A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

yesterday,  Gil came back from school completing almost 2 weeks at Hooker Worthington Elementary School.

As he went to the library at school, he was informed that he can not be given a library card. he first must return back books he took 2 years ago.

we had a good laugh

at 11 years old he found a way to create a time machine. we are going to be very rich (despite one of the worst financial days in the history of financial markets)

Mark Twain’s book, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is one of the first examples of time travel.

but, dear readers, it is time to describe some of the differences in our lives here in new haven, Connecticut, United States of America:

traffic lights

new haven is small. but is has a great cultural life. this is because of the university. otherwise, the town, like many american cities would be dead. it is interesting that inner cities in the USA are dead, but this year 50% of the world population will live in urban areas for the first time.

anyhow, for a small town, this place has a lot of traffic lights. every 100 meters or so, or 2 blocks. this means that when you drive, you wait a lot. i really miss the roundabouts in israel. the wait is also very long. sometimes 2 minutes or more. it may not seem long, but you can pick your nose clean, bite some nails, have a short phone conversation, and there is still time to think. interestingly, often lights on both directions are red. this means pedestrians can cross the intersection diagonally.

some disappointments – ‘fair ani meuchzevet, fair’

is this the united states we grew to love and covet?

people honk. (long traffic lights, did we say). service sometimes is very slow. and unsphisticated. very little ability to improvise. still surprising.

some, perhaps many, places you go to have ugly furniture. carpets that do not match wallpapers. who bought these things? who designed them? it is surprising that once you use a well designed product or enter a room that was nicely planned and laid out, what an effect it has. Consumers of the world unite. do not buy badly designed products

our apartment is very small. 3 kids in one bedroom. no dishwasher, laundry machine or dryer. many people in our apartment complex dry clothing on cloth lines.

but, the apartment complex is a big plus. most entrances are towards a common courtyard or garden and all the kids play together. a bit like kibutz or maoz aviv. priceless. i would love it if we think more about shared resources and less about our own garden. (ish tachat gafno vetenato). i feel people need to have a community. it is lovely to see kids from chaina, israel, ghana, ukraine, indonesia play together in many different languages. by far the largest community is chinese. Gil, who loves our complex calls it ‘chaina town’. most of the chinese students bring grandparents along. so in the evenings you see many fantasically cute chinese babies with their grandparents in the courtyard. entire chinese families doing tai-chi together. a bit like hanoi in the mornings. again, this makes you think about life in a community, tribe, hamula. grandparents and grandchildren together. i think i will re read the communist manifesto.

we are tired

Yuval, Limor and i are very tired. we sleep, but we are tired. it is really different. perhaps some mental reaction to adjustment and the thrill of so many new experiences. our bed in the bedroom is twin size. 140 cm wide. the matress is old and soft. but i do not think this is the reason.

people are smart

the student body here is incredible. 20 year olds that are incredibly knowledgeable and smart. it is great to be surronded by so many smart people, and inspired by their thoughts. they are the elite. this has some negative consequences as well. yesterday, gilbert, mistakingly called the ‘ivy league’ the ‘ivory league’

everyone wears kafkafim – thongs. obama is a clear favorite here.

air is clean

the air here is clean. this means very little dust if any. my skin is shining like a baby. may hair is as soft as it was in the summer of 2002 in the austrian alps. everything is green. trees, trees, parks, grass, open. israel in my daily life is a bit more tight and ‘nalbishech besimlat beton vamelet’ – lots of cement. can not wait for the autumn to arrive. some trees are starting to shed leaves. some leaves are red.

we are blessed.

we can not believe we are here. it was an idea, than a dream, now a reality; access to one of the greatest universities in the world. classes and meetings with worldly leaders. novel ideas come at you at a fantastic rate. like drinking from a firehose.

Life here is great. the unbearable lightness of being. everything is simple. we do not belong. the things that bother us are trivial. we are here for a short time. just one life to live. we are thankful for every moment.


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