on israel, philosophy, politics, SEO & nutrition

Monday, week 2

Posted by aviel on May 21, 2012

Being in Israel has both its advantages and disadvantages. It’s hard to get by on your own, but on the other hand people here really go out of their way to help out, even though they owe you nothing. Today I’ve been in touch with someone with all kinds of political and commercial contacts, and if I’m lucky something may come out of it.

I’m speaking about finding a job, of course. All the jobs I can look for on my own are not related to my education or interests, but it seems there are plenty of companies who look for Swedish speakers for various jobs in sales, account management and so on. I can’t say I’m really interested in those kind of jobs, but a man needs to survive however he may (as do women, or so I imagine). Today I received an email from a company in Ashdod, south of Tel Aviv, about a job that would kind of force me to either move there or commute from Tel Aviv each day. In my age, and being single as I am, there’s not much for me in a place like Ashdod (oh, I’m sure it’s a wonderful place though with a great beach!) and spending hours on various buses every day would really only be something to consider if all else fails. Still, I’m glad it didn’t take more than a day or two for some company to respond to my application. It bodes well for the future, or so I like to tell myself right now.

Gili, the youngest daughter, helped me get a first glance of what kind of apartments that are currently available for rent in the Tel Aviv area. One apartment totally blew my mind, as it is situated on Dizengoff Street (!) in the center of Tel Aviv, looked nice from the photos, and at the modest price, by Tel Aviv standards, of around 1500 shekels a month (3000 SEK, $400). As I’m not rushing things I just sent an email, which almost certainly will not receive a response, but I can’t help but wonder what is the catch?

On a totally different note, it’s sometimes funny to compare Israeli behavior to Swedish. I asked someone on the bus the other day, very politely in Hebrew, “Excuse me, do you know if this bus continues on after the bus stop at x?” He turned to me for a second, made a kind of smacking sound and a quick shake of his head. The interesting thing is that I’ve seen this about a million times in Israel. This guy certainly isn’t alone in not wasting any words. On another bus ride I saw some a few ‘kids’ who were kind of slow in getting on the bus, although not exceptionally so. In Sweden no one would say anything, and certainly not the driver. Here the driver asked irritably: “Do you have the ‘strength’ to get on board? Come on, already!” (strength is the literal translation) This very blunt, in a way almost familiar, manner of yelling at complete strangers raised no eyebrows, except for the sole Swede on the bus. To me this is part of the Israeli character; the mix of openness, warmth, helpfulness at the same time as bluntness and rudeness. At least it’s what it seems to me, and I imagine it can be kind of difficult for foreigners to deal with sometimes. The fact is though, that it’s kind of charming in a way. Sweden could benefit from a touch more openness and bluntness, and not keep everyone at arm’s length all the time. Actually it probably makes it easier to feel like you’ve become a part of Israeli society, as opposed to the near impossibility of really becoming accepted into the Swedish one, if let’s say you have the utter misfortune to have been born elsewhere. (Now I expect comments on my generalizations, so bring it on!) I think I have got to work on being blunt and rude if I am to make it here, as I am already pretty damn nice, open, friendly and helpful. 😛

Yesterday I went to visit David and Shiran. Shiran made some really good homemade pasta and David has his own brewery in a room adjacent to the kitchen. I don’t know what he put into that stuff, since it was pretty damn strong. 11% alcohol or something. Funnily enough it went to my head very fast after only a few glasses. So half-drunk I tried to respond to Shiran exploring the idea of setting me up with someone. I can’t exactly remember what was concluded, but I think I made my point that it may be a bit too early for that since I’ve been here for only a week and I still have no job or place of my own. One thing at a time, eh?

Since I didn’t get to take any pictures lately I’m going to include a couple from the Shabbat dinner the other night, that Eitan sent me a couple of hours ago.

The first one is from the meal outdoors

Yours truly, the grandmother who wants me to gain weight, Yael and Gili

And the second one is from inside

David, Shiran, me, the other grandmother, partly of Egyptian descent (which I’m writing since I’d like to show what a mix Israel is of cultures and nationalities) and a totally exaggerated amount of dessert.


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