Moving to Tel Aviv is a rite of passage for a young individual in Israel. People tend to think that after a standard issued “Bar Mitzvah” and a well-served army duty, you’ve done everything needed to consider yourself a run-of-the-mill Israeli. They are wrong. There’s a certain magic aura surrounding this city, “Fairy Dust” if you will; but instead of granting you the ability to fly from the second star straight ’till morning and get to Neverland, it gives you the perspective needed to become a real citizen in this crazy little state.
Four long years ago, when I was just a boy of 18, I came into this city for the first time with a little voice in my head that cried out: “you will make this place your home.” It’s not that hard to understand why a young gay teen in Israel would believe this place is heaven. All the opportunities present themselves before me: all of the parties and clubs, all the male encounters that I can dream of, and last but surely not least – it’s as far as can be in this little spec of a country from my family. The word ‘freedom’ comes to mind. Oh, how naïve I was. Sure, I did get to mess around with the new toys I got for keeps, I did what every guy would do and rented out my own small place in the world and was sure I became the big-shot I always wanted to be. It wasn’t long until I got my first couple of bills and had to face the cold blunt truth — I need a job. With a job came responsibility, and with that came character. I built myself from the ground up, and learned more about the world as I learned new and valuable lessons about myself.
The first lesson I learned being that living in this place is expensive, to say the least. Horribly and disproportionately expensive. “Expensive” is a nice word I use to excuse my eating instant noodles for four straight years because my rent is too high and I can’t afford groceries. However, since I have decided to make this place my home, I’ll do the only reasonable thing I can and work from 9 to 5 (thank you Miss Parton for the inspiration) just to afford the occasional coffee. Apparently Tel Aviv is one of the most expensive cities to live in, 35th place out of 193 cities checked by “Expatisan” on January 2014. You would think that a state where every day that passes brings with it a new intricate conflict would let us young people have a little peace of mind when it comes to our bank accounts.
I said earlier that living in Tel Aviv is a rite of passage, and I stand by it. The living expenses seem too high to bare, and true- I’ve postponed my life for a couple of years now just so I can afford my academic education and other privileges that should be considered basic rights. But that moment when you see people from all over the country, from every race and gender, left wing or right come together just to complain on how much money they pay for some chocolate yogurt- you understand that there isn’t any conflict in the world that can-not be solved. With sweets. And that, at least in my opinion, is the kind of realization that will get you through another day in this place.