Aromas and Morning’s after
Dec 12 – 15
After a very very long phone conversation navigating my extremely limited Hebrew and the rep’s equally limited English (imagine THAT!!), I received an email confirming the order I’d placed, written in Hebrew. After a friend was kind enough to look the email over, I made my way to a popular-but-distant shopping area in another section of Jerusalem to visit the store/service center to resolve the crucial errors of my address and name for home internet service.
The 1 ½ hour visit included a variety of encounters directed by staff: making another very long phone call from the “black phone” in a corner of the store to reach a rep. in some other office, plus two waiting-line “numbers” drawn from a machine. One led me to a rep who was not designated for my issue, and the other who didn’t speak English. She told me so in a nearly perfect sentence, which happens fairly often. I do the same thing when asked for directions or whatever – in Hebrew: “I don’t understand Hebrew very well so can’t help you.” However, I’m under no illusions that my Hebrew is as precise as her English. The process in the service center was finalized when I brazenly approached a rep who was momentarily without a customer. It took 5 minutes to fix. I left –Mission Accomplished! I hoped.
What I knew with absolute certainty was the moment I made the choice to give each rep I encountered genuine kindness and appreciation. What of my heart do I want to give people? What aroma do I want to leave behind.
My prayer? Let me leave the aroma of You, and be a pleasing aroma to You.
This distribution is the first from my new digs. Another step forward. And yes, the installer appeared at the correct address, at the appointed time, looking for me by name!
My first morning in my new apartment followed a busy day that began with schlepping my bags and few accumulated survival-groceries from my 3-week temporary rental to my new, 1-year-lease digs. I was warmly greeted by the former tenant and we finalized electric and water readings, the hand-off of the keys, etc. The apartment itself was a bit less loving, filled with the painters at work scrapping and prepping the walls. The floors of every room were filled with large and small slices of the damaged wall scabs – kinda’ like snow, but not so much.
The record breaking, Noah-like rains washing Jerusalem my first week here left many Jerusalem homes (apartments, rather than free-standing separate structures) with leaky roofs and damaged walls. I’d thought the damage and repair was limited to one small area, and that the work would be a short process. However, the damage was more extensive and since painting the entire apartment would leave a nice freshness throughout, I was content for it to be finished on Sunday. More good Hebrew practice talking with the painters throughout the day as I ran in and out to pick up core essentials: TP, the swell Braun juicer I’d bought from the shopkeeper who’d been holding it until my move-in day (I’ll let you know how it compares with the Jack LaLanne juicer I left behind) , a few cleaning supplies, etc.
How do you select cleaning supplies from rows of indecipherable products? Which will be most like my favorites in the U.S.? Are pipes different here, and therefore procedures? Are there other expectations, or precautions I should know? And what have I not even thought of yet, since once Shabbat store closures begin Friday afternoon, there’s not much in the way of “emergency” supplies until late Saturday night.
Another concern I may as well confess: I have no clue about the most efficient method to keep these beautiful tile floors clean, or what the strange smell was in the bathroom.
The workday left everything dusted by the wall-scraping – my suitcases, purchases, skin, all horizontal and vertical services… I swept, only stirring up more with each effort, and collapsed on the borrowed air-mattress for a power nap, awakening grateful to have momentarily left the too-much-dust headache behind, and dressed for Shabbat dinner at the home of new friends’. We had an amazing dinner with prayers and blessings and love and friendships new and old (all new for me!)
The air-mattress needed attention when I returned. Those of you who’ve slept on one, only to awaken without air between you and the floor surely know what went through my mind: if it had collapsed so dramatically without me on it over the course of several hours, I might be in for a long night on the cold stone floor. You guessed it. I was re-inflating every 1 ½ hours throughout the night. I dealt with it a second night as well, rationalizing that my sofa sectional would be delivered the following day. Not a good idea, because the inadequate sleep, chronic dust, unmet painting goal/deadline, and the stress of navigating the issues of communication and expectations with both the apartment owner and painters left me pretty depleted. I’d learned the apartment owner had no plans, and would not consider, bringing in cleaners after the painters left, since “they clean up after themselves”. In addition, I’d discovered several things that needed attention and the painter had a mishap which broke the glass top and dented the stove I’d bought from the previous tenants. The painter’s or owners responsibility to replace the glass was an issue I had to press. Nothing can be done about the dent. The responsibility of the mishap would be a different process in the U.S., but that’s not where I am, so I have to deal with processes here, listening, learning, and readjusting my expectations along the way.
The painting was extended to Monday, so I opted OUT, and re-rented the temporary apartment for 2 nights in hope of sleep and clean air. Unfortunately, by then I was in a “no sleep” zone and downhill slide into my teary, sleepless-self, my neck and shoulder were aggravated by the heavy lifting and hard-work cleaning, missing my Simmons’ mattress, my emotions stressed. What a wimp! Without dragging you through the entire process, I was prompted into my first encounter with Israel’s healthcare to see about therapeutic massage options for my neck (we’re not talking luxury spa massage, but more like physical therapy, since that’s what’s worked in past)
Some of you have asked about terrorism concerns and the attitudes here. Life absolutely goes on and feels more undisturbed than it did a few weeks ago. The stuff of LIFE gets in the way of keeping up on the news and I got lost in my little-world’s project of gathering sticks and twigs for my “nest”. My saga of tiny disruptions are just that: tiny. Our day to day bumps, the misunderstandings, disappointments, and sleeplessness momentarily take our eyes off of the bigger picture. It’s a blessing to peek into a stroller and find a tiny bright-eyed baby, and the sparkle of the mom watching me light up at the sight of HER baby. I’m counting the many joys, gratitude to God for this amazing opportunity, my many blessings, and loving and being loved, even though never enough.
Navigating the streets late at night, unlocking my door in neighborhoods I’m still only learning… I feel safe, for whatever that’s worth. I am generally more attentive near traffic, but mostly I wish I could see into the hearts of those who pass by me on the street. What is their intent? How can we ever know.
I’m going to try to post some pictures – grocery aisles confounding the shopping process even as my reading skills are improving