Roommates with strange habits

Journalism student Lien chose an unusual Erasmus destination: Israel. Read along in her diary and get to know the country from a completely different point of view.


"Today no pieces about war situations or small creepy critters. Today I want to tell you about my roommates. When you go to our school in Israel, you do not choose with whom you will live. You will be allocated an apartment based on your culinary preference. Kosher or not kosher? Pork or no pork? And do you dare to eat a lasagne with meat and cheese? That is a delicate matter for Jewish believers who want to behave. I indicated non-kosher, but still ended up in a kosher apartment with three Jewish roommates. Four months have passed and in the meantime the desire for real lasagne or spaghetti with cheese is great. But we hold on. Respect for the faith of another is taught here at a rapid pace (as long as you don't try to eat Halal).

My three roommates each have their own cures. The first comes from America and sometimes seems a bit run out of Woodstock. Blonde curly hair, brightly coloured pants and a strong preference for everything that looks green on your plate. At nineteen, Jillian is the youngest of our entire exchange group. Her age also means that she is not yet allowed to drink in America, a loss that she has made up for in Israel. She's the one you can go to for a long chat late at night, even when the lights are out in all the other rooms.

My second roommate comes from Israel and guides us day and night in the many strange traditions that this country has. She explains to us why we don't eat pasta for a week on Passover and when the buses stop running. On Friday evenings she is the one who lights the Shabbat candles and dims the lights so that the atmosphere becomes indescribable.

I'm not exactly sure how many words to spend on my latest roommate. It is always impossible to estimate her mood. Will she react like a cute kitten or like a piece of dynamite? Since the first day we christened her 'the jellyfish', before we even knew her name. Living with her is like swimming in the sea with jellyfish. You never know when to expect a sting.

Living with roommates is cheaper, but four unknown girls together give fireworks. Funny when your roommates try to sneak into the house in the morning, but have forgotten their key. Sometimes it can be embarrassing if you come home late yourself and keep ringing the bell for so long that the neighbours across the street open the door. There is never a moment when it gets really boring. Maybe that's why they call your college days the best of your life?"


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