After one year of living on campus at Haifa University, I and my husband are now renting a wee apartment in a complex for people 55 and older in the beautiful little town of San Juan Capistrano. My head is still spinning as I adjust to dollars instead of shekels. I run, almost giddy, through the supermarkets and shopping malls here in Southern California, trying not to buy everything I see just because it seems so cheap. Everything, and I mean everything, is twice as expensive in Israel.
Then there is the adjustment of living with old geezers (like myself) instead of the young university students. But the always hot jacuzzi and lovely swiming pool, just steps from my door, make up for any loss I might feel in that department.
I have transitioned quickly and happily back to driving my own car on the California freeways. In Haifa I took the bus everywhere I wanted to go and was impressed with how the senior citizens in Israel managed public transportation. Old people with canes and even walkers would totter down the aisle and take a seat just before the driver stepped hard on the gas pedal and took off with a lurch. Most of the bus drivers are also tank drivers in their other life and can handle any traffick surprise with out batting an eye.
I've already had my fill of yummy Mexican food and grilled steaks here, both of which are in short supply in the Middle East. I won't miss my weekly plate of humus or vegetable stuffed falafel, at least not for a year.
I will miss my friends in Israel. They are all special and for the most part the word FUBAR applies to them, but I still love them. I am trying to make new friends as I transition back to American life. So far, the senior citizens in my apartment complex are proving to be friendly and neighborly. It is good to be back. And as soon as I am real comfortable, I will be yearning to take off again for somewhere else in the world (at least for a short visit).