This has not been an easy transition back to life in Israel. In fact, it has been filled with many tribulations and tears. My initial return wasn’t a huge shock to my system. I was able to spend a few weeks at Jen’s apartment while she was in the States for a few weeks, I had an easy enough time getting back into work, I received word that I was accepted to my PhD program, and life was looking pretty normal, even exciting for the most part. Then Jen returned and it was time for Stephane and me to move to our new apartment in the center of town… Or so I thought.
The move itself was filled with plenty of problems itself. Stephane had a last minute family obligation so we weren’t even able to start moving our things until about 11:30 at night, which did not make me the happiest person in the world seeing as I had work the next morning at 9:00am. We packed our suitcases in the car (luckily I didn’t have too much to move), and headed towards our new place. When we arrived my first instinct was to cry… And that is exactly what I did. This wasn’t in the center of the city… This was a run down place in South Tel Aviv, in an area I have passionately avoided the entire 4 and a half years I have lived in this city. I couldn’t believe Stephane would pick this place to live, but to be fair he is a man with different standards of living, and entrusting him to secure a place without me being present was perhaps my biggest mistake. All I heard was “it’s a decent place near Rothschild boulevard for very low rent”, so I had no problem agreeing to the arrangement while I was in California. Well, it is about 11 blocks south of Rothschild, and about 5 blocks south of anywhere I ever want to find myself. When you are a female the worst thing in the world is not feeling safe and comfortable in your environment, and I found myself in that very situation. This was not how I wanted to spend my last few months in Israel.
I was distraught. Hysterical is actually the more appropriate term, and to add to my frustrations, the second night we were in the apartment my trusted bike of almost 3 years was stolen from me. Since then I’ve lost my mode of transportation and mobility (buses don’t run close to here now with the new construction on the high speed railway), we’ve discovered a faulty air conditioning unit, no microwave, a lofted bed that doesn’t receive any air flow at night (really fun in 92 degrees with 70% humidity), and… A BROKEN SHOWER WITH NO HOT WATER!!! The worst part is that we thought we might have found another place to move in to but the renter decided to give the apartment to a friend instead. Every day I have tried to tell myself it’s just temporary, and every time I resign myself to making the best of the situation something happens. Day 1 my bike gets stolen; the next time there are problems with the internet and air; the next time we are sleeping in a sauna; the next time the shower breaks. I’m just sitting here waiting for the next thing to happen.
Needless to say this isn’t how I wanted to welcome in the New Year and spend my remaining months in Israel, but when you are stuck… you are really stuck. This is one of those times I really wish I were a trust fund baby who could blow thousands of dollars on a half way decent place, which is about the cost of a normal apartment in this God forsaken city. But alas, I am not, and I’m really hoping something works out soon so I can stop feeling like a Debbie downer all day, every day. I have thought about returning to California, but sitting around my mom’s house for 9 months before I start my PhD while simultaneously walking away from a great job here doesn’t make much sense, seeing as we already have a return date sometime in Mid December. I have thought about spending upwards of $2000 a month on a place but then realize that Stephane and I need money for our lives in America, and to lose the money we already paid for this place only to put out despicable amounts of rent on crap apartments doesn’t make much sense either.
The more we think about it the more it seems we aren’t meant to leave this place, which means I’m going to have to find some sort of way to make this situation work. To put it into perspective, my apartment in Palestinian East Jerusalem is looking like a dream from where I’m sitting, and that was with the call to prayer ringing in my ear every morning at 4:00am. I don’t like to complain when I have so many blessings in my life that I’m so grateful for, and this is a temporary situation, but when you are in the shit it sometimes feels a bit better to get your feelings out. Yes I am very lucky, yes I have my health, yes I have a great boyfriend and job, but I also live in a place where I feel unsafe to walk outside alone if it’s dark, in a place that isn’t clean or comfortable, in a place where I now don’t even have a working shower, and to me those are worthy of some complaints, especially when every solution to bring some relief requires breaking the bank or quitting a good job to leave the country.
At least school is starting soon meaning that I will be able to distract myself long enough to maybe get through this without bursting out of my skin. I guess this is the problem when you’re a homebody who doesn’t feel comfortable at home; it’s a constant source of bitter anxiety, and studying psychology only makes me more aware of my internal discomfort… O THE IRONY! Who knows. Maybe I’ll take the money we will save changing places to travel a bit during the holidays just to get away from here for a few days here and there. I have plenty of time off during September and the beginning of October, and Greece isn’t too far away.
Well I feel like if I don’t stop here I won’t stop at all, and I want to try and enjoy the day as much as possible considering I haven’t showered in two days, and our one possible/affordable chance at escaping this place fell through.
Hoping for better days soon, friend, and I miss you forever and always. Wishing you were here to give me your sage-like advice that I became so accustomed to when you were alive.
I love you always and forever.
Until we meet again <3,