Tel Aviv Diary - May 9, 2019 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - May 9-13, 2019 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 9, 2019

spent the whole day trying to fix links. i didn't really want to celebrate independence day anyway. it's not a good year for celebration. i was even a bit shaken up by the fireworks - that are supposed to demonstrate victory and elation, but we just had a terrible election and a bit of a war... we're tired. so even though they said on tv that everyone was celebrating today - i was beating the crowds at IKEA and kvetching about the country. some of the crowds were Arab - fasting for Ramadan but on vacation from work on this holiday. some of the crowds were religious 0ne of the few days when the shops are open and it's not a Jewish holiday.

May 10, 2019

"So You're the one taking care of her tonight," the clerk at the grocery says to me as I come to the counter with my granddaughter at nine p.m.. I register shock at the fact that he recognizes her - it's night and this is not my neighborhood. "Let me guess," he goes on, "you're from the mother's side." "How do you know?" "You look just like her. " It's a 24 hour store, and the only other customers are guys buying beer and munchies. "What's the father's phone number? I'll add it to his app." While he registers the number, the little girl gets interested in the pricing gun. "Can you put a price on me?" she says to him, and he stamps a sticker on her hand But she wants a whole arm. And he gives it to her. the whole sweatshirt sleeve is dotted with prices. We leave and I walk home with her past all the people who are coming out for an evening of fun and games. I'm astounded -I'm not sure why. after all, we Are in Tel Aviv, one big happy family.

May 11, 2019

What I love about this country
Is that I can hate it freely
And lots of people will agree
And we will still hang our flags
On our balconies
and sing the anthem
about longing for a land
we now possess as if
it remains only a dream
with tears in our eyes
and complain
of injustice
but do not know
how to make it right.

This is what I love
About this State:
That we know
How good
It could be.

May 11, 2019

beach. beer. sunset.

discussion about cleaning up shelter for the long haul. and preparations for the eurovision.

it's all part of the city.

May 12, 2019

these are very busy days. sure, there are fun and games, and the threat of missiles always there, with eleven-year old Noa and her gymnastic team opening the Eurovision events. But as we were settling down to watch her on tv, we saw the ambulance from the window. my mind raced through the list of tenants - most of them elderly widows. and when the regular ambulance was replaced by an intensive care unit i opened the door of our apartment and began to snoop. it was my worst fear - our schizophrenic Auschwitz graduate has recently been invaded by her indigent ill-willed daughter, and our neighbor has been complaining to all of us that she will be destroyed by this daughter. And now it happened - she agreed to be taken to the hospital. but will the daughter take over the apartment and change the locks so she won't be able to come home? does the son know? we raced around trying to sort out this little drama, to give our neighbor the assurance that we are behind her, that she will be treated and returned home. at some point i felt like i can not bear the tension, the pressure i know she is under, and i retired to my bathtub.. we managed to see part of the granddaughter's appearance, and get someone to take away our old bed and mattress...

and yet we had an amazing lunch at Greco's. it actually felt Greek. I was afraid to order some of the usual greek dishes because they might not be equal to the dishes my late ex-mother-in-law taught me to make - like moussaka - but i saw the orders coming out and they were authentic - really authentic. the lamb crepes i had were better than i dreamed, and the wonder of the yoghurt dessert has kept me sane all evening, throughout the whole events.

May 13, 2019

What has happened to our neighbor? I was awake all night worrying about her and couldn't concentrate on my talk today - even messed it up. But a conference on Whitman and Democracy teetered on the verge of relevance anyway. the question of 'what are we doing here?' in academia is incredibly relevant - how can we contribute to society? how can we help to change the world? the question of relevance has been bothering me for decades, i've hated the dialogues in a closed circle that has nothing to do with life or reality. thank goodness we're beginning to turn around.

s Eurovision party at the Irish Ambassador's house was more useless but a lot more fun. People being nice to each other just because they are there.

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