Things Are Different Here

Entering , Missions , Palestine Sep 20, 2016 8 Comments

By Ben Gray and Everett Gray

It is probably one of the most obvious things in the world, but there are lots of things that are very different in Jerusalem than in Atlanta. Now that we’ve hit our one-month anniversary in our new home, we thought we’d share some of the big differences we’ve found in our everyday life.


  • Everyone drives aggressively, but nobody is angry (and it’s kinda fun!)
  • When the light turns yellow, you hit the brakes because…
  • You hit the gas BEFORE the light turns green
  • Don’t hesitate to step into a crosswalk because the cars—no matter how fast they’re going—will stop
  • Roads are for walking and sidewalks are for parking
  • If your parking meter runs out you will get a ticket, but if you park on the sidewalk where there is no meter you won’t
  • Nothing happens fast (it took two days to get the power turned on at our apartment)
  • A decent hamburger costs the same as a month of cell service with unlimited talk, text and 10GB data (about $12-$15)
  • It’s hard to find a six-pack of beer because a single bottle of (mediocre) beer costs $3.50!
  • We only drive 10 miles/week, but we walk 40+ miles/week
  • We shop for groceries every day and only buy what we can carry
  • People sound mean, but are actually very hospitable (kind of like New Yorkers)
  • Nobody has sagging pants
  • It hasn’t rained (even a drop) since we arrived, and nobody has mentioned the word drought
  • It’s hot during the day, but it’s not too bad in the shade and it’s cool every night
  • We don’t have air conditioning, and we don’t miss it
  • Every market is a farmer’s market
  • Everyone gets charged a different price and the more you shop at a store, the cheaper the prices become (and there are no price tags)
  • All prices are negotiable. We bought two rugs that started at $1,600… we paid $300 and I think we were still overcharged
  • Cats are EVERYWHERE
  • There are very few dogs, but they are all well behaved and rarely on a leash
  • Some things are impossible to find. A replacement pull chain for our ceiling fan? Not a chance!
  • There are no blaring televisions. There are none in the doctor’s office, bars, restaurants, or neighbors’ apartments



  1. Clarissa

    This is funny. Israel was featured on Andrew Zimmer Travel food show so I have an idea of what the markets and shop are like. What a experience!

    • adrainne

      That is a great episode! The markets are hectic, but a place that holds a variety of good food, if you know what to do with it!

  2. Jim Bickelhaupt

    Seems like y’all are settling right in! And I dig almost all those “differences” although a few likely frustrating. 🙂

    • adrainne

      Thanks Jim. We dig ’em too! Some are becoming less frustrating and just the way we live now.

  3. Jeanette

    No sagging pants – I can’t imagine!

    • adrainne

      Nope! Not one pair!

  4. Susan Bryant

    This gives a lot of insight into your new lifestyle, which of course we’ve been wondering about. We’re loving the FB pics of Ben’s runs through history! Is there a way to sign up to get a notification when you post a new blog?

    • adrainne

      Susan, I’m glad you’ve found your way to the blog. It’s the best place (plus the FB pics on Ben’s page) to get an idea of life here. Of course the best way is always face-to-face, but until we have that opportunity again please do keep up at The GrayTones. I’m pretty sure that there is a popup option to receive updates when I post. I’ll check it and follow up with you.

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