Sunday, July 23, 2006

A day in my life...

Sometimes when you love someone you want to know everything about another person, down to what they ate at every meal during the day..., I wonder if you will read this...I don't think love actually ever goes away, it diminishes and ebbs and flows, but never dies..., for those who I love as family, friends and in many different ways and extremes and even if it may seem irreverant, here is what I did today...and I am wondering what you did...

06:45 Alarm goes off…To go for a run before work or not to go for a run? In my slumber as I try to pry my eyes open. My dialogue becomes more Jane Austen as I recall ‘pleasantries’ from the night before. I was very glad that I ignored text messages from latest annoyance in the form of a boy, note boy and not man, message to male population “PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL” do not text message, we are no longer 15 and have to skirt around the issue. Thinking perhaps it was a mistake to stay up and read after I had returned home, but you always fall into that trap where by if you sleep on Shabbat Afternoon you are awake at night, and the words of Gabriel Garcia Marquez always tempt me…something to fall in love with, ‘frenetic’, 'salaciousness’ and peragration, roll of the pages and I soak them up
07:00 Turn on lap top next to bed
Quote of the day: I am not crazy. It's the TV that's crazy. Aren't you tv? Homer Simpson
horoscope of the day which should be called ‘horror’ scope: The Sun in Leo adds supportive energy and vitality to your world and this feels pretty good. You should make the most of it while it lasts. Even though you are naturally busy and enjoy others, now you have even more of an opportunity to engage in all types of mentally stimulating activities. Just be careful of spreading yourself too thin too fast – Yeh whatever
7:05:ok put sneakers on and get on with this…I need to look good for the 2 weddings I am attending in August, which also includes getting an even tan on my chest
7:30 Shower, I notice my bright red chest and the line across my bust which makes me look utterly ridiculous, but none the less is an even tan for what the dress does not cover. Get ready etc, listen to Jack Johnson – flake…I can’t get the song out of my head…a definite favourite at the moment.
07:57 grab piece of fruit and leave house
08:02 run to catch bus…catch bus
08:05 Sit down next to smelly Israeli balding guy, and fish out from my bag my Siddur to join the ritual of other women in morning prayer. I am not actually sure of Hilchot regarding this practice, but I figure since I have enough time on the bus to do it, might as well say hello to G-d you know in case he really is out there and stuff,
08:25 Get coffee as a Sunday morning treat from café Ne’eman. The same smelly Russian security guard who is there everyday, has to check my bag before I go in …seriously people here need to buy deodorant.
08:30 I have to walk through the surgical ward to get to the lift, I see the Dr who was just too friendly too me once…I think that he got a warning, cause now we just avoid eye contact, I always wonder if he did, I didn’t want him to get into trouble, I just wanted him to stop hanging around during my treatments, to pull me aside and sit me down pat me on the back and find any opportunity to put his arm around me….I think maybe it would have been different if he was hot, but he too is a smelly Russian.
08:35 After climbing the broken stairs that stink of cigarette smoke from Dr’s on their breaks, I enter the department. The other Physio is already there and the student. She makes a comment on my skirt the following conversation is in Hebrew:
Her:“That skirt looks old”
ME:“It’;s relatively new I bought it last year in London”
Her:“Isn’t it fun for you that you can just go to London to go shopping”
ME:“Actually I went for a friend’s engagement (but I used the wrong word)”
Her: “Oh you went for the wedding” (her correcting me)
ME:”No for the engagement”
Her: ”Oh the engagement, Gila your Hebrew always sux on a Sunday morning”
I finish my coffee, which is actually really shit and tastes more like dilute Nescafe in a shitload of milk. Note to self: Bring in decent coffee to work.

