It’s strange to visit your own country and feel like a tourist, but that has been my experience on our last family visit to Israel. It suddenly dawned on me that I have spent more of my adult life in California than in Israel, which might explain why California feels more and more like home, while Israel is becoming this exotic place that you visit once a year, armed with a camera and lots of patience – it’s an intense place and Israelis are generous and kind, but quite aggressive.
Being a tourist in your own country is not all bad though – you get to do the really fun stuff, the things that only tourists do and no self-respecting local would dream of doing, such as going to the Old City of Jerusalem, and to the colorful Mahane Yehuda Market, armed with a camera, taking photos while exclaiming “This is so amazing!” while the locals try to take advantage of you and charge inflated prices for their merchandise – until they realize you are fluent in Hebrew.
My husband says jokingly that next year, we will find ourselves riding camels in the Negev – the utmost touristy experience. Who knows, we just might.