10 Things I Miss About America

Earlier this week, I found this amazing list of things that “Israelis should use but don’t” – it is basically a very useful guide for what to expect when you decide to move to Israel (ha!). Here it is: 10 Things Israelis Should Use But Don’t

Now, with that list in mind and in honor of my upcoming visit home (Chicago) for the first time since making Aliyah in less than 2 weeks (!!!!) – I have decided to make a list of things I miss about America (besides my family and friends). Some of them may surprise you, because most of them surprised me. I was pretty ready to take on life in Israel, positive that I didn’t need the conveniences of urban (or even suburban) America, and that life without Target would be just fine. Well, life is just fine, but I would really like to have these things in it:

1) Paper towels. Israel has plenty of paper towels, you say. Yes, but they are only like 1 level up from toilet paper – there is no bounty! No triple-ply! No wringing out your paper towels to wipe up the whole mess! The reality is, I use about half a roll of paper towels every time I spill something. I need at least 2 sheets to dry a vegetable. Basically, they’re useless and I’m wasteful.

2) A dryer machine. You may mock me for thiss – “you live in the desert, don’t your clothes dry in 10 seconds when you hang them up?” the answer is yes, they do dry quickly…IN THE SUMMER. In winter months in Be’er Sheva, my unheated apartment is freezing. These stone walls built to keep heat out during the summers also keep heat out during the winters, which means that my clothes take no less than 3 DAYS to dry on the drying rack. That’s a long time when you’re low on underwear.

3) Ziplock bags. I import ziplock bags from America (my parents bring them when they visit, along with Crest toothpaste and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter).

4) Crunchy half-sour pickles.

5) Sitting down at any restaurant to a large glass of cold water. This is something amazing about America, that doesn’t really exist in any other country (at least not where I’ve visited), and as an avid water drinker, it is one of the things I appreciate most about America.

6) The ability to order a cup of coffee to go in under one minute. Or, just Starbucks in general. Though I love and appreciate the way that Israelis take their time when ordering, drinking, or serving coffee, sometimes you want to pick up a fresh cup of coffee on your way somewhere, without taking half an hour.

7) “10 Items or Less” signs at grocery stores, or in the event that they exist, people who take that sign seriously.

8) Vacation days. Seriously, I think I could write a book about this. You already know how I feel about Sundays, so this is just an ongoing thing that I am dealing with. In Israel, there are no official holidays between Sukkot and Passover. That’s basically a 7 month stretch without a single Labor Day, Christmas Day, MLK Day, etc. (except for the recent election day which is not a regular occurrence (and which I may write about another time)). Also, those holidays I mentioned, Sukkot and Passover, you only get a day off IF they do not fall on a weekend (which, this year, they do). Awesome. Really all I want is one long weekend that isn’t a Jewish holiday.

9) Gyms that have towels. And Kettle Bells. Why doesn’t Israel have Kettle Bells? They are amazing and should be everywhere.

10) People who are capable of waiting in line. For anything. Nobody waits in line in this country. Every place you walk into requires taking a number. Places that do not have these numbers experience absolute chaos (like, say, the airport), and people seem to be actually incapable of waiting their turn.

Basically, life in Israel is different from life in America – as it SHOULD be! Some things are easier to adjust to than others, but none of the things listed here are deal breakers. Don’t be discouraged. This blog was a platform for me to complain about silly things that can be frustrating, but eventually I’ll write about all the reasons I love living here 🙂


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