9 ~ Jerusalem Snow & Relocation
Jan 1 – 9, 2015
This links you to a powerful UN presentation – a Lebanese leader discussing the Israeli conflict http://rotter.net/forum/scoops1/138333.shtml
My bus-smashed Nokia phone is just as “smart” as ever, still keeping my calendar, texts, and emails accessible and collaborating perfectly with my computer. The screen looks like, well, like it was run over by a bus, and the phone’s audio fidelity for calls is impossibly poor without a headset. My search to replace the phone locally met nothing but stone walls—Israelis only like iPhone and Adroids, apparently. So, you ask, “why not get one of those?” Well, I’m drinking from a firehose already when it comes to NEW, and I simply don’t want to take on one more challenge if I can avoid it, especially a technical challenge to learn a new phone plus make collaborate reliably with computer. Thankfully, Pam, a new friend I haven’t yet met in person, is bringing the replacement from Denver’s Microsoft store at Park Meadows Mall.
We have “snow” in Jerusalem. I need one of those Eskimo words for snow to distinguish this from NYC snow and Colorado snow, or the un-snow of the southern California “mountains”. It’s more like spring snow – wet – though not heavy. My clothing and footwear was not packed with this in mind, and the local weather site’s frequent warnings about ice and “slippery” have effectively reduced me to: homebound. Why such a coward after tromping through NYC and Colorado snows? Most central Jerusalem sidewalks are not concrete or asphalt, or even cobblestones, but larger, potentially slippery-when-dry, Jerusalem stone. Beautiful. But a moment’s carelessness could result in a slip even in dry conditions. My idea of a good time is NOT finding a good orthopedic surgeon, or any of the associated drama.
Familiarity breeds… well familiarity. The cold temperatures, even the electric central heat of this newly remodeled apartment cannot combat the stone floors which retain NO heat. A space heater will be my next purchase when I can safely navigate around town once again.
Otherwise, my apartment may remain primarily empty with echo-y walls for a while longer than anticipated. The storm that brought the snow and cold temperatures made Ashdod’s port inaccessible and if the ship can’t dock to unload in a timely manner, it will continue on its journey to Europe. At this point I have no ETA regarding my shipment finding its way to me. I wrestled my sofa into the small “office”room with my borrowed table (aka: desk), and have closed off doors in hopes of warming this room enough to sleep and work while housebound.
Since snow is infrequent in Jerusalem, most everything was closed or cancelled by the weather. Stories abound of last year’s intense storm leaving households and entire neighborhoods without electricity (including heat) for days. Snowplows, salt, and other snow adaptations are not prioritized among this nations’ top “readiness” issues. Imagine that: Israel protects her citizens with intentional military personnel, the Iron Dome missile interception, and the like, since the frequency of uninvited war and terrorist attacks far outweigh the dangers of inclement weather.
Relocation. Everyone’s done it. A new job, home, community, state, nation, or lifestyle (empty-nesting, marrying after prolonged independence, adjusting to birth or death). We see differences in countless ways. How do others live? What do they expect? What are their standards of excellence? How to they disagree or fight? What makes a meal good? Or a complete meal? Are ice cubes mandatory?
When I moved to Colorado from California in 1988, I was surprised to learn I couldn’t buy wine for my spaghetti sauce at the grocery store, or that drivers didn’t seem to know how to merge. I didn’t anticipate growing to love the slower pace of life, or that the Colorado hospital staff had not heard of advances that had been routine for years in the California hospital I’d left. Just a few, and not meant critically, reflections of learning to adapt to NEW. Transitioning to this culture will no doubt catch me by surprise time and again, for a very very long time. I’m going to begin mentioning those differences – it’s not about better or worse, merely: different. And that is so easily exemplified by the simple TRUTH that we’d all judge the pros/cons of the differences . . . differently.
I make the choice daily to be ever observant, not critical, only surprised. One reason is my life experience: the supermarket clerk in Colorado who had difficulty embracing the question of “where is the wine?” clearly thought I’d already had too much. And, I’m ashamed to say, I was initially mocking of the drivers who stopped at a merging on-ramp. That’s cruel. We all had to learn everything, and geography, family, culture, nationality, gender, era, natural talents, and so many other factors develop vast diversity. Add to that speaking different languages, and you’re beginning to catch my days here.
A few differences:
- The flies all over the delicious, fresher than fresh unwrapped bakery goods, fruit, and vegetables at the open air (AKA: farmers’) market in central Jerusalem, and you can add meat to that list when you amble through the open market in the Old City.
- Restaurants are mostly “milk” meaning you can enjoy sumptuous meals or fast food of vegetables, fruit, cheese and other dairy products; some offer seafood as well. Other restaurants are “meat” where you carnivores get your fix of chicken or beef or, ummmm, I don’t even know what else because I haven’t eaten at one. The meat is all kosher, which means they were killed in proscribed manner which minimizes its pain/suffering.
- Filtered water dispensers with 6 oz one-time use cups are easy to find. They feel more sanitary than the more communal of water faucets that leave me wondering where children or teenagers have left their mouths.
- You could set your watch to the city’s buzzzzzzzz as Thursday’s workday ends and into Friday morning. The week’s countdown towards Shabbat generates preparation for a meal with family and guests and, in many Jerusalem households, a 25-hour silencing of electronic gadgets (including phones!). Israel’s other communities welcome Shabbat with a wider range of responses, and the buzz is different, mostly quieter in my very limited comparison.
Is the U.S. press keeping you informed regarding Hamas terrorists signing up with ISIS? http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/189706#.VK_Y9iuUeSp