Sunday, August 30, 2009

I'll Never Actually Be Israeli

I realize today, with humor, that I'm simply never going to be Israeli. Nope - it's not because I'll never perfect this darn language. And it's not because I refuse to drive like a maniac. I'll never be Israeli because I simply can't perfect the way that they say telephone numbers!

It's so amazing to me how many little things there are that separate one culture from another. Why would it be that Israelis say numbers in a different way than Americans do? But it's true. I was thinking about this today when I saw someone's email. She was advertising something and said that people could call her at 9933-373. That's simply not how we cluster numbers together in America. If I were to say her number it would be 993 (pause) 3373. The same goes with cell phone numbers. I recite my cell phone number as 054 (pause) 222 (pause) 2222, while an Israeli puts the pause in a different place.

I actually find that this matters on a regular basis. Whenever I have to give my phone number to an Israeli, they often ask me to repeat it. They were expecting a pause in a certain place, and I threw them off by pausing elsewhere!

And, try as I might, I simply can't get myself to place the pause in the "Israeli" place. It's simply not going to happen. I find, with great interest, as well, that as my children learn our phone numbers, I hear them reciting them with the Israeli pause. Amazing.

Just one of the many, many small details that are interesting to note, as an immigrant - and that will, forever, set me apart from native Israelis. As if the accent wasn't a dead give away - you can easily tell that I'm American from hearing me say 7 numbers!

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