These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

My Guys

Posted on December 19, 2011 by Lauren Schuchart

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From my blog:

In Jerusalem, everyone has a *guy:

“You want to buy fish? Oh you HAVE to go see my guy in the shuk.”
“My cheese guy is the BEST. He let’s you try whatever you want.”
“Time for a haircut? You have to go to my guy on Emek!”

The fun, and perhaps frustration, of living in a new city is trying to find your “guys.”

I’ve been living here for close to four months, and I’ve just started to feel settled. I’m beginning to find the products and stores that I like. But…this came with a lot of trial and error. I bought quite a few things I didn’t need. I’ve purchased zucchinis in place of cucumbers, or “lite” bread instead of the real bread. I’ve mistaken butter for cheese, and lord only knows what kind of shampoo I’m using.

It took me a while to figure out how to order my coffee, or how to ask, “does this have meat in it?” One time, I spent $20 for a pineapple. My roommates have witnessed my raging, on several occasions, about the price of food in Israel.

One might ask, “Lauren, aren’t most things in English? Don’t most people speak English? Surely, it can’t be that hard.”

To which I’d respond, “First of all, you’re a jerk. Who asks that? Secondly, you’re right, but sometimes it’s more fun to try and do things on your own, and make mistakes.”

But now, I’m finally starting to find my place and my routine. I have my “guys.”

I have my fruit and vegetable place, where I go every Friday morning, and they greet me with a hearty “boker tov!” (good morning!). 

I have my bread place, where they give me free samples of cheese. I find great satisfaction that I know how to ask them in Hebrew to slice my bread. Small victories, ya know?

I got my tofu guy, who wishes me a “Shabbat shalom!” every week, my shakshuka guy who always gives me an extra egg, and my falafel guy, who isn’t very nice, but does a great job proportioning the ingredients in the pita (very important).

Living in a new place can be challenging. These people might not know it, but they are my guys, and they’ve made Jerusalem feel a bit more like home.

*I’m using “guy” to mean both males and females. Easy, hippies.