Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How big is too big?

When I got pregnant with my first daughter, my husband and I decided that it was time to start saving for a house of our own. Neither of us felt/feel comfortable taking out a large mortgage, so we really wanted to put as much of a down payment as possible.

I am from a VERY expensive area of California. I grew up in a house that was 3000 square feet, just me, my parents and a brother. My husband is from the south of Israel, and grew up in 1000 square feet with his parents and four siblings. Now that we have been looking at places (both to rent and to buy) it amazes me still how much culture plays a role in housing.

Here in Israel, land is at a premium and salaries are generally small. Because of that, it is very common to own a condo, and not a private house. In my city, the average condo size is around 1000 square feet, and the average house size between 1500-2000 square feet. Where I come from, no one owns a condo unless they live in San Francisco, and the average house size is much larger.

Even forgetting the actual house size, the layout of houses always amazes me. In Los Angeles we rented a 1 bedroom nearly 700 square foot apartment. Here we rent a nearly 600 square foot 2 bedroom. Israelis seem to like to squish as many rooms as possible into their spaces.... and as few bathrooms. It all seems rather counter intuitive to me. When we were discussing building our own house, I told my Mother in Law that I would like 2000 or more square feet... her first reaction? "But how will you clean it???" I guess the sand does make it harder...

So I am still debating. How big is too big? How small is too small? And can a family really live with only one bathroom? (I'm going to say NO on that last one...)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I am really not good at this

Well, it has been almost a year since my last post. It has been a crazy year, with ups and downs. We have welcomed another daughter to our family, and said goodbye to other family members. So what got me writing again?

9/11. The 10 year anniversary is this week, and I just can't get it out of my mind. Maybe it will get me back into the blogging world.

In 8th grade, my history teacher had us do a project in which we interview family members on days they would never forget. For my grandparents it was Pearl Harbor and the end of WWII, for my parents it was the assassination of JFK and the first man landing on the moon. I remember thinking at the time, "how could anyone remember a day that exactly?" My grandmother could tell me all the details about where she was when she heard about Pearl Harbor, even 60 years later. I thought it would be cool to have a day burned in my memory like that... and now I know its not as exciting as it seemed.

On 9/11/2001, I was in High School, Junior year. My alarm went off at 6am CA time, and the first plane hitting was on the news. I went to talk to my parents, then turned on the tv just in time to watch the second plane hit. Everything seemed to freeze, and even the news anchor didn't know what to say. My whole world changed in the moment. I dont remember many other specifics during the day, just listening to the radio at school. We were all in shock. It was the first time any of us had experienced a moment like that, where the whole world just seemed to stop.

my most vivid memory is actually of the Friday after. My boyfriend at the time took me to see a movie, and at the end a boy died. I remember everything about 9/11 just hitting me all in that one moment. We stood in the parking lot of that theater and I cried for almost an hour. I just couldn't believe what had happened.

10 years later I am the mom of 2 girls... and it is hitting me hard again. Maybe it is because I am old enough to really understand what happened. I look at my girls and my heart just breaks, because I want to shield them from any sort of harm. Maybe it is because I am living in Israel now, and I know that Americans have forgotten so easily what it is like to be attacked, yet it is something I still struggle with every day.

My heart goes out to the families of the victims, who are still suffering 10 years later... and my mind goes to all those who lost their lives that day, and the people they never got to become.