09:00 We finally decided on who is seeing which patients. I follow the other Physio to treat a 4 month old baby, on the children's ward who I had no idea how to treat, she had low tone in her muscles, which meant that her muscles don’t have a lot of strength, and I was consulted last week, when I was all by myself of course to treat her, and try and get the poor thing to eat, and of course I had less than no idea what to do, so I did some research and came up with a treatment,…and then had to do the treatment in Arabic. So the mother had less than no idea what I was doing to her poor child. Today though, she smiled when she saw me, which is always a good sign.
09:30 I wander over in the direction of the Women’s ward. I like treating Women because usually the referrals are for post-op Cesarean Sections, so the Women aren’t really sick, and they are generally in a good mood because they have had a baby…except on the first day post-op when they think I am a Nazi because I make them get out of bed, go for a walk, and most importantly cough, which kills because of the scar/stitches from the operation. Today I walk into the ward, the Nurses see me and run to write me new referrals. I wouldn’t mind this so much of everyone they referred actually needed my treatment.

10:00 After sitting in front of three files deciphering what the hell they say in Hebrew, I figure that perhaps I do not need to see one patient, since according to her file she has given birth regularly and did not undergo an operation and even though a Dr has signed a referral saying she underwent a Cesarean Section. This requires investigation. I approach the head nurse, timidly and with much caution in Hebrew:
“Sorry to disturb you, I just wanted to check that this patient underwent a surgery because according to her file she didn’t”
The Nurse huffs “Show me the file”
Me” Uh here it is,, it says Normal Vaginal Delivery”
Her: “Let’s go ask the patient
Me: ok
(she is not in her room, so the nurse addresses her neighbour)
Nurse: Did she give birth regularly
Neighbour: ”Yes I think so”
The nurse grabs the referrall out of my hand and tears it up and adds as she walks out the door “sorry”.

11:00 I have finished treating, So I go back to the department, type up my treatments in Hebrew and then I check my email and begin another 3 way email between a friend in London, Aussie and I, in which we debrief our weekends, since mine finished first because we get cheated out of a Sunday, I get to start, this time I needed to have a good whinge about the concepts of honesty, loyalty and general home sickness, but then I get a new referral to go to internal medicine.
I go looking for the other Physio in Intensive care, she isn’t there, but the Dr there comments that he likes my earrings. I didn’t know what to say in return because he isn’t wearing any earrings and I don’t want to give him the wrong impression because he is like 3 times my age and not of my faith, so I told him he has a nice stethoscope….again it would be different if he was hot.
Outside the Nurses are in heated discussion about the War up North, discussing how a cousin couldn’t get out of Nahariya because of the bombings, I listen to their conversation and think how disconnected to the war I feel because I don’t know anyone who even lives up North.
11:40: After treating the next patient I return to the department to find the others, busy on the computers so I just sit there listening to the radio about the latest bombings, until they finish so we can go down to lunch.
12:00 Lunch of oily oily food…Israel must be the largest consumers of oil per capita…I really want a Boost Juice or a Juiced salad…I crave healthy food….fine I have been totally spoiled throughout my life growing up on caterer’s food, I wasn’t asking for my primary school lunch of Foccacia, or even my High school lunches of left over Thai stir fry, or University lunches that I made of fresh salads maybe with left over pan fried Atlantic Salmon, or my work lunches of left over Spatchkok and stir fried vegetables…but just less oil.
12:30 On the way back I spy the Dr from Intensive care and the Dr that everyone is afraid of disturbing, (who on my first day spoke to me and I had literally less than no idea what he was saying because it was in Hebrew with a thick Russian accent, so I just nodded and smiled), anyway, they were smoking. I joked to my colleague “Here we find the Gentleman’s club” She laughed but I don’t think she got it, because she is Half German, half Dutch and doesn’t always get humour, and I don’t always get hers as we converse in Hebrish.
13:00 Back on the Women’s ward, treating a patient that I had missed because she only spoke Russian, and in the morning I was losing my patience with the ineffectiveness of my treatments, due to language barriers and so I had left her in hope that her family may arrive to translate like they had done last week…I caught her walking in the hall, motioned her to follow me and managed to get across to her that we were going to walk down the stairs. Somewhere in the translation I think there was a thank-you and a smile, so slightly less frustrated I trek back to my department.
13:30 This is when I am mean to finish work…but I don’t, still typing notes, seeing a new referral etc etc
14:00 The Shuk for juicy fresh blood red plumbs…a craving
14:30 Home, email checking, quick searching for places to stay in Barcelona (I am going at the end of August), phone calls, msn chatting to my mother via web-cam she shows me new navy work pants that she as bought me for my new job (start in sept), and wants to send me, and also she is looking for a bolero (cardigan of sorts) to wear over my dress to the weddings, when she saw it was a boob-tube and how much of my chest it exposed I think she decided to this on her own volition. Have a conversation with my Dad about a rally they had in Sydney in support of Israel. It’s funny hearing about these things, just because I guess if I was there I would be participating in them, but here, I am just here….and that’s sort of it….

