Dear Mom,

Thanks for washing and folding my loads and loads of very dirty clothes. I don’t think I’ve had this many pairs of underwear to choose from since high school.

Your perceptions of me “seamlessly falling back into my routines” (among other things) make me wonder if we live on the same planet. During the few days I was home after returning from Israel, I was completely disoriented by the abundance of space, confused by the silence outside and delirious from sleep-deprivation. I don’t even remember much of what I did during the week that I was home.

Even now, after being back for three weeks, I’m confused. Why is America’s cottage cheese so slimy? Why do people talk so quietly? Why are the streets busy seven days a week? Why is no one blowing smoke in my face or cursing at me because of how I’m dressed or asking me what I’m doing or pushing me out of the way or trying to set me up with their neighbor’s son’s brother? Why are bus drivers nice to me? Does it mean that I have to be nice back?

It’s too soon to feel comfortable here. Hopefully, by the time you visit me in my new home, I’ll have established my groove. You’ll be here just in time for Rosh Hashanah. I can’t wait to take you to my favorite new grocery store (finding it was step 1 in getting oriented) and show you my new kitchen while preparing to celebrate the New Year together.