Do you know what a “Bubby Cart” is? Maybe you know it as a “grocery cart” but I call it a “Bubby Cart” because it’s what all the little Jerusalem Bubbies (grandmas) use to schlep their groceries around the “shuk” (market). So I recently bought a rather fancy one (thanks, mom!) and I took off the bag to fashion myself a bit of a dolly. I took the bus to the seller’s apartment and boom- first hurdle- no elevator. It’s cool, she helps me bring it down the 3 flights and I put it on the “dolly.” No ropes? No problem- I’ll just hold on to it for dear life. Made it to the bus stop with little trouble and only mildly horrified stares greet me. What- haven’t you ever seen people move medium/large furniture on a public bus? I get on the bus and I am chilling. I mean, I’m winning at life!
Spoke too soon.
See, school hasn’t started yet for the children of Israel, so at a stop between there and home, not one, not two, but three moms with carriages and 2 spare kids each load the bus. And not just the bus. The exact area where me and my cabinet are.
How big is this bus, you wonder? It’s a double bus with nothing but empty space for the kids to frolic if they so chose. Which they did not. They chose to stand directly on my toes. Live, love Israel, amiright? So one mom gets off, then the next and finally I’m thinking I hit the trifecta, but no, Mom #3 decides to try and let me out. But in the process, she blocks the door and knocks off 2 of my cabinet’s plastic feet. Whoops. Finally I get out of the bus and decide to take the light rail down the home stretch. And good news! It’s only 3 minutes away! And it stays 3 minutes away for the next 10 minutes. Ultimately, the sign switched to “train stopped” and I realize it’s me and my cabinet, bumping down Jaffa Street at rush hour, with the judging eyes of all Jerusalem upon me.
One things that’s really fun (read: infuriating) about people in Jerusalem is that they stop for no reason, for any length of time, in the middle of the street, whenever. It is the most bizarre phenomenon. So there I go, bobbing and weaving around the human statues, trying to will the street shorter or the cabinet lighter or the weather cooler (it goes without saying that I was not enjoying the August Jerusalem heat at the moment.) I’m almost there, I can see my block, and the cabinet slips off the dolly with a thud. After some colorful language and a quick “why me?” a sweet girl offers to help me. I first say no, my independence speaking for me, but then allow her to help me so I can make the last few feet on my own. I schlep the cabinet up my stairs, alone, clean and stock the shelves and drink about 2 liters of water, unbelievably (maybe too?) proud of my accomplishment.
Are all my tasks this huge and difficult? No way. Doesn’t anyone ever help me? I would be remiss to not mention the amazing people in this country who help me in countless ways every day- the people who let me use their laundry machines and the kind souls who have me for meals. The generous people who give me rides when they can and the incredible friends who offer me support when I’m sick or sad. Israel is full of beautiful, kind-hearted people who I know I will grow to need and count on just as much as they people I left.
But for right now, I am still new here. I haven’t yet built my family and my friendships are still young. You can’t make an old friend in less than a year. So I will continue to fix my own appliances and move my own furniture. I will pick up my own necessities and find my own way to the party. I will even figure out a way to fix my good-for-nothing couch somehow. Because I have decided to move away from my safety net and totally on my own- and I wouldn’t change that decision for anything. And if you need me, I’ll be eating cereal on my folding chair.