IT’S…. RAINING!!!! first time since April 28th!!! well, that doesn’t really count because it was a sandstorm sent to us by Egypt But this…this is really amazing. i left the house and the sky was dark grey. Just before i got to the bus station i felt the first drop. It landed on my arm and i licked it. as soon as i get under shelter, the sky opens up! rain just pouring down replenishing the kinneret, splashing down on this too-long-dry land. i felt excited like the first snow. The tracks of the first buses left a bubbly wake and i remember hearing how the first rains here are deadly because of the boiled-on rubber and oil on the roads that make it slippery. People are standing in doorways. The trees and grass and bushes are happily saturated and then there are the parched patches of desert sand that don’t know what to make of the phenomena. The rose bushes lining the roads are beginning their autumn bloom and surely they welcome the rains. i am amazed at the rivers running down the streets. It’s like a show! i wonder where all the water goes to. i am hoping it goes to the kinneret, as i know it is at its lowest water level and there have been severe warnings to conserve. tsafi and i stick to the ‘if it’s yellow, let it mellow’ toilet flushing conservation. When i shower i turn off the water while i shave and condition my hair. It is just so hot, dry and dusty here that even imagining it raining was hard to do.
Yesterday i went on an errand for work. i went to a bakery called ‘flower’ to pick out a cake for someone’s birthday. i got way lost. The ice cream guy sent me one way (which i later found out was the local florist, not a bakery) and other people sent me the other way. i finally found it in a little square past the bank. The owner had a puppy pug sitting obediently at the door. i walked in and he told me that my shirt is his name. i was wearing a black shirt and in red on the front it had the star of david and on the back it says ‘be good’. “David?” i guess comically. “Yes!” he said and then he told me that my shirt has power in it… “the six points of the star of David correspond to the six chakras.” And with that, i picked out a chocolate mousse cake and an apple pie paying 140 shekels for both. i played with the puppy, spurned the baker’s flirting and walked back to work enlightening the ice cream guy with bakery and florist terms in English I’ve been getting way lost everywhere here. israeli’s are vague direction givers but seem very happy to help. i had a job interview in Tel Aviv a few nights ago. i got so lost that i cried.
The skies are opening up now. There is a bright blue behind disappearing white clouds now…that’s IT? no more rain??
it rained all day yesterday. i was alone in the house; tsafi was at work. i wrapped myself in the soft white terrycloth robe and watched the rain. i watched a television program about the life of eastman and his contributions to photography. He was the first to make dry glass emulsion and then he basically invented the camera. The first camera could take 100 snapshots (snapshots was a military term) and then people would send the cameras with the film inside back to the lab for processing. He had problems with emulsion during the depression. One guy fixed that just in time for hollywood filmmaking to begin. He was a rich and lonely guy who preferred to be the treasurer of his company in rochester, NY rather than the president. He invented the word ‘kodak’ because it meant nothing. There was nothing to refer it to other than his film. He had a mansion where he hired a piano player to play starting at 7:30am and the player would adjust the music to his mood. He started to fall ill, invited some friends over to witness him changing his will and then shot himself in the heart. He left a note saying “why wait?”
on the bus home from work today i talked all the way with this girl i always see on there. We never really talked before because the loud bald local butcher always comes to the bus stop and hi-jacks the opportunity. He would take his hand and push all the sweat from his round bald head forward and throw it on the cement. It was really gross! but he wasn’t there today so me and the girl had a chance to talk. She is married with a one year old daughter. She grew up in netanya. Last week she saw me and asked me to hold the bus while she went to buy pampers. Not diapers…. ‘pampers’. My mom used to call them pampers too. i think it’s a brand of diapers. She is 29 years old and likes dalmations. she’s had three of them. The first two got stolen in the neighborhood and one she had to give away because it had fleas while she was pregnant. Her parents and sister are religious. When i asked her if she was religious, she said that she keeps kosher and goes to the mikva. i asked her what she likes about the mikva and this beautiful glow came over her. She said “you become pure, clean…so clean.” She explained that for seven days you don’t have sex with your husband while you have your period… then before ‘starting relations’ again, you go to this place where you have this private pool and only the female rabbi can see you and you bless yourself and go under the water 3 times. You clean your nails, hair and ears and ‘you’re just clean.” i told her that i can’t imagine any men that would be happy with that if they weren’t used to it. And she explained it this way “if you eat cake every day, it loses something, but after the mikvah it is always like the first time…”
last night was simcha torah, tsafi and i were watching a movie and we heard music and shouting in the streets. We got in the car ad chased the celebration. It was a few blocks away.
a mass of people dancing in the streets holding torahs. There was a truck with disco lights and speakers. i took photos and called dad.
Just now, as i am writing at the bus station, a policeman came waving his arms at all the people at the gates. Everyone started evacuating. On my way out i asked two army girls if they spoke English (they did) and if they knew what was going on. They said there is a bomb scare. i stood outside the gates watching for my bus. i looked down and saw a hole in the ground and a lid with a chain on it. i started to think like a terrorist and saw that hole and all the people huddled near it and i started walking away quickly. One of the army girls came to talk to me asking if she could help me get where I’m going. She was very nice. The 618 bus was parked on a nearby street. i take my life in my hands each day i live here…
the weather is getting cooler. beach time is limited…the job market is not so good at the moment. Today i stood up while waiting on the train platform thinking the train was coming. i looked down at the train tracks and expected to see rats. i had to shake my head and remember i don’t live in NYC anymore. It’s been almost 6 months…
today was sukkot so i had another day off from work. We went on a road trip with tsafi’s family. My favorite place was ein hod, this artist community much like zfat. We also visited this camp where tsafi’s grandmother (safta) aged 22, stayed when she first came to Israel as a legal immigrant. It was a british prison-type place. The workers there gave safta forms to fill out about it. safta’s husband, who died last year, arrived here at a younger age, 18 years old i think and as we drove home itzhak (tsafi’s dad) told me how his father came to Israel All of his entire family was gone in the holocaust and he fled on a boat from russia. He swam from the anchored boat off the shore of netanya to the land. The people of netanya helped these illegal immigrants by having them blend in with them. The British soldiers couldn’t distinguish between them. So they would come up on the beach and go into the movie theater that was there then and they would sit in between local people. after two years living in Israel he joined the British army and went back to fight the germans. He spent some time in london and then came back to netanya. He had left his only possessions of family photos, a fork and a knife with someone in netanya and safta, who knew the ‘middle man’ (the ones holding his stuff), brought those things to him. i just loved that story!
we went also to the town of zichron. It has a pub called ‘the hobbit’ and the sign has two faeries on it! under that sign is where i saw the full moon rising orange and bright as the sun!
earlier we had gone to a mall that also was an art gallery. There is the largest mural there in all of Israel scenes from the bible. The center one is of adam and eve. inside there is a ceiling fresco of scenes about shlomo, all in dark blue and white. ears with wings, opium plants, legends of some guy i never heard of but now want to know! there were artists selling their wares.
it’s finally October! my favorite month! it feels still like June here… it will be my first year without that fall smell, those red leaves, sweaters…
yesterday tsafi and i went all over jaffo and Tel Aviv We walked around narrow streets in an artsy neighborhood in southern Tel Aviv We went to the Arab souq in jaffo where they sell antiques and furniture. We ate berekas and shwarma on a bench near the sea and threw parts of our lunch to two hungry black cats. a man was sitting on the bench next to us and i accidentally threw bread at him. i apologized, saying that i thought he was a cat. We both laughed. We then drove towards allenby street where we shopped and shopped. We were on the go from 9am until 9pm non-stop.