One of the harder parts that is a shorter, more light-hearted answer to give you is, food.
Let me caveat with - Tel Aviv has some amazing restaurants and food - which is part of the problem. The first month and half we were eating out a TON due to:
1. excitement and wanting to try new things
2. lack of knowing where to buy certain foods
3. not having most of our kitchen stuff yet i.e. blender crock-pot etc.
Some prices were a bit shocking at first - some because of cheapness (produce) and more because of costliness. Packaged foods are definitely on the higher side; which is why we now order most non-perishable items from Walmart or Amazon.
We live close to Carmel Market, which as I mentioned above has a fantastic array of all kinds of produce. The exchange of cash initially intimidated me, but I've grown use to the mild pushing and yelling and force myself to at least buy the majority of our produce there on a weekly basis (they also have great wine deals there on Fridays so that's a plus).
|Carmel Market (on a very empty day) - Source|
That being said, the emotional experience of grocery shopping also was a shock at first.
Kait WTF do you mean grocery shopping is not an emotional experience.
For me it
Probably not but that's ok, just don't judge.
So yeah, grocery shopping for awhile (until maybe like.. last week) actually gave me a good amount of stress. 95% of labels are in Hebrew, and while sure I can stand there taking pictures of the labels with my phone and using Google Translate, the self-conscious part of myself simply wouldn't allow it. And consequently, I brought home some kind of weird tomato salad instead of salsa, butter instead of cheese... the list goes on but we will stop there.
It's just more of a... get in and get out here are your groceries now go type of experience. There is no 'thank you' from the cashier once you pay, they hand you the receipt and you leave. Which for awhile was hard for me to not take personally, and I always felt like I was leaving the store with my tail between my legs.
However a good indicator that I'm slowly becoming used to the sometimes abrasiveness/bluntness that is part of this culture:
Riding my bike down the sidewalk just yesterday - Israeli man clearly screams at me in Hebrew for riding on sidewalk - I smile and keep riding.
Two months ago that interaction would have sent me close to tears.
But now... sorry bro I'm not looking to ride down a major city street and get sideswiped.
Anyways, back to the food thing. I think Andrew would agree, as of the past few weeks, we've finally found more of a happy medium with cooking healthy meals, having morning smoothies, etc. Meals definitely look different than what my go-tos were back in the States, but it was a good change that has forced me to explore the boundaries of healthy eating options.
Having our crock-pot arrive a few weeks ago has been a huge help, sweet potato chili fulfilled my fall craving, and this week I concocted a balsamic veggie chicken stew thing that got the thumbs up from Andrew (and Kai who I found trying to lick some off the counter).
Anyways, there are some rambles on food - here is the link to the sweet potato chili if you're interested - I highly recommend it (it calls for beer but I omitted that).