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You know you’re no longer a new immigrant when…

That moment when you do something, think something, buy something that means you're really and truly an Israeli

That is what I posted on my Facebook page three days ago, and opened it up for my friends to fill in the blank. They did not disappoint, and I’d like to share some of them with you. Feel free to leave your own responses in the comments.

You know you’re no longer a new immigrant when…

Aliza: You say “em” instead of “um.” Milk in a bag doesn’t faze you. You park on the sidewalk.

Nechama: Sukkot arrives, and you expect the buses to say “Chag sameach/Moadim lesimcha.” It’s normal to see a herd of goats or sheep on the side of the highway. You talk about the tachana merkazit, the old tachana merkazit, the old old one, the new old one, etc.

Tzippy: “7” is obviously a one.

Hannah: You stop converting to pounds, dollars and Fahrenheit.

Yonat: You stop screwing up writing the date on a check.

Aviela: When, on visiting the States, you open your bag at the door to show the guard, who is really there to look at your bag on the way OUT.

Sara: You suck it up and start buying your kids Israeli clothing, instead of expecting someone to bring it from America.

Tzirel: When you think of red milk as lower fat and blue milk as higher fat. When you think it’s normal to bag your own groceries. When you think it’s normal for 4 and 5 year olds to walk themselves down the block to a friend’s or gan. When you have no trouble using the 24 hour military time.

Iris: When you turn to your child and ask, “How do you say _____ in English?”

Hadassah: When you see other Americans and you realize you’re not American at all.

My own contribution was: You open a calendar from America and think, “Oh, my God! They printed it backwards!” You don’t have to subtract 12 when you’re offered a doctor’s appointment at 17:30. You recite poems about the color of urine to your children. (For those not in the know, it goes, “Peepee tzahov lo tov. Peepee lavan metzuyan.” Translation: “Yellow pee is no good. White pee is excellent.” Which is a mnemonic device taught to children to recognize the signs of dehydration; important in our blooming desert of a country.)

And then along came Chana with: When you become a “K’shebatnik.” As in, “K’shebati artza…” (When I came to this country…) which sparked a whole new chain of responses like:

Chana: K’shebati artza, there were no chocolate chips.

Aviela: K’shebati artza, the only deodorant was Fa armpit perfume.

Chedva: K’shebati artza, there were no unlimited cellphone plans.

Bat-Chen: K’shebati artza, the dollar still had value!

Chana: K’shebati artza, we had to buy asimonim for phone calls. They were the one true measure of the value of the shekel.

My own contribution: K’shebati artza, Jews still lived in Gush Katif.

This is Israel. A country of madness and miracles that proves to us every day that humans are infinitely adaptable to whatever absurdity comes their way.

So… take it away: When do YOU know you’re no longer a new immigrant?

About the Author
Bahtya Minkin is a full-time mother of four, originally from Lakewood, NJ, now living in Beit El. In her ample spare time she enjoys crocheting, reading, and arguing with strangers on Facebook.
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