Thursday, October 28, 2004

The luck of the Irish (but I am not Irish)

Some days you have all the luck.

I must say that on my walk everyday from the Gan (where I drop the kids for the day) to the Ulpan (where I get tortured in Hebrew) there is this one really nice block. It has a park that is in between two streets and it has trees, and a play ground that by Portland standards is huge, but by Israeli standards is large. There are 4 floor apartment buildings on both sides and some are really nice and new and others are old and not so nice.

But the street is really nice, it is very central, but it is a one way one lane street so no one in their right mind goes down it unless they live on it, or unless the arts center at the end of the street is having an event, but on the whole it is a really nice street with nice stuff.

2-3 weeks ago I noticed a very little sign on a small apartment that was facing this park, and I was very excited and I had Shosh call on it. It was already taken, but I could still see living on the street. Today I was walking down and I saw a sign that just made me happy it was for an apartment that directly faced the playground area. Now if you are a kid living 50 feet from some kick --- play ground equipment is like living in heaven.

So I had to call on this one. I have gotten smart about this, so I took down the number and had Shosh call as she is much smoother them I am. The apartment was available, but it only had 2 bedrooms, and it was priced fairly at $650 per month.

She talked the guy into letting us see it and I liked it. Now I have to take Iris there tonight to see it. Frankly it is a come down from anything we have lived in since Harvard street in College. It really is a dive, but it is a charming dive, with 2 covered balconies, a large kitchen, a living room that is probably 30 feet by 13 feet, and a really nice new bath room. There are things that must be done to it to make it nice, but it could really be nice in a old Israeli sort of way. By London standards is a quite a nice apartment, but by Portland standards it would rent for $600 per month.

We can live really nicely here for under $1500 per month in rent, but if we are going to be on vacation that is fine, if we plan on staying we have to live in an apartment that matches our budget to what we make, and that means cutting back.

Ailyah is a process of rebirth, it is a process of going into a flame and either coming out stronger, or learning your limitations. One of the things I have been trying to do with this process is figure out what in life at this point is important to us, and what is superficial. Our cars have gotten older, our furniture is not as nice, we have no silver here for shabbos, and we are currently living in an apartment that is very nice for Ra'anana but it just is not home.

This other apartment is 1/2 the size of this one, but it seems to be an apartment that can have joy in it. I can see a set Friday night table, and I can see my kids going to bed in it. I can see shabbat coming in, and I can see sitting in the park using my laptop on Wifi talking on my phone all the while my kids are playing on the play ground.

We need silver for Shabbat, we need to cook and to feed people, we need some art, and we need our health, but we do not need quite everything we had in America. Now these are cheap words considering we still have our house in America and our stuff there. We can go back any day we want to.

To live in Israel is to go to the bone on what you things you can cut and then cut some more. If you are going to make it here you are going to need to be cheap, because after the taxes and the cost of stuff you are very broke. But we can live here on just about what it costs to have 2 kids in child care in America.



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