Posted by Julia Bendis
Well, as much as I swore to never speak or write about this Bieber kid, here it comes:
I can’t stand the kid! What is the hype all about? Seriously, the kid is not cute, his voice is sub-par at most, and if everyone hasn’t noticed he’s got a Tick. Have you looked at him during the American Music Awards? He can’t go longer than 5 seconds without shaking his hair, what is that about? I really think his parents should concentrate on his mental, and physical well-being, and maybe take him to a Neurologist instead of the AMA’s.
If that was my kid, I’d have him tested for Tourette’s syndrome already… But, us Yiddishe Mothers do tend to over-react a bit…
I really haven’t paid much attention to the kid, until my kindergartner announced that he LIKES Justin Bieber! Since Nikolas doesn’t have much of an opinion of his own, and tends to just repeat whatever other kids are saying, I let it slide. But during the AMA’s he kept saying how badly he wants to see Bieber perform. So, we let him watch it. As my 11-year-old covered his ears, and ran out of the room during the song, I tried hard not to judge and just listen to the song.
Its especially hard NOT to judge when the singer sucks, really badly. Who wants to hear a late bloomer all pitchy, and squeely trying to sing? The poor kid is going through puberty, so his voice kept changing during the whole performance, he couldn’t find a note to save his life. I don’t know who found him, and made him famous but I’d really like to meet that person!
I stand by my original opinion, Bieber sucks.
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December 6, 2010 | 1:05 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
I absolutely love being Jewish, I love everything about it, the food, the culture, the faith itself. However, the terrible thing about being Jewish is that constant feeling that there is something wrong with you. Seriously, worry is our “thing”! That’s just what we do, what has been instilled in us from the beginning of time, STRESS. Its like a right of passage for us. You want to be born a Jew, OK here is a boulder to carry on your shoulders, At All Times. From now on, you worry about everything!
And you have to be a hypochondriac if you are Jewish, that’s a Must. I wake up every morning wondering if I have some horrible, incurable disease, preferably something from the 15th Century! And not only do we love to complain about what hurts, we also try to out-do each other. “Oh, you got a goiter? Well, that’s nothing. Look at this hemorrhoid the size of a tennis ball? Bet you’ve never had that before! Ha!”
We wondered the Desert for 40 years, can you imagine what THAT was like? It wasn’t pretty…
- Its hot
- I’m thirsty
- I’m hungry
- I’m tired
- I want to go home
- I have to pee
- Where are the bathrooms?
- Where is my 5 star hotel?
- What do you mean I have to eat this flat, big cracker with no taste to it, instead of Challah?
- My head hurts
- My butt hurts
- Where the hell is the Ritz?
And it didn’t end there, with all new technology, and the internet apparently we got smarter and sicker at the same time… Oye Vey is all I gotta say!
December 1, 2010 | 1:46 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
When school was ending last year, I started looking for summer camps for my kids. As I started looking, they started whining… What kid complains about going to camp? Not only complains, but begs not to be sent to one?
That’s when I decided that it was time to sit my kids down, and tell them all about the so-called “summer camps” I had to go to! I know that most kids in America love going to summer camp, not only because they are fun, and they get to hang out with their friends, but also because they are 5-Star resorts! At least, compared to the Russian, Socialistic camps we were forced to go to!
Every summer, my brother and I got shipped to my grandparents in Ukraine. At first, we were excited thinking we would spend three months with our wonderful grandparents, just being pampered. Listening to Grandpa’s War stories as Grandma complained: “Stop with the Bobbemyseh (nonsense, stories, wive’s tales-Yiddish)”. Apparently, he liked to embellish his time in the Red Army a bit… But, we quickly learned that going to visit grandparents over the summer, equals spending the whole summer in a Russian-Communist camp.
As soon as we would get off the airplane, they would tell us that Grandma pulled some strings with her “government friends”, and got us into the Best overnight camp ever! Now, when I say overnight, I am not talking seven days away from home. I am talking two weeks, sometimes longer! And when I say Best, I mean they actually had beds instead of just mattresses on the floor.
Just when we thought we were done with one camp, they would give us a break for a week, and put us right back into another camp. My grandma’s words: “Its better than sitting here in the apartment on the fifth floor all summer!”, only in Russian with some Yiddish mixed in for good measure.
Let me tell you about these camps. One in particular stands out the most. It was so far in the woods, somewhere by the Black Sea that we first had to take a two-hour bus ride, then an old party boat to get to it, then walk a couple miles. My grandma went there with us, just to make sure we made it safe, and for moral support. Or as I’d like to call it, “Preparation”.
