It’s an Israeli thing to arrive late and behave like you are not late. You know you have officially become a local when someone tells you to arrive at 12:00 and any time before 1:00 is still on time.
Dogs are everywhere in Tel Aviv, and they are basically treated like people. They attend coffee shops, shopping trips to the mall, and will definitely sit in a seat you would like as well. Once you look at a seat and realize the dog was there first and you must find a new one, you know you have been in Tel Aviv too long.
At first, seeing a young woman or teenage boy walking down the street carrying a large M16 seems overwhelming and scary. But soon it becomes an everyday sight, and you don’t even notice the large weapons around the locals’ bodies.
Just like an Israeli, soon after living in this vibrant city, you must learn how to ask for what you want. If that means cutting in front of everyone in the line to ask if the ice cream place has lotus flavor, you’ve got to do it. Not worth waiting in line to find out.
When it’s winter and you can’t even imagine what warmth feels like, and you bundle under a winter jacket, hat and gloves, but it’s still 60 degrees outside, you know you are a tropical lover. When you dress like a local, you have start to become one.
When you live in Tel Aviv and try to get somewhere on the weekend or are trying to head back to your Tel Aviv home, you really must study the bus schedule. If you happen to miss the bus by just a few minutes, you have to accept it. Sometimes buses are early, and sometimes they won’t let you on even if you run. If you miss it, you’ve missed it.
Brunch is an essential for the people living in a city like Tel Aviv. Unlike most cities, where it is a weekend special, you know you’re living like a local when you brunch during the week, before work, or simply any time at all.
Cooking is fun and delicious, but so is having ten different food options on one block open early in the morning and still serving late at night. Café-hopping is definitely a thing in Tel Aviv, and if you become a regular at many different Tel Aviv cafés, you know you have truly made the cut.
Sometimes the work week is too crazy, and the weekends are too fun, but you still want to fit in that daily workout. Have no fear, Tel Aviv’s gyms are open all night, and night time is the perfect time for a workout in this nonstop city.
Maybe before you move or travel to Tel Aviv, you think hummus is just a snack, but you know you’ve changed when you’re eating hummus for meals. When hummus becomes your breakfast, you know it’s gone too far. But no one is judging you because you can never have too much hummus.
You see all these awe-inspiring pictures of people looking super cool striking a yoga pose on a paddle board. It’s all over the internet and your Instagram feed. But once you try it, you will understand why. You just can’t get enough. It’s a workout, a fun outdoor activity and a picture-perfect moment all at once.
The first time you try to park in Tel Aviv, you might never want to drive again. Spots are limited, and streets are narrow. But soon it becomes second nature to drive around the block or even the neighborhood for 45 minutes looking for the perfect spot where you won’t get towed, hit or have to walk too far.
Combina is the Hebrew word for the Israeli way of using your ‘contacts’ in the system to your own advantage in creative and various ways. It’s quite an accomplishment when ‘combina-ing’ becomes a part of your daily routine.
At first, you will not believe the crazy things drivers will honk at. You won’t believe they are honking at a pedestrian with a walk sign or a biker who is, in fact, in their bike lane. But after a while the honking puts you to sleep at night, you don’t even notice – it’s background noise.
You officially know you have lived too long in this amazing, fulfilling and strong city when you honestly never want to leave it.