Step-by-Step: Making Aliyah to Israel

Documenting the very personal process of making Aliyah (immigration to Israel) by one very atypical Israeli-American girl. Aliyah on 17, August, 2005. Roadmap: What do you mean there's no roadmap?! Hang on, we're in for a bumpy ride! Ole!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Update 9:38 P.M.

EVERYONE CROSS YOUR FINGERS. NOW. heehee. I've found a beautiful, huge, clean, lovely, amazing apartment on Rechov Geula for $600. It is a 2.5 but bigger than a couple of the 3s that I looked at today put together. It is awesome. There is a real bathroom with an actual bathtub. The bedroom is gigantic. It has a separate kitchen. It has a HUGE (huge huge) mirpeset. The only problem is that about 20 people saw it ahead of me and just about everyone wants it (you'd have to be crazy not to, compared to what I've seen out there today). So I'm on the hope I'll be called and told yes list.

The apartment in Yaffo was also really nice and very large. But lemme tell you it is faaaarrrrr away. The good thing is, and the thing that makes me feel better, is that Natan is not actively showing it yet (won't start until september) and so if I don't find anything else I can take it. It is a fall-back. Not sure I really want to live in a building full of elderly Bulgarian immigrants from 1952 or whenever they came over -- I met one of the neighbors who looked me up and down and pronounced she hoped I don't play my tv or music loudly. Ahem.

My little toes are blistered to heck and back. I saw 9 apartments today. I was kicking myself for not taking one I looked at on Dizengoff earlier --not great, technically a 3, nice exterior but the interior was in dreadful condition. Still I could have fixed it up (I think) if I got some plaster and paint. The layout wasn't bad and it was the best I saw until I looked at the 2.5 at 9 p.m. tonight. The one Ammon showed me rented to the couple who saw it with me because I told him I had to think about it and if they wanted it to give it to them. They took it miyad. So then I was like, yikes, if an apartment in that condition goes that fast...

Ok, so lemme write about yesterday before I forget. It was a really interesting day, not least because I got to meet John in Yerushalayim. I left around 11 for the bus station and my luck was with me as the bus was just ready to go right after I got my ticket. It was a nice, quick ride with no traffic and then I was able to quickly find the #29 bus that was supposed to take me to rechov Nachum Hepzibah (or something like that). It too was just pulling up as I reached the stop, I boarded and asked the driver to tell me where to get off. Then I settled in to look at an unfamiliar part of Jerusalem (heh most of it is to me). After about 15 minutes, the driver said ok this is your stop. I got off and looked around and...uhhh, it is?

The bus was, of course, already well on its way away. I stopped a nice looking family and asked for further directions but they had never heard of the street. Not good. I went along a ways and asked everyone I came across and nobody had heard of the street. I went into a gas station and got blank looks there too. Half-hour of walking around goes by and I'm still more than lost. I was now in tears. I had a half hour to get there and get my Teudat Zehut, I hadn't seen a taxi anywhere at all, had no idea where I was and no one had any idea where I needed to go. Finally, I went into a bakery to make my last stab at asking and...there in line was a guy with an AACI tag on. I nearly fell into his arms in relief. My luck was back! He took me in his car to the T.Z. distribution place --a good 10 minutes drive from where the bus had let me off and up hill and over dale.

Got my Teudat Zehut, ate 6 pieces of sushi, got a free calender and some other information about health plans (haven't even thought about which one to go with yet), and was out of there. Oh yes, I asked about getting my name with the spelling I wanted (I'd changed my mind and decided to go with Canaan but ended up with Kaynan --kaf, yud, nun, nun) and they said, oh my, sorry you have to wait 7 years now. Grrr. But beseder, I'd originally wanted Kaynan so I'll stick with it and be happy. I keep looking at the T.Z. and can hardly believe it. I feel so real. I have an identity.

I had a hysterical cab driver on the way to meet John who kept me laughing. Then I got to meet him. It was such a neat feeling to sit there next to him, in Yerushalayim, and to hear his voice and see his facial reactions after having followed his blog and emailed for months now but never having met. He was exactly as I had imagined him, only better. He's got such a great sense of humour. I could have sat and talked with him for hours (actually, we did talk for like 2 hours!) And if he says his hebrew is not great, don't believe him. I was thoroughly impressed and not a little jealous of his ability. I'm also in awe of how brave he is to have moved here. The boy has got a Jewish soul!

Then it was back to the bus station, on the bus (again perfect timing) and nice ride back. When I got back I found a taxi but he wanted 40 shekels to take me. I told him (and this was b'ivrit, I'm so proud) that he was crazy and bargained for 30 (it should have been around 25!). He said no, a firm 40 and so I got out of the cab and said, fine I'll find someone else. Immediately I had 2 cabdrivers vying for my fare. One said 40 also and I jerked my thumb at the cab and said, "he was crazy too, that's what he asked for. No thanks." The other guy countered with 35, I countered with 30. Then they both wanted my fare for 30 and nearly got into a fist-fight over who would take me! I squeezed between them, and actually yelled "yeladim besheket." lol, I didn't know what else to do. Then I pointed to the guy who'd agreed to 30 first and say "itcha" and bloodshed was prevented. There were two other guys who wanted a ride just down the street and I was ok with them coming along too. They were both from NY and when they found out where I was staying asked if I had the number for the son of the hotel owner, Danny. Turns out, I did. They were friends of his but had lost his number and so I was able to give it to them. What a small world, eh?!

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