Tel Aviv Diary February 6-10, 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - February 6-10, 2020- Karen Alkalay-Gut

February 6-10, 2020

If you're reading this, know i keep a diary - but most of my friends don't know this. That's fine with me because they might try to influence what I write. And I need my space... It's like a secret between me and you.

Because we needed a new hand mixer we stopped by the shop for electric items. A wall full of televisions announced: "a new wave of terrorism" and for a moment i balked. What happened, I asked the salesman. Three acts today. Not counting the balloons, not counting the rockets, not counting the ones we never hear about because they are stopped in advance. And yet here we are, buying a new hand mixer from an Arab salesman, then stopping at the pharmacy to get medicine from an Arab pharmacist (I am finally beginning to understand what the guys behind the counter say to each other in Arabic - it gives me a great sense of pride.), and then as we left the shopping center I recognized the guard I had had a conversation with a few months ago - visibly Muslim. he did not recognize me - but at the time he told me that i was an extraordinary person. i guess i've aged since then.

An interview with a French researcher this evening about the Israel Association of Writers in English made me realize again how important it is that writers help one another to find their readers. there are some wonderful writers here who would become even more wonderful if they could get feedback from some of the audiences here. But so many lose heart and give up trying to publish, or give up writing without ever knowing if they could have touched someone had they met.

And more and more I believe we could touch each other if we knew who we were and what we had to say.

February 7, 2020

Two hours of sleep. Before that 3 lectures on the archeological wonders of Syria, Iran, and Lebanon. For the fourth, Ezi had to help me out of the lecture hall - 350 people in the audience. some kind of stomach thing. The last thing I remember is Baalbek and - surprisingly- it's Jewish population. and i had such a great day planned - one set of grandchildren after another. eina bisha.

but how does one say no to grandchildren. After a few hours of non-being i woke to full-function. Friday night is friday night.

fif i showed this to you?

you might be interested in seeing it again

There was a cholent for lunch - a cholent for 30 people. after that a dinner for 4. and wonderful conversation all day long. no wonderful i slept well that night. i couldn't reach my brother to bless him on his birthday, but i'm sure he's happy at the topics we chose.

February 9, 2020

Sunday always begins with a rush. Whatever we didn't accomplish from Friday noon until today we race to finish on Sunday morning. we got home in the afternoon out of breath. i had walked to the university for a meeting and back earlier and the cold was beyond anything I've experienced in the daytime in Tel Aviv. Of course I grew up in it, but here who has the right clothes for winter? who has the right heating? it's so foreign. We've been reveling in every single bit of sunshine we can get this winter, to the point where the parks are crowded and the cafes have no place to sit on the street when the sun's out, but are bare and barren otherwise. Try explaining all this to the tropical garden we have outside - they have no idea what is going on with the weather and blossom at the wrong times and then freeze.

And the red alerts continue. For me, it's just a bleep on my phone. For some kid in the south, it's a sleepless night in the bomb shelter.

February 10, 2020

This summer, when our street was being taken apart and remodelled, the tree in front of our house suffered terribly. Twice the bulldozers knocked down major branches and only one sad branch remained. It was very sad. i've been taking photographs of the way the flowering fills the windows of our apartment for years, and now the windows are bare. But today, the new year of the trees, there was suddenly one flower appeared. Tu Bi'Shvat! New beginnings are possible.

happy birthday for the trees.

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