Oh so much to talk about! Since my last post many things have happened personally and with Israel. This might be a bit boring, but i want to have the details later. Let’s start with work:
On Sunday (first day of the work week here) the 13th, I went to an office at the Isrotel hotel chain. I wasn’t told much, but the manager of my ulpan said I should show up there to try to get a job. So I woke up, got my … well, not best, because American best clothes are just ridiculous here. So I got in my casual business attire and headed out, thinking of answers to probable interview questions. When I arrived it was like a cattle call of late teens and early twenties dressed in really casual clothing. Ummm, ok. Anyway, I filled out the application, went to where I was supposed to go, talked to some lady who sent me to Isrotel Sport. I was supposed to talk to the housekeeping supervisor. Well, that never happened (and still hasn’t other than the occasional “hello, how are you” as he walks by). Some lady (my future manager)who brought me to him had talked to him in very fast hebrew and next thing I know, I’m told I’ll be working in laundry starting the next day at 7am. Never even had to answer questions or present my resume. The only downside was that laundry is paid minimum wage and doesn’t offer rent subsidies. So off I went to get a uniform, ID, sign things and what not. I was sent to the office of my new hotel and got to talk to a lady, lidor, who had worked in the US for a little while. We were chit chatting and I mentioned I had even brought my resume. She asked to see it and was rather impressed (*sassy voice* thank you!). She was worried about me not wanting to stay so I explained to her that I understood before I even moved to this country that my first years of employment would be building back up to where I was in the ‘States. We talked about some other things too, overall I really liked her. A couple of days later, I was called into her (lidor) office. I was terrified I had done something wrong or too slowly and was going to be fired. But instead she told me that she managed to get me a contract! So I signed on for 6 months, get paid 26.?? Shekels an hour(which is more than minimum wage), and they pay half my rent. This all on top of the all-employee benefits: free rides on the 4 hotel workers’ bus lines in Eilat (meaning I can go anywhere in Eilat), I pay 5 shekles each day I work but can eat at the hotel 3 times a day every day of the week, health care, and lots of other things I can’t remember right now. The work itself is easy but I have run into the translation issue. The guy I work with is a bit older than me -probably in his 40s – and thinks that I am just some young punk out to make quick money. I had to tell him today that I’ve worked in this industry my whole adult life and that I’m college educated. He calmed down a bit after that.
Housing is great. Im in the new part of town, on the south west side. I can walk to the pharmacy, the grocery store, a couple of decent restaurants, there is a bus stop here, and a synagogue across the street. The walks around here are amazing but photos just can’t do it justice. Tree lined streets, going down hill towards the bay. Mountains to the east, north, and west. Small parks all around. It is just amazing. We have laundry here in the building, a beautiful pool, a little market. The apartment isn’t too big – kitchenette type thing, bathroom (with tub!), and two rooms each with two guys. My roommates are all really relaxed and we are rarely home at the same time.
So now on to a bit about Israel. A while back, 3 jewish teens were kidnapped while hitchhiking in the west bank. They were killed almost immediately but the authorities didn’t tell that to anyone. So for 3 weeks (I think, my memory sucks right now), the nation was worked up into nationalistic fever. Then, the boys bodies where discovered. It was a national tragedy. Within a couple of days, some Jews decided to take revenge by kidnapping, torturing, and killing a Palestinian boy. Things were very heated, but on the surface the government wasn’t going to rush into anything. However, behind closed doors, they had already been planning a new attack on Hamas. (Remember in an earlier post I mentioned a friend in the army was spooked? I think this is why) They used the ferver in Israel to easily start an air and naval offensive. After those targets were taken out, the reserves were called up and a ground offensive started. This is the 20th day of operation protective edge (including the navel and air attacks).
It is also good to note that there are peace rallies happening all over Israel. I think most Israelis want to end the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, but the problem our politicians can’t solve is the how. I have my own opinions, but I’m not in power.
Anyway, such is life. There has been two nights since I’ve been living here that the sirens have sounded. The most recent I didn’t even hear. I was in my room – which happens to be our apartments bomb shelter – watching TV. The first one though was scary. It was my very first night here. I had worked that day and was exhausted. I went to sleep early, probably 10ish. At around 1am, I was awoken to the long drone of the siren. I was out of bed when I heard the explosion. Groggy and still half asleep, I just grabbed my ciggies and headed down to the lobby before I really realized what was going on. Apparently I was not the onky smoker who needed a drag right then because many people were downstairs. I started talking to a girl who told me Eilat is a relatively safe city. But she was obviously shaken up and I wasn’t too far behind her. When my head finally caught up to the evenings events, my first reaction was to text mommy. I think I get some kuddo points for that. But then, like most Isrealis, I just went on with life and fell back to sleep.
Anyway, I’ll try to update more as I get into a routine and get life started here.