Culture Clashes – War vs. Winter
We develop weird mentalities depending on where we live.
During the last week Israel experienced a storm, and I will agree it was quite windy (in fact some people almost blew away). Parts of Israel has received snow, and other parts, such as Tel Aviv, has had a lot of rain. It has also been pretty cold; Tel Aviv actually had only 4 degrees Celsius the other day!
Now, what does this paragraph you just read remind you of? For a Swedish person, such as myself (back before I moved to Israel and could still consider myself “partly Viking”), I would say it sounds like the kind of conversations we have on a daily basis in Sweden – we talk about the weather. The weather in Sweden is always changing, never predictable, and so there is always something to say about it; with winter temperatures ranging between +10 and -30 or more degrees, and summer temperatures anywhere between +10 and +35 degrees, you learn to adapt to whatever weather comes your way. However, Swedish weather will hardly make very big headlines in the news, since it’s just weather in the end of the day.
But to an Israeli person (myself included after living here now 5 years), the above paragraph sounds like headlines, like news! There are live broadcasting about the snowfall and the rain, people take videos of the wind, they dress up as eskimos and claim that 10 degrees is the coldest temperature possible! Roads shut down, and people stay home from school and work because it’s not possible to go outside in such weather.
Here is where the Israeli mentality became weird in my eyes, I will tell you why. After living here for over 5 years I have had the chance to experience quite a lot of this special country and its people, and the thing that strikes me in days like these (and this is foremost in regards to the residents of Tel Aviv) is that during war, when there are sirens blaring and rockets falling, people in Tel Aviv continue to sit in cafés and bars, and talk about everyday things, they continue to show up for work, and life goes on. But when there is wind and rain, not to mention snow, it’s like everything shuts down, nobody knows what to do, and people no longer go outside but seek shelter in their homes.
For me, as a Swedish person, this is extremely weird behaviour for me to witness, and it’s very hard to understand all the fuss about the weather, even though I will admit that I actually sometimes suffer more from +10 degrees in Tel Aviv than I do from -20 in Sweden; this country is just not built for winter.
On the other side, Swedish mentality is no less weird than the Israeli. After six months of dark and cold winter in Sweden, all we need is a slightly sunny first day of spring, and just above 10 degrees, to justify taking off our shirts and bring out our BBQ’s, maybe even go tanning on the beach.
I guess we are all weird in our own ways.