Thursday, October 12, 2006

Settling In

A Plus: 1 Month, 3 Weeks, 5 Days
The Sukkot holiday is winding down.  In shul this morning, people's arba minim, the unpoened palm fronds, myrtle and willow branches, and etrogs shaken together during morning prayers for the Sukkot holiday, are starting to look a bit worn.  The leaves on mine have all but dried, and some fall off every time I shake them.  Tomorrow is Hoshannah Rabbah, the last day we use the arbah minim before the end of the holiday.  Meanwhile, I'm seeing more and more familiar faces as my local friends who left on vacation drift back into town.  Saturday is Shabbat (sabbath,) plus the festivals of Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, three major celebrations wrapped up into one.  On Simchat Torah, we read the end of the Torah, rewind, and start again for the new year.  We also begin reciting the daily prayer for rain, marking the official onset of winter on the Jewish calendar.  As I was walking home from shul this morning, I found myself splashing through puddles.  Winter has jumped the gun, the rains started two days before we even asked. 
After the last thrilling couple of months, it's a relief to finally have a routine down.  I've got my place.  I have a fridge.  I know the town.  I'm working.  I'm here.  There don't seem to have been any technical glitches so far with my telecommuting scheme, and I'm now busy with two design projects.  Per my agreement with my employer, I am in my office from 6 PM until 10 PM Monday through Thursday (8 AM through Noon Pacific Standard Time,) so that they have dedicated hours when they know they can call and get a hold of me.  I am also free to work other hours as is needed, and they send me enough to keep me very occupied.  The advent of high-speed internet, which was just coming on line in Israel when I lived here four and a half years ago, has made a major shift in the entire aliyah experience.  When I set foot in my office, it's as if I've stepped back into California.  I can sit here in my Jerusalem office, talk over a nearly perfect phone connection to friends and coworkers in the states.  When I call equipment vendors, I usually don't even mention that I'm not in Walnut Creek any more, and they don't know to ask.   I listen to my familiar Bay Area radio stations, all of which have internet broadcasts, while I work.  Other olim (immigrants) still keep up with their local sports teams and watch internet broadcast television from the states.
Despite the major advantages of telecommuting; not having to start over all at once with a new career, new language, and a new, lower budget, the main drawback is that puts me into an Anglo-hermit lifestyle.  I can sit here in my apartment for the entire day, just listening to broadcast news and English talkshows while I work.   In the short run, it's comforting to swim in my own language, but at the end of the day, it's depressing to live without human interaction. 
Another problem I've been having has been getting shidduch dates.  When I first arrived I was amazed at how many offers I was hearing about, but there's very little follow-through, and ideas for shidduchim don't necessarily result in real dates.  The problem is that nobody comes directly to me, they usually go to cousins or friends to ask about me or mention potential shidduchim, so I only hear whispers that someone was asking about me, and I don't know where to go to follow up.  The fact that I disappear into my telecommuting bubble for most of the week doesn't help matters either.
So my next mission is to pop the bubble.  The local ulpan (intensive Hebrew course) starts next month, but it only convenes once a week, and the other Ulpanim don't start until January.  I have some open hours in the morning, and the holidays are ending, so I'm researching different programs or courses which will be starting up over the next couple of weeks.  Jerusalem is a big city, and I'm sure there's a spot for me out there somewhere.


Baleboosteh said...

Glad to hear you are settling in well with your apartment and work.
About the shidduch dates, you haven't been there for 2 months yet, be pateint, it will work out just fine - I think you just need to give it some time.

Yaakova said...

Is SF's ALLC 97.3 ("Alice") one of the radio stations you tune in to? That was my all-time favorite radio station! I just wish I knew how to listen to it online.
It's great that your job setup is working out smoothly. Very cool.

Ephraim said...


I listen to all sorts of stuff, Modern Rock, Classical (if I need to concentrate), NPR, etc. You can listen to Alice by going to and clicking on "Listen Live."