First, I want to start off by saying that I noticed I don’t post all the amazing, wonderful things going on in life. On the whole, things are going well here.
But I need to vent a bit and don’t want to talk shit to the few people I trust around me. So here we are.
Tonight is Passover. And oh my, what a cluster fuck it was. To start off, I had asked for this Friday and Saturday off. I wanted to go to the kibbutz seder and spend time with the few close friends I have in this country. The assistant reception manager had originally given me Friday off. But then it was switched before the schedule was finalized to have me work Friday over night and Saturday evening.
Then, I was invited to attend the seder here at the hotel. The general manager invited me. And being that I from the south, I assumed that the person inviting me would be there as a host. I thought to myself that if I couldn’t spend time with those I wanted to down on the kibbutz, it would good to get some face time with the boss lady. So I said yes. It started off with a misunderstanding between me and the holiday/Shabbat driver that the hotel pays to drive employees from their homes to work. I was told he would pick me up at 7:15pm. At 6:45 he said he was on his way…. So I rushed to get ready and was on my way at 7. The seder didn’t start until 7:45 and I was stuck putzing around at work while my co workers wondered why I was here hours before my shift. I tried to explain that I was invited by Boss Lady but the looks were undeniable – nobody spends time at work if they don’t have to.
At 7:45 I go to the dining room where the seder is to be held. Only one family. I figured I would give it a few minutes so I go to my table. Originally I was told I would be sitting with 4 other recent immigrants without any family here. They would be soldiers but at least we could wallow in the awkwardness together. When I got to the table, it was for 3 people in total. So what should have been a bearable awkward 5 would now be an awkward 3 seated in the worse part of the room because everyone would be walking past to get to their tables. Ok…. So after a few minutes I decided I would give it the Israeli Standard Time and wait outside until 8. When I made the second trip in, there were three families and still no one else at my assigned table. So I walk back outside to make a phone call. The assistant reception boss man came out at 8:15 to say they were starting. Sure enough, the room was fuller but I saw that my table was still empty. Also, the Boss Lady was no where in sight. So I walked my happy ass right back out. On the way out of the hotel, I saw the assistant boss man and asked him if Boss Lady was attending tonight. That would be a big ol’ nope. Never was even in the plans apparently. So I tried to politely let him know that I would be back in 3 hours for my shift but wouldn’t be at the seder.
I could have sat there awkwardly by myself until another table, all of whom where guests by the way, gave me a pity invite. But that is not how I wanted to spend this holiday. I WANTED to be with my friends on the kibbutz. Since that couldn’t happen, it would have been better to spend the night at one of the three other invites I had gotten from new friends in the city. But alas, I was a token “oh look at all the good we do for the new immigrants” table. And that is not a feeling one enjoys alone.
So I walked down to the old city. I roamed the closed down shuk until I ended up at a small street food restaurant in the Christian quarter. I had a decent meal there only to find out that their card reader wasn’t working. So then me and one of the employees searched for an ATM open at 9pm Shabbat and holiday evening… oh how fun.
When we finally found one and I paid what was due, I wandered some more all while still dressed in my holiday best – cowboy boats included. Side note, the click clack of the boots on the old city pathways sounds wonderful. But those stones are slippery. Through all the wondering and past all the closed shops, I ended up deep in the Muslim quarter before I had realized it and decided I should probably head out. As it would happen, the Kotel was the closest area out of the Muslim quarter. So I sat there for a while. First, on a balcony outside of the official plaza but with a nice view. Then inside the security perimeter but not actually at the wall. I watched as the city police and soldiers gathered and prepared for tomorrows crowds. And chuckled at the 3 asian tourists who almost wondered into the woman’s section and then later took pictures next to the signs posted on Shabbat warning people not to take pictures because it is shabbat. I tried praying some things out, but unsurprisingly, I didn’t get any thundering replies. So when it was close to 11, I wondered on back to work.
And now, here I am. I’ve already made a few mistakes tonight. And I’ve managed to peeve a few of the other poor souls stuck here by forcing them to handle a guest who didn’t have the breakfast boxes they ordered. There hasn’t been a single shift in my month I’ve worked here where I haven’t had some sort of problem. Most of them are because of the horrible level of Hebrew I have (although, to be fair, some of the arab workers are also in need of a few lessons in Hebrew as well).
I am just so sick and tired of always being confused as to what is going on around me. I’m also so disappointed that I keep assuming people are going to have similar cultural understandings (Example: someone inviting you to a dinner, and they aren’t actually going to be there).
I thought I would have problems with the security situation. But truth be told that doesn’t really bother me at all. I am used to seeing young adults – kids really – walking around with AK47 in tactical gear. I’m amused every time I see the special UN vehicles driving around town or parked in my apartment building’s parking lot. Even the bus bombing the other day didn’t phase me and it was just a few blocks from where I was and where I was living – the same road my bus takes. But this constant state of feeling helpless and confused … that is taking its toll.
I also am still trying to bite my tongue on some things at work. It is SO hard for me to go back down to a receptionist. I have to ask for permission for the smallest things like upgrades. My hands are tied when something goes wrong. I can’t offer the small things we could do in order to make a guest feel better. I know I am good at this kind of job, but oh lord does it suck to have to start all over from the very bottom.
Anyway, I’m mostly just tired now. Like I said, things are going well. I have more to be happy about than not. This is just my space to bitch.