Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Oy America, What Has Become of You?

Many Israelis travel "abroad" for a change of scenery and a break from the "situation." It's such a small country and some destinations (e.g. Turkey) can be as cheap as a weekend jaunt from California to Las Vegas. The USA as a tourist site has the most cachet, but for me, until now, it was simply a revisit to my first home. I usually make an annual trip to see my children, grandchildren, brother, and various other family members.

The past couple of years I began to feel like a visitor/tourist, complete with camera. What has changed? As I adapt to life in Israel, each year my angle of vision moves a few degrees further away from where it started. But the target is moving too. Here are a few symptoms:

There are more fat people in airports. Once I get where I'm going, they disappear, so I conclude that either they hang out in airports a lot, or they don't go where I'm going once we land. Does my family favor thin neighborhoods?

Everything is bigger. Maybe that's to accommodate the fatter people. Or maybe the people are getting larger to accommodate the bigger merchandise. For example, kitchen utensils.

Potato PeelersThe photo shows two potato peelers: the new one that I bought on a recent visit to the USA, next to my old one, which was actually imported to the USA from Germany about 20 years ago and still works. It has a little protrusion for removing the potato eyes. The new one has a non-functional protrusion, and was probably made in China. It has a humongous handle, with a little chain for hanging it up on a hook. I keep my potato peelers in a small drawer. My hand is roughly the same size it was 20 years ago. If I were to replace all my kitchen equipment, I would need a larger kitchen to store the larger utensils. Is that the point of the bigger and bigger MacMansions? More space for bigger stuff? Because it can't be for bigger families; families living together are smaller nowadays. Old parents and unmarried aunties and uncles are shipping off to retirement housing with rooms directly proportional to their retirement income, so these larger family homes simply provide more living space for fewer occupants. This allows each younger person living en famille to be more isolated separated from the others in their own homes, without having to go outside and encounter - God forbid - a Stranger!

On a more positive note, my favorite line from this visit was spoken by Pippi Bluestocking, my beloved Florida daughter-in-law, introducing me again to Little Bear, my beloved 19-month-old Florida granddaughter:
Little Bear, this is your Savta. Remember her? She lives inside the computer. We let her out to visit you for the weekend.
Happy Purim, everyone!


Tamar said...

Happy Purim, Savta! This post is great. It is so on target - about becoming a visitor/tourist gradually in one's "home"land ... I have found that lately when I come home to Israel for a visit. You describe it beautifully: "What has changed? As I adapt to life in [America], each year my angle of vision moves a few degrees further away from where it started."

But, on the other hand I pretty much feel that way (like a visitor) wherever I go these days ... including living in the States.

Montanus said...

All the fat people aren't hanging out in the airports, according to my doctor. He says I'm one of them, and I live in the mountains.
Nothing ever stays the same. I think about leaving Appalachia sometimes because it has changed so much in twenty years. Don't know if I ever will.
I'm not going out in one of those old folks homes you mentioned. I'm going like the old guy at the foot of the mountain. They found him dead in the field, still in the traces, with his old mule and his dog patiently waiting for him to get up. If you have to check out, that's the way to do it.

goldenlucyd said...

Hag Purim!
Thanks your great comment on my blog. I'm very new at this but I'm catching on as fast as I can. I enjoyed your blog very much---it's so intersting for me to read about your adjustments to Israel. The kids talk about living there after retirement (theirs, not mine!)
I've made an observation about Jewish women being disproportionally (considering how few of us there actually are) represented in the blogging community. I think is may be especially true with elderbloggers. Of course I may also be totally off base---but I doubt it.
Anyway, have a wonderful Purim and thanks again for visiting me.
All the Best,

Savtadotty said...

Hi Tamar - Yes, I guess we are visitors to this planet. I wonder whether we'll feel at home in "the world to come?"

Frank - I hope you get your wish. But not anytime soon.

Lucy - You sure are catching on! Lots of people enjoy retiring to Israel, but I was lucky to get to work here too. I agree with you that Jewish women seem to be blogging disproportionately to our numbers. Whatever the reasons, I'm glad you're among them. It's a joy to read your blog, and a deeper joy for me because of your age.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Nice to see you out and about, Granny. (Except, I don't.)