I had to combine days because too much happened and I am utterly exhausted. Yesterday (Day 4) I went to Herzliya to visit a friends. It was a little cloudy and gray. It was difficult because I was going from my friends house in Tel Aviv to a new trends home in Jerusalem. So I was carrying my backpack, a bag and my purse lol. Herzlia is a cute little town and very family oriented. It’s about 30 minutes by bus from Tel Aviv. I met up with my friend and she gave me two of her duffle bags which her family used when they made aliyah.
After I head ed to Jerusalem. I had to stop off at the bus station in Tel Aviv and transfer buses. With traffic it took forever, like an hour and a half instead of 45 minutes. I then caught another bus to the Baka neighborhood in Jerusalem. It’s a neighborhood filled with anglos and very expensive. When I was here back in 2015 I stayed in the German Colony which is right next to Baka. I really like the neighborhood. This area is definitely my favorite part of Jerusalem.
Unfortunately I got off at the wrong bus stop so my friend had to come get me. While I waited for her to get me a taxi driver stops in front of me and is tying to take me to my location. I was like “no I’m waiting for a friend”. He’s all pushy saying he will take me to my friend. “do you have her number we call her and tell her”. Mind you cars are piling up. It’s like no dude no.
We then walked about a mile to her apartment and I get settled in. I left my friends apartment in Tel Aviv at 10 in the morning and didn’t get to my new apartment Jerusalem until after 8. I was so tired.
It was a beautiful morning in my future home city. Got up and went for a walk. I had intentions of scouring the neighborhoods for apartments while only walking five miles. I found some cute places, took some pictures and had plans to contact them. Well I ended up getting lost in East Jerusalem, in a majority Arab neighborhood. I realized I was somewhere else when the signs switched from Hebrew, Arabic, and English (English spellings rather than the Arabic or Hebrew Scripts) to all Arabic. I have to say I felt really unsettled. I only had one old man stare me down otherwise no one paid any attention to me. they probably figured I was a lost tourist. In truth I really didn’t like how unsettled I felt being there. I mean there is so much negativity about Arabs and muslims that I hear all the time thatI guess it infiltrated my psyche. Once I noticed how I was feeling I adjusted and just walked trying to make sure I looked modest (I mean leggings and a sweatshirt but it was hot so I didn’t want to walk around in the tank top I had underneath). I also decided that I will make sure to make a point to have friend who are Arab and muslim when i mae aliyah to learn more and not have that fear that they will do something to me because of all the propaganda I hear.
So I walked a massive hill (which turned out to be the wrong way again) and finally managed to get back to the apartment. For the last hour of the walk I only had 13 % on my phone which was kind of nerve wracking. The walk in total was 9.17 miles.
I came back, ate a little breakfast then I was off to a therapist networking meeting in Ramot. By bus it took an hour to get up there. The area is filled with Ultra-orthodox individuals, which i did not know, so I felt super uncomfortable in my purple sweater and blue jeans while I’m surrounded by girls in one black skirts and men in black pants, jackets and top hats. I didn’t get too many dirty looks which was nice.
The meeting went very nice, with the creator of Get Help Israel. she offered such wonderful advice and suggestions. She recommended that I get a car here especially if I wanted to continue with doing therapeutic home visits, noting how unreliable public transportation can be. I’m not even sure it’s something I would do here, I hadn’t really thought about it.
So I took the hour ride back to Baka and missed the rain. I rested for about 45 minutes before having to get back on the bus, this time in the rain, to travel up to Givat Ze’ev. Well this was a nightmare. First off a 25 bus ride took almost 2 hours because of the rain. It was freezing up on top of that mountain and the person gave me the wrong address and wouldn’t respond to my texts until I was all ready lost and confused with 17% left on my phone. Then because it all took so long I was flat out tired and I was not my sunny self. We settled and were able to talk and I played with her cute baby which was nice. the soupI had was amazing too. The best part was that she asked her friend to give me a ride back to Baka so I got back in a decent amount of time and very warm.
So to say that those two days were less than ideal is an under statement. So far the trip has been going really well and I am happy. Happy for my choice, but I cannot lie that my life in Berkeley is so much easier. I have a car. I had a job and can easily get a new one if I so desire. I have friends and family there. I know how things work. I can be lazy and not entertain. Really I miss having a car, especially when it’s raining and cold. I also miss the certainty. Right now i have no job nor do I have my own place. I make aliyah and I’ll be staying with a friend for a minute. This can be nice but I’d prefer my own place and that has not happened yet. So for the first time since I arrived I am questioning whether this is right or not. Is love for the jewish homeland enough for me to leave the comforts of my current life for a life filled with the unknown?