Thursday, September 17, 2009

Culture Shock!

Reaffirming My Promise

I know I promised publicly, and to many of you privately, that I would not post everyday nor publish such long entries. Well, I guess I’m beyond myself, because I have more to tell you. But,

    1. This will definitely be the last post for a few days.
    2. I’m pretty sure once I hunker down at school, there will be less to tell you about on a daily basis.
    3. So, do not fear my blog (as I do others'). Read On. And, please visit often.

The Good Life Continues

I have not opened my wallet since I’ve been here.

A synopsis of yesterday:

  • Slept ‘till 11:30 AM.
  • Ate a lovely Israeli breakfast.
  • Drank espresso.
  • Checked the news and e-mail.
  • Ate lunch that was cooked for me.
  • Went to the BEAUTIFUL beach in Hertzliya for five hours, where I sat and read, went swimming, and took a jog.
  • Went “home” and showered.
  • Went to a FREE concert in my own backyard (see photos).
  • Ate dinner that was waiting for me when I returned.
  • Relaxed, again.

Some notes on the above:

  • SLEEP - I realize I slept so well because I was very tired. But more importantly, for the first time in about five years, I had no interruptions (like an ambulance pager or cell phone), a completely dark room, and nothing for which to awake at a certain time. This is truly living freely!

  • BEACH – I usually do not like to just sit. But, yesterday it was quite a pleasure. Moreover, I ENJOYED sitting and reading. I had the June 14th issue of the NYT Magazine about infrastructure (which most people probably find boring) and I actually read it page-by-page. I realized the beach can be REALLY NICE if:
    1. I have nothing else to worry about.
    2. The water is WARM and clean.
    3. The weather is hot.
    4. There are few distractions around me (my inner, undiagnosed ADHD)

  • LIFE HERE: What can be bad now? I get up every morning when I want. I make myself an espresso with the machine in the kitchen and eat delicious free food. Then, I sit and read the news and my e-mail. When I feel like it, I go out and enjoy the day! (I’m not sure I could do this forever, or much longer, but it’s GREAT right now!)
    I would like to thank the Amit family for this experience and hope I can provide the same for visitors when they come to me, wherever that may be.

Concert in My Own Backyard

When I awoke yesterday morning, I heard these very loud sound checks (“1,2,A,A,A”). I asked my cousin if we were near a venue and he said no, but there are often events in the plaza of the nearby mall. That was the last I thought about it all day. A few minutes after we returned from the beach he told me he just found out that the noise from the morning was preparation for a free concert for the town youth. It just so happens we had been talking about music earlier in the day and one of the bands I mentioned that I like – Monica Sex - was performing! So, I ventured over there for another wonderful experience. Some reflections:

  • AGE: When I arrived at the concert, I found myself surrounded by crazy high schoolers and couples at least five years my senior. Then I remembered, for the last three years when I’ve visited Israel, I’ve always felt a little inadequate. Every Israeli at my point in their life is in the Army. And, here I am, silly little American, touring, going to the beach, and enjoying concerts. I feel I should be doing more. I think it would be a really great personal experience to join the military and more importantly I would love to serve Israel in the Tzahal. As I was contemplating this, however, I realized, there has got be a better way to help Israel, because I actually have NO desire to be in any army.
  • RUDE AWAKENING: Let me paint a scene… As I stood in the middle of this plaza, I was surrounded by jumping teenagers, who were unapologetically bumping into me, while blowing smoke in my face. WELCOME TO ISRAEL!
    But, then something hit me (besides the kids) - Israel is a great place. Where else in the world can you find scantily dressed 15-year-old girls partying side-by-side with fully clothed boys wearing kippot? That’s pluralism (well, not really)! While we have much more “religious development” in America, the sects don’t often mix. Here, despite many issues, we’re actually a nation. I’m not sure Bernstein would attend such an event, but I could totally see Herschel here!

That’s all I got for now.

I think I’m going to buy myself falafel for lunch today…!

This will be my last post before the ROSH, so


(I tried inserting Hebrew text but it didn’t work.)



I’m starting a new section today called “Befuddlements.” My inspiration for this comes from the comedian Aaron Karo, who began writing a weekly column, Ruminations, for an internet listserve as a freshman at UPenn and is now a successful, full-time comedian. While I do not have the same career aspirations, we see many of the same absurdities in life and often times the same things rack our minds.

  • While sitting on the beach reading, I heard English approaching me from behind. It was a young American couple, probably no older than thirty each. They began to settle down and get ready for their time at the shore. As I watched them (from behind my new sunglasses!) I realized….I dread the day when my significant other must lather my bald head with sun block!

  • In my intriguing time with the NYT Magazine, I found a recipe as part of an article about buying local chicken at your farmers’ market. Isn’t it ironic that the second ingredient listed, after yogurt, for making raita for chicken meatballs is Kosher Salt?

  • Security Breach – If you are a parent or get scared easily, skip this next bullet.
    I walked straight through security at the concert last night without being checked. I had loaded pockets (camera, wallet, phone, etc.). Scary but true – all the terrorists need next is a white loony to go explode himself in a crowded area and they’ve defeated the profiling game. My hope is that such plans would be foiled through intelligence way before they ever get to the victims. (I also hope they’re not reading my blog….but if you are, become a follower!) Just a thought.

  • I do a lot of thinking (really about nothing, but…) Since I never bought myself a magnetic doodle board for the shower, I think it’s about time I purchase a nice wallet-size journal so I can always bring you my latest Befuddlements.

  • I’m not sure I’m satisfied with the name of this section. If you have a better one, please let me know.

Shoutout: I forgot to mention in the last post Mr. Levin, my sixth-grade, Israeli, science teacher. He’s not a “follower” and I have no idea where he is today, so he doesn’t get a numbered shoutout. But, he taught us about symbiotic relationships in the eco-system. His famous saying was: (in an Israeli accent) I elp you, you elp me.” He seems to have been influenced by his upbringing here, because ever since I began my journey at Newark Liberty International Airport this appears to be the model for life.

Shoutout #11: My dear baby sister, Orli Segal. Finally, after making fun of me for so long, you’ve realized how fun blogging can be. I hope you’re enjoying it! Remember, keep chugging – HS will be over soon enough. OK…go save some lives now.
P.S. Where are the other two sibs?...Please tell them what they’re missing.

Shoutout #12: Karen Legman Segal (a.k.a. Mommy) – Mom, to you and Dad I will always be indebted (literally and figuratively). Speaking of which, where is Dad (I know you’re reading, so join already!) Thank you so much for providing me with this amazing opportunity. I love you.

Shoutout #13: Lauren Averil Schneider… I know you from camp. Hope all is well. Thanks for joining the fun!

P.S. For those of you who could not find the photos – look on the right sidebar where it says “Shot of the Day.” Click below.

P.P.S. I received this from the Orthodox minyan listserve at Columbia. Enlightened, like Herschel?...Not sure. Creative and funny?...absolutely.

P.P.P.S. I am experimenting with many different formats on this blog. Please let me know which one you like best and find most comfortable/enjoyable to read.