Posted by: Liza Rosenberg | May 14, 2008

Things I Learned in the “Old Country”

  1. When told that there is no need to add sugar to your newly-received latte because it is presweetened, be afraid. Be very afraid.
  2. Goo Gone is very effective for removing Silly Putty from the pocket of a pair of jeans.
  3. The “Petite” department in South Florida clothing stores is often geared more towards older women who have shrunk than younger women who have always been short.
  4. Square footage of one’s personal space in America is greater than the square footage of my bathroom. Square footage of one’s personal space in Israel is smaller than the square footage of my toilet (and often just as soiled – did I say that out loud?). This means that in America, people will say excuse me for entering the same aisle as you in the supermarket, even if they are nowhere near you (by Israeli standards, anyway).
  5. Friendly’s still serves Butter Crunch ice cream, bless ’em.
  6. Starbucks is to coffee what McDonald’s is to food. Would you like fries with that?
  7. Air France flight attendants were nicer than expected. I can’t be absolutely certain, though, since they rarely spoke to us in English, despite the uncomprehending looks on our faces when they addressed us in French.
  8. Only in New York City can you save money by staying with friends while simultaneously forking over a sum of money equal to or greater than the cost of a hotel room (outside of NYC, of course!) to put your car in the closest parking garage.
  9. Where else but Super Target could you purchase a digital video camera, children’s clothing, patio furniture (not that I did, but I could have), groceries, a Starbucks latte (from the in-store Starbucks branch), shoes and luggage? I briefly considered picking up some sushi, but then asked myself if I really wanted to buy sushi in a place that also sells feminine hygiene products. The answer was no, of course. Being offered fries with your burger is one thing. Tampons with your tekka maki, on the other hand… I did, however, take a chocolate chip cookie.
  10. For some folks in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, a fancy evening out means donning your finest outfit and eating your weight in fried foods at Shoney’s. Would you like fries with that?
  11. What if I don’t want to “have a nice day”?


  1. do you really want the answer to that last question??


    by the way, your numbering went all whacky after #9… 😉

  2. […] her most recent post, aptly titled Things I learned in the Old Country, she describes one of the ironies of living in […]

  3. 9. SUPER TARGET…..I’m jonesning here for it!!! Tell me more!

    10. You forgot to add that in Gatlinburg dressing up in one’s finest means donning your favorite holiday sweatshirt or t-shirt:

    Jan-Feb……..decorated with hearts for Valentine’s Day
    March-April……..Easter Bunnies
    May-June………fluffy flowers
    July—Well the big flag of course!
    Aug-Sept (kind of the tame time of the year)
    Oct………..yup, the pumpkin sweatshirt comes out of hiding
    Nov………gobble gobble!
    and you guessed it, in Gatlinburg, Tenn in december you’ll get dizzy from all of the singing santa sweatshirts!!!

    thanks for the laugh! 🙂 (and the email you sent earlier too…….)

  4. huh… the french – they are so silly trying to speak just french…
    Could you imagine a french calling for help in french still knowing that no one understands him 😉 ?

  5. LOLOLOL!!! So, Israel and Jordan have more in common than anyone would like to admit. 🙂

    Goo Gone is one of G-d’s gift to mothers.

    Welcome home. 🙂 I’m within a week of Super Target, and will take your advice about sushi. Hadn’t considered the horrendous ramifications before.

  6. I realized I was Israeli when I got excited going to Target last summer. The shuk doesn’t compare.

    One stand-up comic said he figured out a way to save money on NYC parking. He drops his car off for repairs and gets a new carburetor.

  7. Ahhhh…Friendly’s…. I worked there for about 8 years. Forgot about the butter crunch though….

    You forgot Cinnabon and the outlet centers–I mile long strip of stores!

  8. Emah S: No! People were seriously dressed up! It was really scary!

    Arik: Oui.

    Kinziblogs: I’ll have to see if I can get Goo Gone here. I was amazed!

    Stick with the chocolate chip cookies…

    That being said, I buy sushi in the supermarkets over there, though I do steer clear of the pieces that come with smoked salmon and cream cheese. It seems so wrong!

    Benji: The shuk doesn’t come anywhere close. It’s not about being Israeli – it’s about living away from the US. All of my expat friends here and in Europe just swoon at the thought of going to Target, American supermarkets, etc. Whenever we go for a visit, I’m sure my Mom dreads the first visit with me to the supermarket, as I feel the need to reminisce about long-forgotten products such as Jell-O and Eggo (Leggo my Eggo!).

    Good idea about the parking…

    Gila: I’m sure I’m dating myself, but I think Cinnabon opened after I moved here. I’ve only been there once. It was in LAX – we were hungry and none of the other food places had opened yet. It was so disgusting…

    I love the outlets, but didn’t get a chance to go this year, which depressed me to no end. Next year for sure!

  9. oh, sure, answer everyone’s post but mine… 😦

  10. I could have sworn I already responded to this one, but…

    “in America, people will say excuse me for entering the same aisle as you in the supermarket, even if they are nowhere near you”

    SO TRUE! It drives me nuts! Pretty soon all Americans will just wear a tag that says “Please excuse me for living!”

  11. We have increasing numbers of Israelis here in Australia and they are all so unbelievably RUDE and inconsiderate of others. One of my neighbours confided in me that she can understand why people want to blow Israelis up and there was very little I could say to her since we are both suffering from living next door to Israelis at the moment who live like animals (dirt, noise, aggression, waking us up at 2am on a regular basis when we need to go to work the next day). They simply don’t give a hoot about other people. All I can say is God bless America and I would rather hear “Have a nice day” a thousand times over than ever SEE another Israeli at my local supermarket. The Israeli tourists should give some thought as to what impression they are making on their hosts – it isn’t helping the Israeli cause one iota.

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