking I heard her wrong): Excuse me? Can you repeat? I am a new immigrant and my Hebrew isn't so good.
Woman: I know how that is. Are you selling your house?
Me: Um. No. We rent it.
Woman: Thats too bad. Are you English?
Me: No, American
Woman: Oh. Wow. well lots of health.
Now... I dont think I would have ever had a conversation like that in the states, with a complete stranger. And its not nearly the first time, something similar happens almost every day. I am getting used to it, but it can be hard telling who means well and who is trying to get something (like the guy who tried to ask me out about a month ago, and I thought maybe he was a friend of my husbands I didnt recognize...) It is amazing to live in a country where everyone really is your neighbor... but it still kind of freaks me out sometimes. maybe Ill get used to it one day.