Ode to my First Israeli Apartment

To my first Israeli apartment:

First, I'm sorry that we're leaving you in April. Well, ok, that's not exactly true, but trust me-- it's not you, it's us. We wanted to buy our own place, have one more room, and live on a quieter street, but we really appreciate you having been there for us throughout these first two years in Israel.

You've been taking a lot of abuse lately. Strangers have been walking over your mismatched tiled floors and criticizing little things like the way your 70s-era wood paneling is peeling off the walls or the paint on the bathroom ceiling is chipped. They laugh at your .5 room (the dining area) and complain about the car alarm going off outside your tinted, patterned windows. They also don't seem too impressed by the doorways that have been turned into shelving units and don't see the beauty in the fact that our cats can crawl through the bottom of the shelving units to go from room to room.

These low orange velvet chairs actually came with our furnished apartment. 
Our cats loved them. As scratching posts. And wrestling arenas.

But hey, at least you put yourself out there. It's not your fault that your owner thinks you are worth hundreds more shekels a month than we currently pay and that the arnona taxes are high here. Yes, you suffer daily rejection, and yes, you are quite possibly wet between the walls, and yes, the bed that you came with creaks like it is undergoing torture whenever anyone breathes, but... what was I talking about again? Oh, yes, you suffered rejection daily while our landlord was trying to rent you out, but we're still proud of you, and there are things I'll never forget about our first apartment in Israel. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

1. You made 70s style Isra-fab. From your brassy, curvy ceiling lights to the naked Grecians silkscreened on our bathroom tiles to the plastic wood paneling on the kitchen cabinets, you truly showcase the one time in your life when anyone living in this apartment did "shiputzim" (renovations-- and a fabulous word). 

2. The views from your windows were always interesting. Our cats will miss staring at birds, bats, and autobusim outside our window, and we'll miss watching them stare down at us in shock and concern when they see us approaching from the street. Every community parade in our town (as well as a lot of traffic) passed right below our front windows, including the traffic safety parade last Purim and the veterans parade on VE day. All the loud traffic passing outside your window only made the stillness during the siren on Yom HaShoah and YomHaZikaron more stunning. And the view outside your back window proves that Israel really does have seasons! Really! Take a look:

During July (when a branch fell off because of the drought):

In early December, when the grass started to come back:

Today (spring-- note the flowering trees!):

So yellowing grass isn't quite as pretty as yellow fall leaves, but it's still nice to watch time pass. Also, aren't those metal "soragim" (bars) kind of beautiful?

3. You have a different tile floor in every room, which helped us decide if we want to do any shiputzim of our own! (For the record, the dark brown tile in the shower room hides cat hairs much better than the light white tile in the toilet room.)

4. You taught me all about how to turn on a dude (er, not a guy... a water heater), how to close my trisim in a sandstorm, and how to flip the switch on the circuit board of our house each time you objected to the idea of me running the kumkum (electric teapot) and the stove at the same time.

I'll also miss your huge kitchen and the high ceilings in your living room. I'll miss having a random little closet to put the litter boxes into. I'll miss the time we looked at the uneven tile in the bedroom and hypothesized that your previous elderly residents had buried lirot in the sand beneath the tiles. I'll miss living within a block of any kind of store I could ever want, from a guitar store to a petshop, with a bridal store, a health food shop, three yarkans and a super thrown in for good measure.

Our landlord finally came down in his asking price and found a nice mother with three kids (!) to move into this one apartment. The new people seem to appreciate you more than we did-- the mother looked at that gold chandelier in the living room and thought it was ya-fe-fi-yah. The two eight-year-old boys in our building seem excited about playing with the two eight-year-old girls who are moving in. But don't forget us, ok? You were a very significant 100 meters during my first two years in Israel, and I know we'll never forget you.

Now, excuse me while I go pack.

P.S. Yep, we're moving in just over a week!! Wahoo! Blog posts might be pretty infrequent as we move, though I have some ideas I'm kicking around. The thing I'm most worried about: canceling HOT cable... any suggestions about how to keep HOT from taking any more of our money?


  1. Wow - good luck with your move! That's very exciting. We don't have HOT, but here's hoping that your dealings with them are painless! (Hey, I can hope, right?)

  2. Moving right when Pesach starts, eh?

  3. We're starting the move just a few days after pesach starts... it's nice because my husband has off work! We won't actually be living in the new apt until just after pesach, though. Thanks for the good wishes!

  4. Hope all goes well with your move and that your new home is a big blessing to you and your friends who visit you there.

  5. Best wishes on your move! I enjoyed your comments about this first apartment in Israel - both the bad and the good. :)

  6. So, Maya... how was the move? Inquirying minds want to know!

  7. יום העצמאות!
    What, no blog post?

  8. I hope you are getting settled in. I anxiously await blog posts about the new place.

  9. good luck on your move.
    all u mentioned about first flat in israel is SO true. :-)

  10. It felt like you were writing about my apartment, which also feels like living in a campy shrine to a bygone era -- only it was a gift, so we're (gratefully?) stuck with it until we can afford to renovate. Your blog is fantastic and I wish I'd found it nine months ago when I first arrived in Israel!


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