Friday December 9th, 2016: My first Shabbat dinner
Today Maddie and I went shopping with Anat. We went to Camberwell but first we stopped at a cafe for a coffee and a light snack. We went to lots of shops. I’m sure you hear that everything is expensive in Australia. I think that has a lot to do with how much is imported and also their taxes. Anything marked for sale has tax already included so when you total up your items that is exactly what it costs. They also don’t tip here which is something I have grown accustomed to rather quickly. They pay waitstaff very well so there is no need to tip them. I’m hopeful I won’t forget about tipping when I go back home!
So back to the pricing. I would agree that it is more expensive than us Americans are probably used to but I like that tax is included and no tipping!
Anat took us to the market she frequents for food during the week. We had to pick up some things for our Shabbat dinner. Friday is the Jewish Sabbath so we would be having a nice meal at a relative of theirs that evening. Coming from a Catholic background, I was very excited to learn about Shabbat and Chanukah. Learning about different cultures and religions is one of my favorite things to do. Diversity makes you a more well rounded human and I think thats why I enjoy traveling so much. It all comes down to human interaction and learning to communicate with people that are different from you. Think about this the next time you judge someone based on how they look. Maybe instead of judging, you asked them about your curiosities. What you could gain from a conversation like that is priceless. (Off my soapbox)
We dressed up a little more than usual for dinner and went to Peter’s cousin Debbie’s home for Shabbat. Her boyfriend said the blessing and gave out pieces of Hallah (amazing bread). We also drank grape juice or wine in what appeared to be little silver shot glasses. The whole dinner, even the wine, was Kosher. There is no taste difference but only a difference in the way that it is prepared. Debbie had made an excellent meal of chicken, potatoes, and salad. Everything was delicious and I definitely want the recipe for her chicken. It was probably the best marinated chicken I’ve ever had. Since it was still Madeline’s birthday week (and Debbie’s was the week prior), we had cake for dessert. It was a lovely dinner and a beautiful tradition.
During dinner, Maddie and I were asked about Trump because we can’t seem to go anywhere without his name being spewed at us Americans. My initial reaction was “Oh God, why does this keep happening?” To which Debbie’s boyfriend said, “Don’t bring him up!” haha, it was hilarious. And I’m now regretting not taking that whole “do not take the lord’s name in vein” thing more seriously. But we all had a nice chuckle at my expense. This seems to be happening more than I’d like, thankfully I know how to laugh at myself.
We got into a discussion about racism (because how does that not come up when you speak of Trump). It was interesting because we discussed how often we use a race or ethnicity to describe someone. I know I have been a victim to this, but is it all that necessary to do? Does it bring value to the conversation or does associating that person with their race or ethnicity perpetuate judgments and opinions that we have already developed or been made aware of? It’s interesting to think about this and I know that I am going to make a better effort to not do this. (apparently, I wasn’t done and this is a more “thought-provoking” post).
I do want to point out how annoyed and frustrated I am that I have to keep discussing the election and how Trump was voted into office. It was something I feared when he won. I can’t and I don’t know how to defend my country that I love so much when it feels like we just majorly failed. I keep trying to find a glimmer of hope or that hope for the best mindset. It remains a daily battle as he continues to staff people that are so close-minded. I feared that he would be at the forefront of conversation topics and he is. Other countries are making fun of the ridiculousness that is the 2016 US Presidential Election. I had hoped that since I left the US I could get away from the media and his name but its around and people, heck, countries are talking.
I have to actively remind myself that I am a glass half full kind of girl and that I just need to take things day by day by day….by day.