I’ve been in Haifa for two weeks, which probably deserves some sort of recognition.
Here I am: able to navigate successfully from point A to point B regularly; starting to get good at calculating the exchange rate ($1 = 3 shekels) without thinking too much; sweating more than I’ve ever sweated before and unable to explain my feelings in Celsius.
There’s bigger selection of fruit than I’m used to, but strangers don’t smile as much. I’ve never lived this close to an ocean you can swim in.
I forgot about living in the middle of an alphabet you can’t read. Hebrew looks like upside-down music notes, and I can never remember what my receipts are for.
It didn’t hit me that I was moving until I made it all the way here, standing in my new room, unpacking all my dresses. And then suddenly it did. Everything I hadn’t been thinking about for nine months, all at once.
I haven’t been able to figure out which buttons are doorbells and which ones are light switches in the stairwell of my building. I kept ding-dong ditching the neighbors for a while, but now I just feel my way up in the dark.
Two weeks isn’t enough to figure anything out. But I know a few things. That there’s an Arab bakery a few minutes walk from where I live that’s open on Shabat. That “toda” means “thank you” and “rega” means “wait” (and the accompanying hand motions). Which staircases will take me home. The difference between doorbells and light switches will come with time.
I’ve already used up two bus cards, so I’m well on my way to settling in.
Some things remind me of Amman (the hills everyone calls mountains, the sandstone buildings, the cucumbers stacked in crates outside corner stores), and some things remind me of other places.
I think that’s what happens when you move around a lot–wherever you are ends up being an amalgamation of all your previous homes.