October 04, 2005

Shana tova - from Iceland :-)

Before I say anything else... shana tova!..


Indeed I must say, that never has my life consisted of a series of events that were a bigger and stranger mixture of my own culture on one hand, and the Jewish Israeli on the other. I'm also constantly finding myself in a situation that simply fascinates me as a student of cultural anthropology. To witness firsthand how things that have always been so 'normal' for an entire people, can be practically unthinkable for another. And yet two individuals from both groups appear perfectly capable of mutual understanding, and more.
These contemplations and events are, of course, caused by the fact that (as you already know), I now have an Israeli boyfriend. After days of trying to think of a pseudo for him on my blog, I asked him for ideas. Finally we decided that I'd just call him "Shlomi", because Shlomi, is his real name :).

My life has been (and is) nothing short of a big BALAGAN (mess) lately. I'm behind on all my schoolwork, many of my plans (which had all been pretty much the same for a very long time) are being rethought, I haven't worked out in weeks, changed jobs, I've been living off very strange food, and I even went through a very radical change of hairstyle when I went back to my natural color (red)"!.
But I'm absolutely ecstatic, and am not too worried about anything.
I've also been spending more time with my family. They are all in love with Shlomi. My sweet niece Gudrun is in love with him literally. She gets dressed up for him, tries to dress and act like me, chases him around and tries to charm him. My grandmother has stopped being afraid of him now, even though he's an exotic looking foreigner (she's scared of foreigners). She doesn't see much of a difference between foreigners. Last night there were images from Pakistan on tv, and my grandmother shouted excitedly "Israelis, Israelis!". I tried to explain to her that it's an entirely different country, but she said that it isn't, cause they have "the same shade of brown". But I know she likes him, cause she gave him a woolsweater she had knitted.

Last night was the beginning of Rosh Hashana,- the Jewish New Year. When my dear mother heard, she decided to host a dinner that night for Shlomi, since he's Jewish (with no pork of course, she said!). It was funny, it was nice. It was Icelandic lamb, Icelandic traditions. No cream sallad though, since my sister figured he would be uncomfortable with the meat & dairy thing, or something (although the ice cream for dessert didn't seem to be an issue). My mother was very nervous about the fact that there was no sallad, and thought that this might sabotage the entire meal. (Icelanders usually don't eat sallad with meals whereas Israelis always eat sallad with food). My grandmother spoke Icelandic to Shlomi, eventhough she knows he doesn't understand much. He smiled and nodded.
I spoke (and speak) English to Shlomi, and Icelandic to my family. He called his family yesterday, and spoke Hebrew to them. He mentioned to me how strangely surreal it is to sit in an Icelandic livingroom, and a room full of Icelandic people, and hear me speak a foreign language. I had the exact same thought about him. It is incredible to watch how an entire personality seems to be altered when changing languages. When he speaks Hebrew, suddenly the sounds he makes are a combination of very deep and high pitched sounds, made while excessively moving the hands.

So, two different worlds, clashing with a bang. And it's a great thing. It just makes life much more interesting.

Posted by Maria at October 4, 2005 01:18 PM | TrackBacks
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Somehow this brought a lot of lovely memories to my mind :-)

And I would kill for a meal of Icelandic lamb too (not the boiled head though)! Oh, you lucky people, you.

Strange coincidence, I dyed my hair too, very dark brown, one could say almost black.
All the best for you, Maria.

Posted by: Aki at October 4, 2005 05:08 PM Permalink

Sounds like you're having fun!

Oh, and Aki, there's nothing wrong with boiled sheep heads :p

Posted by: Arni at October 4, 2005 05:36 PM Permalink

Aki: send me a picture of the new hair!

Árni: I saw you the other day (a few weeks ago). I was riding my bike outside Glæsibær. I don't know if you recognised or noticed me.

Posted by: Maria at October 4, 2005 05:44 PM Permalink

Happy new year, Maria! The balagan sounds like a normal, and manageable one. Stability is not for the young! heh

Posted by: patrickafir at October 4, 2005 06:09 PM Permalink

What a lovely post! Really enjoyed reading.

How long is Shlomi going to stay in Iceland?

Posted by: Orly at October 4, 2005 07:23 PM Permalink

Well it's about time your hair was red again young lady. : )

Posted by: Alice at October 5, 2005 12:34 AM Permalink

Patrick: Encouraging, thank you!

Orly: Thank you as well, it's so nice to hear that! I've e-mailed you.

Alice: True! I shall be mailing you soon.

Posted by: Maria at October 5, 2005 01:05 PM Permalink

Happy New Year to you Maria,
Gmar Hatima Tova as well!

Posted by: Tal at October 12, 2005 04:27 PM Permalink

María, I didn't notice you then. Rest assured that I'd at least have said hi!

Posted by: Arni at October 13, 2005 02:17 AM Permalink

Wow, I am unwillingly away from computer activities for a month and you go and get yourself a boyfriend! And an Israeli one at that! Kol ha'kavod and bhatzlacha!! ok so when are the two of you coming HOME? :)

Posted by: Yael Kaynan at October 15, 2005 09:10 PM Permalink

Tal: thank you, likewise and stay in touch!

Árni: Next time :)

Yael: He's going to Israel for a visit next month.. I'm staying here :(

Posted by: Maria at October 17, 2005 03:26 PM Permalink