Dedicated to the lump in my stomach.

My throat is currently residing at the bottoms of my feet.

I just explained my potential thesis topic to the class of 13. Last week, we had begun going around the room and everyone was explaining their thesis topic which would open up 15 minutes of debate and argument from the rest of the class. Last week I got out of it because the professor stopped at the person right before me for lack of time, enabling me to exit the fit of melting and thoughts of leaving the room I was undergoing. This week we were picking up on the trend.

I was slightly more prepared for it this time around since I had a week to accept that I was going to be forced to discuss my theory on Survival Identity Crises – which I can barely explain in English, let alone in Hebrew. I knew it wouldn’t end up turning into a 15 minute debate in the class like the others because even if my classmates did understand my sputtering, they would most likely have pity on me.

Well – here is how it went. In Hebrew, of course.

Anglo Me: So… I’m taking an idea from the first degree I did… I wrote a thesis in my first degree… So, I’m taking an idea I wrote about called ‘Survival Identity Crises’… bla bla bla sputter bla bla… ( Stop, breathe).

Anglo Professor: Yes, it seems interesting. Continue.

Me: (Oh crap, he wants me to continue?) Basically it’s an idea that each side sees itself as the victim… bla bla…

Israeli Student: She can speak in English, it’s ok for the rest of us.

Me: (Ouch.)

Professor: No, I think we all understand her and she’s explaining it well. Continue.

Me: (OhmanangloprofessorwhoscaresmesomewhatwasjustsogeneroustomeTakethatIsraeliintoleranceTwopointsforanglopride) So, culture and history and this sense of victimhood contribute to a condition of… bla bla bla… ( my feet are ice, my eyes are blind, my head is spinning, but I gotta keep going).

Professor: Yes, so basically…

He took what I said and confirmed it, explaining it in his own words and commenting on how interesting it can be and how I should try not to do too much but focus on one area.

You see, it’s not that I can’t speak Hebrew. My skills are those of someone who has been studying/speaking Hebrew for 17 years.

It’s that my skills get hijacked by the enormous lump that lives between my throat and stomach.






  1. ilan Avatar

    For what it’s worth, I had a similar experience when starting at my first job in Israel (which was also my first full-time job and my first introduction to corporate Israel). We had a 3-day orientation, filled with lots and lots of difficult Hebrew – that I mostly got, but when it was time for me to speak, I could literally hear the grond opening up beneath my feet.

Whadya got: