I guess I should begin with the most interesting news…I have an apartment! I have to thank my friend Rani who did more for my search in 15 minutes than I could have done in 15 hours. Everyone (especially those of you who live in New York) know how annoying it is to look for a place to live. Ok, now try it in a foreign language. Here was a sample day from last week:
9:00 AM “I’m taking today off! I’m fired up! I’m online! LET’S DO THIS!”
9:01 AM “Ok, I don’t understand a single word on this website. Maybe I should check email again; it’s been seven minutes!”
Very frustrating indeed. It’s time to digress…come to think of it, after living in New York, please remind me: what was so hard about apartment-hunting in suburban cities?
Atlanta: “Wow, Post Briarcliff looks REALLY nice! And these sugar cookies are delish!”
New York: “So the pile of dust is here when I move in AND I get to pay a broker’s fee? WHERE DO I SIGN UP???”
Anyway…Israel’s version of Craig’s List for apartment-hunting is called Homeless. Because of work, I barely had a moment over the last couple of weeks to search while moving from Ziv’s a few weeks back to a co-worker’s apartment in a great location just a few blocks from the beach. Last Monday, Rani spent a few minutes on Homeless and set up about 4 apartments to look at that night. I can’t tell you how many people have told me in the past few months how hard it is to find a place in Tel Aviv these days. When you show up to look at an apartment, you’re often competing for the current tenant’s attention as everyone shows up at the same time which makes it hard to have any significant time to get to know the tenants, one of which you’ll be living with if we’re talking about sublets. It definitely helped to have Rani with me at the apartments, as he’s a likeable guy who basically did the talking for me. One of the people liked me (us) enough and the next day, he called back to tell me I had “won”. Although this person is doing the subletting, the person I’ll be living with is a woman, a 32 year-old English teacher who apparently gave me points because I speak the language. A couple days later, here I am. Granted, the floor is a mess (memories of New York), the walls are painted with huge colored squares, and I don’t own a single piece of furniture, but at least…did I mention the squares? My friend Michal is going to lend me her furniture and the subletter is supposed to re-paint so hopefully I’ll be settled in about a week. Until then, it will be, um, trying. Sigh…I’ve lived out of a suitcase for the last 3.5 months, what’s another week?
As for the details, it’s on the cheaper side I guess although it’s only two bedrooms with no living room. Not unheard of in Tel Aviv (it keeps the price down), but not ideal. Both rooms do have a mirpeset (porch) which is nice although my roommate’s is definitely nicer, overlooking the street on which we live. Mine faces the next building but with a couple of chairs, it will be good for relaxing and drinking coffee with friends, as we Israelis are wont to do. Like most (all?) homes here, the toilet is in a separate room from the shower which might actually make more sense. The apartment is near HaBima, the national theater. (Here comes the educational part: Bima means stage. Like the bima in a synagogue. All of you together: “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh…”) It’s off Rothschild (pronounced Rote-sheeld), apparently a great location here.
So that’s it…I’m one step closer to being settled. I have to thank Rani and Michal for being so incredibly helpful (more about Michal in the next entry maybe). I hope I can clean this place and move in before the weekend…it’s Rosh Hashana!