one week in…

i’ve been here for one week, plus several hours.  it’s a bit hard to believe.  on the one hand, i’ve been spending all of my time running around, getting settled, seeing people – and it’s gone by very quickly.  on the other hand, it feels like an eternity since i said goodbye to Neil and my family and boarded my flight to Israel.  one down…

after a week here, i think i’m pretty settled into my apartment and neighborhood.  i’m living in an up-and-coming (though still slightly gritty) part of Tel Aviv called Florentin – it’s an older neighborhood in the southern part of the city, full of furniture workshops, wholesale retailers and spice shops, and bars and cafes for good measures.  Oh, and several shops selling burekas, a staple Israeli snack that actually originated in Central Asia and apparently made its way around the Ottoman Empire.  I haven’t had any yet, but I’ve heard that this is apparently the place to get them – there are several well-known shops within a three-block radius of my apartment.  I’ll get right on it…

And shops selling household goods.  They, in fact, are where I have been spending much of my time, just trying to get the basics so that I can eat some normal, home-cooked food. I think we’re pretty much there, although every day either my roommate or myself thinks of this or that other necessity.  So many necessities! I keep telling myself to live simply.  Here’s my chance, if I take it…

Today I took a break from house furnishing and directed myself to more intellectual pursuits.  Two, in fact: a meeting at Tel Aviv University to see about taking a class or two there (which turned into several hours of finagling my way through typical Israeli bureaucracy), and visiting the neighborhood library.  The latter will be a welcome respite if I am desperate for a book, though it is small and the selection is limited.  I like libraries, though, and am always happy to frequent one.

Tuesday I have my first research-related meeting.  About time! I’m really looking forward to getting started with my project.  I’ve noticed something very interesting about the way I tell people who ask (and many ask) about my research here.  My automatic tendency is to tell people that I’m a student in education policy and to be very vague about what my project actually entails.  Of course, the words education policy mean very little to most of the people I’m speaking with, but I can explain the field without getting into the contentious issue of Jewish-Arab coexistence, or Jewish-Arab anything, really.  I guess I feel it’s too risky to make my politics known when I meet someone for the first time.  But it’s a bit tricky, too.  I’m hoping that in the next few weeks or months I can perfect my research ‘elevator speech.’

And that is it for tonight.  I am waiting for a cousin of mine to get to Tel Aviv so we can meet up for a drink around 10pm (typical nightlife start time for this city).  More soon…

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One thought on “one week in…

  1. Pingback: Excuse the silence, please… | Isgolia

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