Double Life – Holiday Season

fubiniBy Daniela Fubini*

Don’t we all love the holidays, with or without fake pine trees with colorful lights and the star up on top. Right now, from end of November all the way through early January is a very interesting time, in Israel, especially when you live a double life. When family and friends are spread in several different continents and usually have vacation in different moments and seasons than in Israel. And so it happens, they book flights and arrange accommodation and tourism, asking questions and making itineraries, and then eventually disembark at Ben Gurion Airport, obviously in the middle of what here is the most normal working day, with deadlines and meetings and conference calls and half of the team sick because hey, it’s winter, and surprise, winter is cold in Israel, and you can even get a cold.

I personally learnt the wonders of the seasonal flock when I lived in New York, but at least then, the holy days matched more or less on both sides of the Ocean. But of course, who would complain? Visitors are a happy merry-go-round, and when they arrive they force you to leave temporarily your comfort zone, and your routine, and go with the noisy and linguistically challenging flow. Indeed, we Olim Chadashim, who have mastered (or not) the spoken Hebrew and the local culture, switch to simultaneous translators the second our guests arrive. We also embody the Ministry of Asbara, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Public Transportation and the head of rates negotiator on just about anything, from the final price of the hotel to the souvenirs. Exhausting as much as empowering.

And the best part is really when through the visitors, their questions and their comments we have to take a closer look at your own little Israel, and we get even more convinced that we are exactly in the right place in the universe. Rocky, annoying, politically challenging, but just right. So, thank you for coming.

*Daniela Fubini (Twitter @d_fubini) lives and writes in Tel Aviv, where she arrived in 2008 from Turin via New York.