Moving day finally arrived! We packed up our sublet in Arnona and moved across town to a new apartment in Jerusalem. We were so grateful to have found our long-term apartment quickly and even more grateful that the landlord and former tenants spoke English! But little could have prepared us for the day ahead.
Walking through the door, we were greeted by quite the balagan (mess). The floors were covered in debris and dirt from repairs. The bathroom was full of grime and mildew. The cabinets and refrigerator desperately needed cleaning. Luckily, the former tenants hired a cleaner. Not so luckily, he arrived late and said he only had time to clean the floors. Thus, Aryeh and I had our job cut out for us before the lift arrived later that day. We went to work cleaning and scrubbing, while workers finished up repairs in the apartment. (The newly-washed floors got very dirty again.)
The wonderful former tenants felt horrible about the mess and ordered another cleaning service for the next day. (UPDATE: The new cleaning service was worse than the first. Three scary men came into the apartment and left it dirtier than before. They kept yelling and asking for money, charging an enormous fee. It felt like a scam, and we were terrified.)
Aryeh and I ran out in the afternoon to buy a washing machine. We thought it came with the apartment, but it did not—like many appliances in Israel. My criteria for the washer were simple: English menu and not tiny—like many appliances in Israel. We found one and dashed home to meet the movers. Turns out, we didn’t have to dash because the truck was held up in Ashdod and didn’t arrive until nightfall.
When the truck finally arrived, the movers pried open our container sealed three months ago in Jacksonville, FL. We watched in awe as they carried our sofa up four flights of stairs and right through the door of our apartment (phew!). The movers graciously reassembled our dining room table—a family heirloom that moved to Israel and back to the States thirty years ago, and now returned to Israel once again! The head mover kept asking if we had “Bingo.” We had no idea what he was talking about (did he want to play the game?). We later learned that Israelis call the moving checklist “Bingo.” For a frantic moment, we couldn’t locate our custom-made Ketubah, a genuine work of art from Kalman and Avraham in the Old City. Thank G-d, we finally found it—Bingo!
When the movers were about to leave, I searched for my wallet to tip them. I had a hard time finding it and, when I did, I discovered that all my cash was gone. Panic and fear set in. So many workers were in the house today; anyone could have stolen it. We eventually found the culprit and hopefully will get our money back. At the time, I was just shaken up and SO grateful this crazy day was coming to an end.
But…it wasn’t the end. As we were about to go to sleep, we noticed the air conditioner leaking water all over the bedroom wall and floor. The unit had JUST been serviced that day but, alas, it was still broken. We schlepped one mattress to the second bedroom (now filled with boxes), and Aryeh slept on the couch that miraculously made it here. We tried to drift off to sleep, looking forward to a fresh start in the morning.
Okay, moving day wasn’t all bad. Our incredible landlords knew we had a hard day, and they sent us pizza for dinner. We opened the box to a message that read (in Hebrew): To our dear Ronay family, Welcome to Israel! Enjoy your meal ♥.
We are learning Israel is a place of extremes. Extremely kind, honest people…and extremely rude, dishonest people. Living in Israel has extreme highs and lows, just like the mountains that traverse its terrain. Aryeh and I look forward to climbing more mountains together (hopefully nicer ones). Stay tuned for Part 4 of our Aliyah Adventures!