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Reesa Cohen Stone from Israel: On Creamsicles, Blue Lips and Jokes

by Reesa Cohen Stone, posted here Sept 1, 2023

 

You know you’re in love when you can’t imagine your life without the other person. That’s how I feel about Creamsicles.”
–Adam Sandler

Orange is the happiest color.
–Frank Sinatra

For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

A few days ago, it was National Creamsicle Day. There are very very few things that I miss about the Old Country, but, astonishingly enough, one of those things is Creamsicles. 

A Creamsicle, for those who need reminding or edification, is vanilla ice cream, coated in frozen orange juice, on a stick. Being a devout chocolate worshipper, it's surprising that I loved Creamsicles. If the choice was between a Fudgsicle or a Creamsicle, I always chose the Creamsicle. 

I haven't had a Creamsicle in more than forty years. 

Not having a Creamsicle led me to thinking of what else I miss from my childhood. Not snow. Not freezing winds. Not tobogganing down man-made slides in the park or even on the slide my neighbours made in their back yard. (Well, maybe slightly). I did go sledding once up north here, but the snow wasn't ten feet deep, and the temperature was above minus 20; without blue lips, the experience doesn't have the same.... je ne sais quoi, but hey. 

Those same Old Country neighbours also had a raspberry bush in their back yard. It was covered in snow for about eight months of the year. But hey, in the summer, there were raspberries. Not a lot, but enough. Sometimes we would find a robin's nest in the bushes with small blue eggs inside. We have birds and their nests in the trees in our yard here in the desert too. We don't have robins though. Our birds are usually pigeons. In Hebrew, a pigeon and a dove are both a 'yonah' (????), like the prophet. I tell myself that a nest in the tree is like having a prophet in your garden....

For many years of my life in the HolyLand, when I walked down the cereal aisle at the supermarket, I would always pause in front of the boxes of Capt'n Crunch. A little background: It was probably close to ten years after coming to live here, that Israeli cereal became easily available. Before that, in very exclusive stores in the bigger cities, one was able to find imported fancy-pants Corn Flakes, but it was for very rich folks who lived in tall buildings, not students or desert dwellers such as me. However, within a few years of Israeli products hitting the market, imports began to arrive in abundance, one of which was Capt'n Crunch. 

Back in the Old Country, I seldom ate C. Crunch, but nevertheless, when passing it in an Israeli supermarket, I could almost taste the sweetness of it. But I never indulged in purchasing any because a box cost almost as much as my monthly rent. One year, I received a box for my birthday, but the gift-giver had mistakenly bought peanut butter flavoured, and that successfully took away the fantasy taste of it. I no longer pause in front of its boxes anymore. Also, I can't find Alpha-Bits here. But hey.  

Obviously, I miss family and friends. But the 21st century and its technology have made everyone closer and more in touch. (For better or worse, but hey.)

I know other people miss Sunday mornings (Sunday is a regular workday here), Entemann's cakes, orderly lines for service, polite drivers, polite people in general, cold weather (!!!!!), dollar stores and Costco and Target. But I don't. Really. 

There is, however, one thing I truly do miss. Most of the time, I don't think about it, but it's always there. Most people who have lived in a foreign country as long as I have will not have this problem, but I suppose I do because I have a thick head and tin ears. I miss being in command of the spoken local language. I miss being able to tell a joke fluently and correctly and people laughing because the joke is funny rather than at my accent. I miss being able to interrupt someone confidently without having to practice what I'm going to say first. I can, when required, add to a conversation, and I understand everything (mostly) that is being said. I'm not totally mute. Nonetheless, I miss not always being heard when I speak, not being taken seriously because of a grammar mistake, not being active in a give-and-take because my words come out more slowly.  

But hey. 

Over the years I've learned, somewhat, how to compensate for this shortcoming. I communicate in other ways; with a nod of my head, with a big smile, with a hug. Most of the time, it works. If I smile while I'm speaking, I'm more apt to be heard. If I show that I'm listening intently, I'm usually forgiven the mistakes I make when I speak. 

 

There are a lot of ways of communicating. And the more ways in which one communicates, the more ways there are of understanding, and the more ways one finds commonality with the other, regardless of accents, grammatical mistakes, misunderstood cultural references, differing points of view, and fashion sense. 

In any language, kindness and patience is key.

 

I haven't found a replacement for Creamsicles, but yesterday was National Lemon Meringue Pie Day. I haven't celebrated yet, but if there's one thing I have learned how to do in Israel, it's to make Lemon Meringue Pie. And today is National Tell a Joke Day. And while it's true that nobody laughs when I tell a joke in Hebrew, it's also true that nobody laughs when I tell a joke in English either. 

But hey. 

Reesa blogs at http://reesagsworld.blogspot.com/?

 
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