Miss Israel

No – Not “I‘m Miss Israel.”

I miss Israel.

I don’t usually miss home. It’s not a bad thing, I just tend to enjoy myself wherever I am (I remember getting a lot of flak one time when I said the army food was good and I didn’t miss my mother’s cooking). But this trip has been long and this week has made it longer. I miss home.

I can see you, creeping up to your computer at the edge of your seat, hoping you are first on the list! So I want to make one thing clear:

First and foremost, I miss cottage cheese.

And yeah, I miss my family.

And my friends.

Street stand in Dar es Salaam

I miss the washing machine. And the laundry chute, my G-d. What luxury.

Taking electricity for granted.

Hot showers. Strong currents.

Not being bitten alive by mosquitos. And not worrying about malaria. (Or rabies or altitude sickness or AIDS or schistosomiasis or nodding disease or infections or anything, really)

A kitchen that has more food than flies. No ants crawling inside my food.

Real buses. With one person in each seat.

Bus in Lushoto (Tanzania)

Lettuce. (And while we’re at it: cherry tomatoes, tchina (tahini), Mom’s challah, Roni’s pizza, Dad’s ice cream, ice cream, dessert in general, white cheese, feta cheese, ricotta cheese… cottage cheese).

Variety.

People who understand what I am saying.

The beautifully pure feeling of a Friday afternoon in Israel.

Fixed prices.

Clothes that are intended for girls (not North Face hiking pants or dri-fit running shirts).

Mailboxes. Radio stations that don’t only have kitchy love songs.

Free Wi-Fi in cafes.

Cafes.

Independence.

Swimming.

Drinking water from the tap.

Of course, when I do get home, there will be a lot of things to get used to. And I’ll miss this place, too, I know. I’ll look the wrong way when I cross the street. I’ll try to bargain with the bus driver. I’ll stand in the middle of the road and wonder why buses aren’t stopping (what’s a bus stop?). I’ll hail down motorcyclers.

Even the matatus want me to go back to my roots

No one will point at me and say “mzungu!”

Or “mzungu bye!”

Or “bye mzungu.”

Or “mzungu give me money.”

In fact, I’ll probably forget I’m white.

I won’t drink yogurts out of bags. Or amarula at bars. I won’t eat jackfruit. Or pineapple, or g-nuts or purple greens (don’t ask).

I’ll have to pay more than a dollar for a meal. And I’ll expect a two-and-a-half day weekend. And wonder why my bills aren’t in the thousands and tens of thousands.

But I’ll be HOME. 11 days (or fewer?) here I come.

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