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Sunday night, our family welcomed an Israeli house-guest into our home. Dikla is a shelicha (ambassador) at the JCC’s summer camp, bringing Israeli culture to campers throughout the summer. The program relies on the support of local Jewish families to work, and Matt and I (even though we’re only half Jewish) agreed to participate.

I think when I agreed I thought that Simon would love having a special guest and that I would enjoy introducing our guest to aspects of American culture. Simon has indeed loved having Dikla around, as I have enjoyed being introduced to certain aspects of American culture.

No, that’s not a typo. In some respects, Dikla is a better—or at least more typical—American than I am. For starters, she knows more about American pop culture than I do. Our first night together, the topic turned to famous Jewish celebrities featured in a BuzzFeed slide show. I knew 20% tops of the people featured. Dikla knew them all.

Then she asked for a recommendation for where to get her acrylic nails filled. I had no idea! I get a pedicure every now and again, but I don’t even know the process for acrylic nails.

Then she mentioned that she likes to drink coffee in the morning. Out I went to buy a pound of coffee. Turns out she likes coffee blended with milk, sugar, and ice and was much happier—much, much happier—with Matt’s frappuccino, something that I, as a non-sweetened tea drinker, have never understood, much less embraced.

Speaking of food, our first night together I had pilates and Matt and Simon took Dikla out to Mark’s, a local barbecue and burger joint. Before they left, I mentioned that she might enjoy trying American barbecue and that, if she didn’t, their salmon is good. No worries, Dikla ordered a bacon cheeseburger, an item I have never eaten in my entire life. Really! Being kosher kept me from it for the first 18 years or so, and being vegetarian (or pescatarian, or vegan, depending on the era) kept me from it for next 25.

The realization that her visit was turning all my expectations on its head reached its zenith at a McDonald’s drive through window. Dikla had a super long day on Thursday, and when I picked her up from camp she was desperate for a mocha something or other from McDonald’s. “Could we go through their drive through?” she asked.

Well, we could, but only if I could figure it out! I haven’t been to a McDonald’s since the summer of 1995, and even then it wasn’t my choice. I haven’t been through a dive-through since forever. As in ever. As in, not once, at McDonald’s or at any other restaurant. This was probably pretty obvious when I pulled up to the speaker, talked before I was prompted, and didn’t know to pull up to a third window after paying at the second.

A drive through has three steps? Who knew? Thankfully, Dikla was there to help. I can’t wait to see what part of my own culture she’ll introduce me to next!


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