Bad example.

The thing about trying to get pregnant/being pregnant, is that you start to see pregnant women everywhere. This is probably true everywhere in the world, but when you’re in Israel, you really are seeing them everywhere because out of all the demographics in Israel, the one thing they have in common – whether charedi, Arab, or secular – is that they like their babies.

Usually, seeing pregnant women walking around Jerusalem is a positive experience. The maternity clothes are fun, the women are usually attractive. Then, once in a while, you come across something so utterly disgusting, it makes you want to run your car over it.

I’m talking about a giant, third-trimester arsit waddling around puffing a cigarette with the rest of the pack in her other hand. We were confronted with this scene today, as we sat in our car at the train station waiting to pick up some friends. The car was on and it took everything for us to not step on the gas and run this woman over, thus saving her unborn child from a life of misery and patheticness.

And I don’t mean because of the side effects of being born crappy from a smoking mom. I mean being born the son of an arsit, aka, a Beitar hooligan.

Today's word: דופק

Today we had our first official visit with an ob-gyn (male, charedi) doctor. All in all, a positive experience. I wasn’t expecting anything crazy, pretty much a questionnaire of whether I smoke and if I’m taking vitamins. Oddly, neither of those topics came up.

Oh sure, I’ve been to Israeli gynos before, male charedi gynos even, but this was, of course, different, because I wasn’t only getting a questionnaire, but a checking-out, and not only a checking-out, but a souvenir.

Even though it’s only about seven weeks, we had our first view of the little bean that is currently residing within my insides. It’s amazing how hi tech this stuff is. He showed us the ultra-sound screen and pointed out the little bean that looks nothing like a creature, nevermind a human.

Then he said, “Yecholim l’rot ha-dofek. At ro’ah et ha-dofek?”

I had no freakin’ clue what he was talking about. Doesn’t dofek mean heartbeat? How does that thing have a heartbeat? I nodded and smiled politely but I knew he knew I had no clue what he was going on about. So he kept repeating it, and the word dofek pulsed in my brain. Hey, doc, if you think it has a heartbeat, then I’m perfectly ok with that.

Later on, we sat back down at his desk and went over the details. He said things are looking good for these early weeks. He mentioned the dofek again. I had to politely interrupt –

“When you say dofek, what exactly do you mean?”

“Dofek – pulse, heartbeat – you mean you didn’t see what I was talking about?”

“Oh… uh… I did… I just… They have heartbeats already?”

I guess I have a lot to learn. Like planning our wedding in Israel, this is a whole new experience that’s going to require a whole new Hebrew vocabulary.

Welcome home, me.

I’m back, I’m jetlagged, I’m trying to catch up with work. I get a phone call.

Israeli marketing guy: Is this Mishpachat G—-?

Me: Yes.

Israeli marketing guy: Are you the wife?

Me: Yes.

Israeli marketing guy: I’m calling from Makor Rishon, a dati leumi newspaper and we’d like you to join our readership, bla bla…

Me: Thanks, but we don’t need that right now.

Israeli marketing guy: We don’t need you, either. We are looking for dati leumi families to join this network of Makor Rishon… bla bla… You are dati, aren’t you?

Me: Sort of. Still don’t need it. Bye.

I missed Israel so bad… right?

Welcome to eretz.

Monday, the day I left New York, I met a friend in the city to hang for a bit; he just moved to New York from Tel Aviv so his perspective is still fresh.

The conversation came to the usual point, of how impersonal New York is and how in-your-face Israel is. I forget that every time I get to New York. It’s always a culture shock for me.

The same goes for coming home. I forget the in-your-face that is my culture here.

And that culture never fails to remind me as soon as I land. As soon as I start putting my hand through the border control I.D. scan and some middle age Israeli guy comes from behind me and starts telling me what to do, even as my receipt prints out. And then wishes me well, saying in broken English, “Welcome to eretz.”

Frappuccino desperation.

When I was back in New York in May, I perchance walked into a Starbucks with some friends and noticed a new drink on their menu: this mint chocolate iced frappuccino thing. I’m all about trying new ice blend chocolate coffee things, so I did.

…And I’ve been dreaming about it ever since. Actually, salivating. I’d been wanting it since I got to New York. Since I knew I was coming to New York. But for the first two weeks of my trip, I was building up the craving… Holding out and waiting to reward myself for something.

I finally broke down today and went to the Starbucks down the block from my New York office, and I wait on line; it’s taking forever before I realized I’m on the wrong line. Then I scan the menu for the name of the drink so I can order it when it is finally my turn, but I don’t see it advertised anywhere and I start freaking out.

So I left in a huff and walked all the way… down the block, to the second Starbucks that bookends my office. For no logical reason, really, since they are all franchises. But it felt right.

I wait impatiently on line, close to breaking down, and get to the girl at the counter. She asks what I want but I cut her off and I’m like, “Do you still have that mint chocolate iced frappuccino thing?”

And I guess I  must have looked pretty desperate… I kinda dumped my hopeful order there on the counter next to the register and the fancy granola cookies.

She smiled like a caffeinated angel and said, “Yes, we do! What size?”

And I was like, letting out a sigh of relief. A real physical one. You could see the sigh of relief, like in a cartoon.

It was so gross.

But the drink was damn good and exactly what I was looking for. There’s nothing like pleasing a long distant craving.