My brother and I were so scared and upset about going to camp, that the whole time we traveled my Grandma kept promising to stay there with us. Once, we finally made it there, my Grandma vanished in thin air! To this day, I have no idea how or when she left… I learned quickly that my Grandma lies, a lot, especially when trying to get us to do something.
I still remember being surrounded by hundreds of bugs and mosquitoes, and Sadistic camp counselors. I truly believe that when the Communists were building their camps, they set out to look for the most vicious counselors they could find. Some were probably ex-Nazi’s left over from the War, just pretending to be Russians. Here are some of the questions they asked during the interview process:
-Have you ever worked with kids before?
-Do you have children of your own?
-Do you ever want to have children?
-Do you LIKE children?
-Proceed to the next station for your badge.
I kid you not when I say that these people would walk around with sticks in their hands during nap time, and threaten to glue our mouths shut if we didn’t go to sleep. It didn’t matter that some of us were older than 5 and didn’t NEED to take naps, or the fact that we were all sleeping in the same room, boys and girls! At one point, I saw one of the counselors get the glue, just for better effect!
And talk about bathrooms… There were none! We had to use the forest as our own, personal bathroom! I don’t even remember having showers there.
There were no games, no fun. At least, I don’t remember having any. Forget about scavenger hunts, and roasting marshmallows over fire. We got rations of food and an hour of playground time. The rest of the time, I have no idea what we did. Probably get brainwashed, and learn about Lenin and Stalin, and the foundation of Socialism.
The camps here in the U.S. are truly resorts compared to the ones we had in Russia. No kid should ever complain about being sent to camp!
November 30, 2010 | 6:09 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
I was born in Ukraine, in the former USSR, and grew up in Riga, Latvia which is on the Baltic Sea. My family and I immigrated to the United States in 1989, right before the fall of Communism. I believe that many Russian immigrants have used humor as a way to cope with the conditions of life in the former Soviet Union. I am definitely one of them. Have you ever seen photographs of Russians during Communism? Or better yet Russian Jews? Nobody smiled in pictures, ever. It wasn’t allowed. If you smiled, that meant that you were happy about something, and THAT meant that you had something that others didn’t. That was definitely not allowed in Socialism, and would be reported to the proper officials! Everyone was supposed to be equal, and have the same amount of everything from money to food to shelter. We all know how untrue that was, and how well that turned out in the end…
But when you were behind closed doors, closed windows and curtains you felt the need to enjoy yourself, laugh and make fun of the government. Of course it had to be done very quietly, and only behind blaring Communist music. But it was a necessity due to such terrible conditions as lack of food, money, clothing and everything else that people need and deserve.
I started writing in high school, not only as comedy relief for myself to get through school, but also as a way to deal with being the new kid, being the only Russian, Jewish kid in the entire school, and city. I believe there was only a handful of Russian/Jewish families living in Orange County at that time.
Most kids didn’t even know how to talk to me, or my younger brother. We didn’t speak a word of English, we didn’t understand a word of English, we looked funny, and I am pretty sure smelled funny since bathing is optional in Europe, and typically a once a week kind of deal. It took us a few months to figure out that we needed to take more showers, wear the same outfit only once, and invest in anti-perspirants. Once we got that down, my brother and I had a daunting task of trying to make friends which was a daily battle. How do you make friends when all you know how to say is: “Hello, my name is Julia.” And my parents had a difficult task looking for work. Not many places wanted to hire a Mechanical Engineer that used such proper English that no American could ever understand him. That was the way English was taught in Russia, the British-English. He uses such words as: “Pipeline, Propulsion, and Pressure Transient Analysis”, all in the same sentence…
And my Mom the Microbiologist, well… I got a whole page devoted just to her, and will be posted soon. As an example, she once wrote a note to the Lab Assistant that started like this: “Dear Lab Ass…” Apparently, she was in a rush and decided to abbreviate. When the Supervisor came to ask her why she is so angry and what the problem is with the Lab Assistant, she still had no idea what they were talking about.
I love my parents, and would never have gotten the opportunity to write for the Jewish Journal if they hadn’t moved us to the U.S. for a better life! But, unfortunately for them, much of my material is based on their imperfect English. Among other things, I write about family, kids, the funny and inappropriate things they say, being Jewish, being a Russian Jew, living in California, current events, politics, celebrities and how little their lives matter to the rest of us, and much, much more…
I still reside in Orange County along with my husband Scott, sons Tyler and Nikolas and a dog named Sadie.