Interesting how your view of things changes when you look at them again from a distance. Tel Aviv in summer 2023: my 3rd stay within 12 months. Yes, I still love this country, the culture, the sensuality and the savoir-vivre of the Israelis. And at the same time, I realise more and more that not all that glitters is gold.
I’m realising now, that I’ve been very lucky with my Airbnb accommodations over the past year. My current landlady, a young woman I met through a facebook group, fails to tell me that her bedroom is a windowless shelter. Well, it’s not quite true – there is a window, but it leads directly into the hallway and gives a view of my bed when I open the armoured shutter…. In short: no daylight, no fresh air! Instead, bunker flair for beginners. For 6 weeks! I write to my landlady that I am disappointed and that she should have told me. And I ask her for a price-off. She is unimpressed and just comes up with 50€ discount for the whole period. What was that again? Oh yes, Tel Aviv is one of the most expensive cities in the world.
I start asking around, visit flats and shared rooms and start talking to the people who rent them. And for the first time I feel the tremendous financial pressure. A 40-square-metre flat in a house with a mangy staircase and a depressing atmosphere costs 1,600 euros/month. A financial struggle for survival. And yet life is breathed in here and lived and celebrated to the full. Because who knows what tomorrow will bring…?
I come home to my noisy Tel Aviv flat on the 5th floor and am very happy that my main room, where I cook, work and relax, is bright, friendly and that I can see the sky. Even my bunker no longer seems so threatening. What a change of perspective.
I look new and with more humility at what I have in life. Because nothing is as it seems, and sometimes everything seems to be nothing.