I have been living in Israel for my entire adult life, so of course it is normal (to me). Yet really when we first came, there were major differences from when I lived in USA. Deodorant was expensive, as well as diapers, cars, stereos, and forget about having marshmallows, or #2 pencils. And if we felt deprived; talking to the older olim (immigrants) they would tell us how they didn’t have more things.
The first time I went to visit family in USA I couldn’t get over the toilet paper row in the grocery store. How many types of toilet paper do you need? And at that time toilet paper was compared to sand paper and the napkins were like wax paper but thinner.
But now, seriously there is very little I can think that is missing that I could get in America. The standard of living is high, medicine is better than America and most places, education is cheaper and good, my daughters get money from the government when they give birth (no need to take out loans.) And then they are paid 16 weeks of PAID maternity leave. When I leave my job I get a month of every year I worked as pension above the pension that every job has to match funds with their employer.
The bus service is cheap and can get you anywhere and everywhere in the country. There are so many users and competition for cellphones (Israel is one of the highest users) there is always a deal that you can get. Grocery stores offer to take your groceries all the way home to you regardless which floor you live in. Gas is more expensive – but there is hope with the new gas line found in Israel’s waterway it will come down. Startups are all around inventing improving and providing jobs.
Beyond all the physical – Israel is the only Jewish country in the world. The only place that has to take me. The only place I want to live. Is it normal? No, there is no place in the world like Israel. No place in the world where the holiness is easily detected in the air.
Israel is an exciting place to live. There is so much happening. The combination of the ancient and holy and new and invigorating. In spite of the terror (which is truly everywhere in the world), there is no other place I would chose to live, bring up my children or watch my grandchildren grow.