Monday, December 06, 2010

Wisconsin in December

My 3rd daughter, whom I often call "the complainer" has finally had it with us, with her boyfriendless life, with the courses she was taking, with her job, and her nasty boss and hightailed it to Madison, Wisconsin.

She decided she needed a change of scenery, and wanted to make some "easy" money selling Dead Sea products at one of the US malls, like many Israelis do, as a sort of rite-of-passage after army service, but unlike so many others, she is an American citizen and so these companies were competing for her to work for them. 

When we first heard that she was contemplating this, Hubby was scared  - "she doesn't know anything about life!  She'll get lost in the US!  They'll kidnap her...they'll ...."  I would always shush him in his daily tirades.  I tried to explain that I travelled around alone when I was 17, but that didn't faze him.  He was like "But she can't even read English!".  Not that well, it's true.  And she pronounces "onions" - ognions.  But, whatever.  I had faith that she'll get by and that God will watch over her where we can't.

We thought together (my daughter and I) about possible places - options were: Dallas (great weather, cowboys, oil men), San Francisco (I have lots of friends there - but she was like 'I don't want to be with your friends' as if  they were pariahs) and Madison, Wisconsin.  She had an old friend working the carts in the malls in Madison and decided to go there.  We looked at Google Earth together to see where she would be living.  The street was in a new neighborhood and not far from the mall. 

We applied for her to get an American passport, the folks there arranged for her flight (they paid), and I took her out for dinner one Thursday about three weeks ago at a nice restaurant in Jerusalem.

She told me she'd have to change airports in New York - from Kennedy to LaGuardia.  I told her we're keeping this info from dad, because he will get hysterical at the thought of her maneuvering around New York by herself.  On the way back from dinner, she gets a call from overseas.  She didn't read her ticket correctly.  Her flight was for the night before and she missed it.  A punishment for not reading English well enough. She seemed devastated.  She had already packed and Hubby had given her a $ gift.  The overseas contacts worked frantically to get her on the next flight that evening/morning and because she's only one person travelling, it was easy to find her a flight.

I was nervous the entire time she was on her 23-hour travels because she didn't have a way to get in touch.  No phone, no computer.  Her US contacts called me once she got to New York and then she woke me up at 4:30 am on Saturday morning to tell me she was finally in Madison. 

She went out to a club on Saturday night, R&B music; the place was half African-American, half white.  I smiled a smile she couldn't see.  Glad to see she's going to mixed places.  I urged her to be careful how she behaves - that she represents not only Jews but Israelis.  I want people to have a good image of both.  Don't ask for bargains, don't be rude, don't push and shove.  She herself was in culture shock after her evening out at the club.  Nobody yelled, pushed and shoved to get in.  Everyone was courteous.  In the end I was glad she chose this small mid-Western college town.  I think it was just what she needed to unwind, though she's working 12 hour days.  Plus she thinks American guys are "hot".  This trip also afforded her an opportunity to get close to her grandmother, who lives in Canada, with whom she hadn't been much in touch, and who she was now calling a couple of times a week.  She was now yearning for some family who lives relatively close by.

She called me and told me about that awfully non-kosher restaurant she went to that served rabbit and frog's legs.  She just had a steak in that non-kosher place, and told the waitress to make sure the salad didn't have any cheese on it.  That's her level of kosher.

It's Chanukah now and it's snowing there.  A white Chanukah.  She's thrilled with snow up to her ankles, and loves the Christmas lights now showing up all over the place.  And the Carols in the mall haven't driven her up the wall yet.

1 comment:

She said...

good luck to your daughter...i just found your blog, and i think i will continue reading as i plan to attend hebrew univ. in a year for my second masters! perhaps then you can provide me with restaurant/shopping/apartment recommendations!