Thursday, August 1, 2013

Trying to see the world through the eyes of the kids

So all three kids are enrolled in camp and all three wonder "when can we go back to Sweden, please?". Though when I came to pick Vanja (our 11-year old) up the other day, she said could I please come back a bit later. My heart soared. SOARED.

And Joel said he'd liked to bring a Swedish book to camp because it was so much fun when the other kids tried to read in Swedish and also they were so impressed that he could be fluent in such a strange language, a language they had barely heard of, such a foreign sounding tongue that one of the campers said it was most likely "a secret language".

Niki throws tantrums every day and says she misses her grandparents and her friends so much. But she also says she know knows how to say horse in English which is no wonder since she watches My Little Pony whenever she can.

I wonder what this whole experience is like to the kids. They seem to be doing OK so far and I'm so happy the have each other. But at the same time, so much is different here and they're so new to being outsiders. Still, being an outsider, a newbie, a foreigner is something many of us have to experience and it's not all bad. It's humbling.

One thing is very different here from Stockholm. In Stockholm, you'd rarely talk to strangers, unless you're a bit crazy or want to be known as an extreme extrovert. Sad but true. Here, people seem to talk to each other all the time. A nice lady struck up a conversation with me at the bus stop the other day. She was a retired school teacher who'd lived on our block for more than 30 years. The neighborhood has changed SO MUCH she said, it used to be gangster country with shootings, machetes, killings, dead bodies thrown into the Hudson. That's gone now, replaced by hipsters staying in Air BnB apartments. "How the hipsters make a living I don't know, they all seem to just saunter along the streets, sipping on their coffees. When I was their age, I worked my butt off".

"How did it all change?", I wondered.

"The Hasids. They bought up so many of the properties around here, it cleaned up the neighborhood. They run everything. Everything. See that building? They own it. That one too, and that one. They don't live here, but they own.. a lot.".

I don't know if that's all true but could be. So interesting. Then went to the gym for my complimentary PT session with a Canadian triathlete. She was so great. Afterwards went for a run on a treadmill right behind two Hasidic men who worked out with their yarmulkes in place and now I wonder if a Hasidic group owns the gym too?

If you have any tips on good books or docus on the Hasidic community let me know. In the meantime will watch this to learn more.