Thank god for the internet. I say this a lot in my day to day life, like when I need to find my way around London and can pull out my smartphone to find maps, or when I Skype with friends back home, or when I need to watch all my favorite American TV shows that I'm missing.
But today I am thankful for the part of the internet that lets me buy stuff. Because as much as I try to buy presents for people while I travel, I am actually quite bad at it.
It's not that I'm not thoughtful. I think about things to get my parents and siblings. It's just that I have a very bad habit of assuming I will see something better before I leave. Then, when I do mean to buy people things, I do it at the very last minute, get frustrated at not being able to find anything, and give up/ buy something horrible. ("Here I got you a DVD of your favorite American TV show….from a Colombian street vendor!")
That's pretty much what happened to me during my last trip to Israel. I saw so many things to get my sister, but I put it off and put it off, and on the last day, before heading to the airport. I frantically raced through a Tel Aviv market, not finding anything. Finally, I gave up, feeling guilty about being a bad brother.
But today I bought this on-line: http://www.alefbet.com/product433.html
It's a two tone Jewish star necklace, and it looks like something my sister would love to wear on one of her J-dates. I think she'll like it. And am I going to tell her I got it in Israel and have been waiting to give it to her? No, I wouldn't lie to her. But I also am not going to tell her I didn't get it in Israel. I might answer her ambiguously if she asks me about where I got it, and if she wants to assume I got it in Israel, then that's not my fault.
I am going back to Israel in February, and this time I'm going to take some time to buy real gifts. If I get you something, it will definitely be from there. Or the internet. But I'll buy it from an Israeli IP address.