Thursday, October 18, 2007

My New Diggs

After searching for weeks and weeks, I woke up a few days ago with a splitting sleep-deprivation headache and was ready to throw in the towel on living in Jerusalem at all. I've been surviving like a Hamas operative for the last two months; always sleeping in a different bed and never staying in the same room for more than a few hours at a time. The gnawing uncertainty of knowing when I would finally have a roof over my head and constant worry about where I would be able to go to get my work done had finally gotten to me. Even the apartments in Pisgat Ze'ev are being snatched up within hours of coming on the market. I made some phonecalls and was trying to get the phone number of a Giva (hilltop settlement/trailer park) I had visited a few months ago that accepts singles. I had talked to some friends about moving out to Ramat Beit Shemesh, which, like Pisgat Ze'ev, is full of married couples, but unlike Pisgat Ze'ev, is far, far away from Jerusalem, (40 minutes by car assuming no traffic.) I called Moshe just to let off steam.

A few hours later, Moshe called me back, "Great news, I just got an apartment on Yochanan Ben Zakai. Do you want my apartment in Baka?"
Baka? A two-minute walk from Emek Refaim? Of course!
After my initial elation, I took a moment to consider the pros and cons.

1. Thriving anglophonic singles community.
2. The price: $500/month, roughly equivalent to what I would be paying were I to stay in Pisgat Ze'ev, and well below market value.

1. Leaving all my friends and family behind.
2. Less natural setting, more citified.
3. I could get more square footage for my money in Pisgat Ze'ev than in Baka.

Oh, and one more pro: The Baka place is available right now.

I grabbed the place. Moshe, the landlady, and I made a deal: I could rent the place if I were to pay for the rent the day Moshe's lease ended, and in exchange she wouldn't post it on the Internet. That way, she doesn't lose a single day's rent, and I have no competition. I gladly grabbed the deal. After all, if this place was anything like all the other places I've seen over the last few months, it could easily be bid up to $600.

Of course, Cousin Rafi looked over the lease with his little red pen. With an occasional outraged, "Mah Zeh!?" (What's this!?) he went to work on it. The main problem was that the landlord wanted a security check for 5,000 shekels, a security payment of 6,000 shekels to be returned after I move out, and a signature from a guarantor. Usually they only want one of those.

I met with the landlady, who Moshe described as a very nice, understanding, person, and we went through the contract. We agreed that I would only need to provide the 6,000 shekel cash security payment, and we could do without the additional security check and guarantor. "You look Yashar" (Yashar = straight, upright.)

Last night I met her at her house, and she had rewritten the contract with my changes included. We signed, I paid, and I got a key, so tonight I sleep under my own roof for the first time in, well, let's see.

I've been living out of suitcases for the last 47 days.

Of course, the place isn't huge, and it's already furnished, but I figured out I can fit most of my stuff anyway.

Here are some pictures (most of the stuff is Moshe's.)

A view from the entrance doorway. That's the door to the bathroom at left, living room in front.
The bedroom. Room for one bed and a slide-out bed for a guest, plus a large closet (not shown.)

The living room. Table, chairs, and bookshelf included.

Window to the back area. There seems to be a preschool out back during the day.

Moshe walkin' round.

The kitchen (part of th emain room.) This one's got an oven, unlike the old place.
The bathroom. With tub! (Not that I'd ever use it.) There's some storage over the tub.Storage over the tub.

The new tenant.
Moshe made us some egg sandwiches with goat cheese. Man, they were great!

This definitely deserves a shehecheyanu (prayer of thanksgiving.)


Montifioryi said...

Who is Moshe exactly??? You never intreduced him properly.

Evan said...

Hi Montifioryi,

Actually, I mentioned him here:

Yes, it was a long time ago.