June 11 was our first day of class in Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC).
Before class started, we were required to read the book StarUp Nation by Dan Señor and Saul Singer. In the book, it mentions that Israelis have a unique spirit of chutzpah. As Señor and Singer interpret it, it means “gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible “guts,” presumption plus arrogance such as no other word and no other language can do justice to (p.30).”
Israelis just say whatever they are thinking, blunt and simple. The drivers won’t stop for you at a small cross-walk, and they will honk at you. The Israeli speakers at our programs don’t introduce themselves by their title but what they do for their organization. Everything is straight and simple, vey whatever. As long as it works, why waste energy making it more complicated. I sort of got a gist of it just on this day.
Here are some pictures of the modern, open, and beautiful campus of IDC. Students dress in very casual attire and the vibe is very laid-back.
It is so laid-back that they have a bar on campus. Like”Yeah we drink on campus. Whatever.”
Did I mention it is also not a smoke-free campus. Smoking students just sit outside of the building and grab a smoke with their friends. “Whatever we want to do.”
This is a smoothie bar on campus.
It says “orangish.” Not orange, not strawberry, but orangish. You know like “well you know what it taste like, like orangish. Whatever. ”
I got a Lemon Mint at the Aroma café and apparently Aroma for them is like Starbucks for us. Lemon Mint also must be a very traditional choice because I saw this drink in many other places. It’s very refreshing and delicious.
I sat at the Aroma café after purchasing this drink for around three or more hours because I need to use their wifi. Around 7:30 a man was cleaning the place and organizing chair, so I turned around and asked him if they are closing, thinking maybe it’s time for me to leave. But the man just waved his arm, shrugged, and said “No, no. No problem.” They didn’t really care if I was just there for almost 4 hours with the purchase of one drink. Like “You leave me alone, I leave you alone. Whatever.” Well, it worked for me.
Some might think this Chutzpah culture is a bit rude, inconsiderate, or even uncivilized. But I think this style of living has made something beautiful (other than contributing to making Israel a StartUp Nation).
On my way back from the café by the beach, the sun was setting and it was getting dark outside. As I was walking my loop earring got caught with my ring and got pulled out. I had to stop and use my cellphone flashlight to look for it in the sand. At this time, a man, looking around 50 years old, pushing a little supermarket cart, walked by me. He could be homeless but I didn’t get a good look at what was in his cart. He stopped and said something in Hebrew. I couldn’t understand so I gave him a confused look and said “huh?” He looked at me, pointed at the sand, and said “what?” with a heavy accent. “Oh!” I turned my flashlight toward my other earring and said “My earring.” He then just bent down and started looking everywhere around with me.
My earring finally appeared as it reflected light from my cellphone. The man saw it first and yelled “Ah! Bling bling!’ I picked it up and said thank you to him in Hebrew and continued my way.
When combined with my experience being lost in the city for 2 hours as well as that worker’s reaction at Aroma Café, I feel like Israelis set their eyes and hands on things that matter. They are rough around the edges and maybe not good at saying the sweetest things, but they are always willing to help. There is hope for return when they lend a generous hand to help and offer, it’s like “whatever. Doesn’t really matter.” There is no superficial nicety. They keep the things the way they are. It is like they are alway following their hearts and always saying “you know, just whatever.” It is this genuineness that makes Tel Aviv kind of beautiful.