Israel’s Independence Day is fast approaching on April 15, and over here at ISRAEL21c we are more than ready for a proper celebration – one that includes a barbecue with people we have not seen for the past year.

And yet, since health precautions are still of the utmost importance, we’re taking a moment to think of all the things we’d like to become independent of by this time next year. Here’s hoping we’ll be double-kissing strangers at a full-blown party by then.

  1. They are itchy, make our breath stink and detract from our outfits

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We are, of course, absolute sticklers when it comes to donning our facemasks, but we can’t honestly say that we’ve gotten used to them. Not only are they annoyingly itchy and scratchy, but they get tangled up in our hair, glasses, nostrils and whatnot.

Even worse, they often make us wonder whether we’ve contracted halitosis. Not to mention how badly they detract from outfits. No matter how nice your earrings are, they’re very difficult to see beyond that piece of cloth.

  1. Hand sanitizer. And our painfully dry and cracked hands

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Winters are never kind to the skin of our hands, but the combination of cold weather and endless applications of hand sanitizer has been lethal. Sore, dry and cracked hands have unfortunately become de rigueur, no matter how much cream we apply, and we honestly can’t wait to ditch those annoying and hospital-smelling bottles of sanitizer.

  1. Thinking twice about hugging our grandparents. This one really sucks

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One of the worst things about the coronavirus crisis has been the social distancing. Even when we were able to pop around to our grandparents, hugs and kisses were out of the question. Now, more and more people are giving themselves some leeway when it comes to embraces, but we’d really like to stop worrying that we’re killing off our nearest and dearest.

  1. Feeling like a leper every time we sniffle. Or, God forbid, sneeze

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Ever since this global pandemic became such a prominent part of our daily lives, innocent little sniffles have become full-on causes for concern. Not for you, but for the unlucky people in your vicinity. The day that we’ll be able to stop declaring “It’s only allergies!” after every grab for a tissue will be a great one.

  1. Pretending our stained sweatpants are legitimate outerwear

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This year, a quick grocery shop was not something that we changed out of our pajamas for. Kidding ourselves that no one will notice and that the stain from last night’s takeaway is nothing to fuss over, we confidently headed out wearing clothes that in regular times would never see the light. We thoroughly hope that this less than flattering attire will make its way back to its natural place at the very back of our closets.

  1. Our lack of a social life

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Sure, our household members are great. But to be honest, it would be kind of nice to see a fresh face once in while. At a restaurant. Or a show. Or, heaven forbid, a real sweaty party. Of course, once that actually happens we’ll be secretly wishing we could spend all our evenings on the couch. But it’s nice to have options.

  1. The suspicion that our kids are petri dishes in disguise

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Even at the best of times, children of preschool age are somewhat of a health hazard. But if you’ve been lucky enough to actually have your kid attend nursery or school this year, the thought of them transporting home whatever they might have caught there has been particularly alarming.

We look forward to viewing a runny nose as just gross, as opposed to possible hospitalization, and equally so to being safe in the knowledge that we will never have to undergo the torture that is home schooling again.

  1. Trying to home school

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And speaking of homeschooling, we don’t want a little thing like a global pandemic to get in the way of our children’s education, but we also really can’t let it get in the way of our sanity.

For the past year, parents across the globe have had to deal with their errant kids, poor Wi-Fi and most teachers’ absolute lack of computer skills, all while pretending to care that math is actually important and worth getting out of bed for.

We cannot wait to have our children back in their classrooms, far, far away from us and the broadband connection that they’ve been hogging. And truthfully, it’s a full-time job disciplining ourselves to work from home, let alone our offspring.

  1. Takeout

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When the pandemic first broke out, the idea that having takeout six nights in a row is legitimate was absolutely magnificent. But fast forward a year or so, and we ended up missing the too-loud, too-dimly lit and too-expensive experience otherwise known as dining in a restaurant in Israel. Snooty waiters,rickety tables and less than sparkling toilets, we’re coming for you.And we promise to remain the diners from hell that we’ve always been.

  1. Pretending we understand what mRNA really means

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This year has been a truly difficult one for those of us who did not earn their PhD in the field of cell biology. Impossible terms such as mRNA, epidemiology, cytokine storms and droplet nuclei were all expected to roll off our tongue with ease within mere moments of them appearing in the headlines. Really, it’s been a pain keeping up. Can we please go back to discussing where to get the best coffee in Tel Aviv? (Answer: almost anywhere you go. The coffee in Israel is perfect.)

  1. Other people using the term mRNA as if they know what it means

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This one is yours truly’s pet peeve. For over a year, people generally more familiar with the details of things such as “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” have taken to giving their lengthy, unsolicited and most definitely not science-based opinion on everything from how to correctly do lockdown to the nuanced implications of getting your vaccine. Sweetheart, we read the same headlines as you did. But we actually scrolled all the way down to the bottom.