The last 5 months of my life - which, if I'm honest, always seemed like it would never come to an end - have been filled with everything and anything, from the wonderful, to the unpredictable, to the downright crazy.
Talking of which, let us continue a hallowed tradition of first discussing the cats.
Last week, I found myself sitting arse-down in the mud outside the kitchen area. I was digging a grave using a fork while my friend looked on, cradling a dead kitten. If that doesn't signal the end of ulpan or encompass the transformation I have undergone, then I don't know what does.
This is a different dead kitten, by the way, to the one I discussed last post- Scruffy (BDE). This week's dead kitten was one of Black and White Mummy's 4, one of the ones I called 'the twins', as they looked so alike. The other twin has since also died.
I'd noticed that she was semi-abandoned and having difficulty breathing on Friday night. Much like Scruffy, she wasn't eating. Unlike Scruffy, the kitten had a support network around her, and was being kept warm by her siblings and Mummy.
The next day however, early in the morning, I counted up Mummy and one kitten, two kittens, three... but couldn't see the other, ill one. I scanned around a bit more and eventually saw it much in the same place we'd left it only 12 hours before.
It couldn't move. Mummy had clearly left it to die, and moved the others away (yet more fascinating cat psychology I've learned), so I grabbed it and took it to my room, trying to keep it warm.
To put a very sad and distressing story short, the little kitten - one of whom I'd helped raised and fed ever since they were born - sat with me for about 20 minutes, before dying in my arms.
Her little nose went white; her eyes, glassy. So along came Sarah and we set to finding a way to give the kitten a good burial.
I had to keep double checking with her that the kitten was in fact dead. Despite seeing it happen literally infront of me, I found it very hard to believe it.
The only thing we could find (despite searching far and wide) to dig with was an abandoned fork. So Sarah sat cradling the dead kitten, while I channelled my inner dog and started going hell-for-leather with the fork.
After a while, I'd managed to create a large enough hole to safely cover the dead kitten and be sure that noone would step on her. We put the earth back over her, almost like we were tucking her in to sleep. I covered up her face last. I still couldn't quite believe the sequence of events, all in the space of an hour.
But, onto less scarring things - finally, after all of the crap that rained down (it feels like years ago now, but I think it was only a month ago. Once again, the Ulpan time-space paradox), I finally have some exciting news to report -
It's all looking UP!
I have found a job. But, not only a job - the perfect job! - in online content writing.
It's in a perfect location, right by a Cofix and some bars etc, in the heart of Ramat Gan, and I'd be writing THE. WHOLE. DAY. It's also in a really cool company and my boss seems amazing.
I've also managed to find an apartment, located in central TLV, in walking distance of pretty much everything. So I'm a fairly happy bunny.
I'm also heading back to London for a week, to visit my family and 'celebrate' Christmas (read: eat chocolate, watch TV and get my haircut/go sales shopping).
I'm excited to be going, also because it's the first time I've ever left Israel, being absolutely certain of the exact timing of my next trip. Previously, I'd be quietly distraught and scheming internally at ways in which I could stay in Israel for just a little while longer.
This time, I know that London is there and waiting for me and that I'll be visiting again in a few months. I don't have to worry that I will never make it back to Israel, because it is now where I call home - for real.
I'm leaving on a high, having finally got all my shit together, and - despite some rather horrible bronchitis/laryngitis and self-imposed sleep deprivation - I feel great - happy, relaxed and excited for what will be and is to come.
Otherwise, the ulpan has vacated, and ironically I'm literally the last person to leave.
The place is quite nice but a bit eerie without the hustle and bustle of everyone and everything. The cats are free to roam the hallways, uninterrupted by people. It's pretty great, actually.
It does come over a bit like 'The Shining' at points though. The other day I got so bored (and hungry - I 'd forgotten the ulpan stops providing us food now), that I went exploring. I climbed up all 3 buildings and tried to get on to the roofs. While all doors were locked, using my cat-like abilities, I managed to climb up and squeeze through the window to gain access.
I can't believe I left it until the last few days I was in ulpan to do this. The view was absolutely breathtaking - I could see the West Bank!! -
|Armon Hanatziv - West Bank to the left; East Jerusalem to the right|
I've had a great time in Jerusalem lately. Despite what happened, despite the random terror attacks, Jerusalem has actually rather grown on me.
For me, it used to be a place of only bad memories, tension and general lack of opportunity. It was where I was biding my time until I left.
But, then several things happened - I met some fantastic people, namely my colleagues at Masa; some of the girls from my ulpan (they made my birthday one of the nicest, calmest and best I've ever had), as well as some other factors.
But Tel Aviv is where I've set to lay my hat...well, as soon as all my things are in one place - as I've had to stay in Jerusalem to finish my job at Masa (which actually I don't really mind so much), I've had to stay at the ulpan until I leave for London. When I return, it'll be to Tel Aviv. I therefore need to keep my bags all in one place, and move them before I leave for London.
Once again, David HaRomani has helped me out. He kindly offered to pick me up form the ulpan in his car and schlep my cases from ulpan to Oranit, just outside Tel Aviv, leave them there for a week and let me collect them when I return to move them to Tel Aviv. It's a massive help - I needed them to be near Tel Aviv! - and puts a lot of worry to rest in my mind.
In the meantime, just like I said, it's all coming up Milhouse,....or Fliss. The 11th hour is better than the 12th. I knew I'd get there eventually!
All that is left to say is Merry Flissmas to you all... and a Happy Jew Year :)