15:30 My sister drops in, and we go together to pick up my Nephew from Gan
16:30 In the park playing with my Nephews as we discuss what Meat restaurant we should go to the night before Rosh Chodesh Av. We decide on Darna, since we have already eaten at Gabriel, Olive and Joy together…they have eaten at Yoja with friends and some restaurants around the Shuk. Although Tommy my brother in law is set on el-Gaucho, my sister and I want to go to have the Moroccan experience, so of course we win!
Yishai is the cutest thing in the world, we are playing on the jungle jim, and I forget that actually these things are made for little kids, and so I hit myself on a bar, he comes over and hugs me and gives me a kiss Had interesting Halachic discussion with my Brother in-law, that we tried not to include my sister in, just in case she freaked out that I might follow his heretical advice.
17:30 Home and watching a re-run of ER, because living the medical dramas is not enough, I have to watch them in my relax time as well….switch over briefly to the news and watch the latest history unfold between my eyes…then I get bored
I sleep a bit, I read a bit, I talk on the phone a bit to other family to discuss an upcoming Bar mitzvah (Hmmm I wonder if I can wear my dress?), and make tentative arrangements to meet a fellow Aussie for a coffee later…We discuss how funny it is that people have been calling all of last week and emailing enquiring about our safety, when Jeru is totally not involved (at the moment), but really it was just nice to hear from everyone…When I told here that we should go out for coffee face to face for a chat…she says to me ”Oh are you feeling down about the war?' and I replied “ Nah, I only get upset about the trivial stuff in my life, the war doesn’t bother me at all…”
20:15 update blog….

Sunday, July 16, 2006


My neighbour's name is Shlomo Ben Shlomo. He sits on his mirpeset(porch) smoking cigarettes wearing a singlet top and shorts. He is retired. Well I assume he is retired because he is there every day and doesn't appear to do anything else. His family always come to visit, and a typical scene is him pushing his grand-daughter on a swing they have constructed on his mirpeset. He always says hello, he always says Shabbat Shalom, and he greeted me Chag Sameach on Yom Ha'atzmaut as we both put up our Israeli flags. He only got mad at me once when a friend of mine parked in his parking spot, but when I explained it was because I bought furniture and she was dropping it off so we could bring it up to my apartment, he broke out into a smile 'Zeh Beseder' 'That's Ok'.

I have received a lot of emails and phonecalls from overseas over the past few days concerned about my safety and the safety of Israel. My family told me how there was a rally in Sydney by the Jewish community in support of Israel and it is only because of this that I felt that perhaps the situation is more dire than I think.

I get up I go to work I come home and then maybe go out for dinner with friends. I am not really sure what else I am meant to be doing at the moment. I think it's crazy what is going on in the North of the country, but I am not really sure what I am meant to be doing sitting here in Jerusalem. My mum told me to buy bottled water and canned least she didn't tell me to leave the country. I guess all I can do is stay here. I guess that's the point...not to flee...sort of remniscent of the joke in '67 "The last one to leave Lod airport should turn the lights out", since everyone was fleeing Israel en masse. So no.1, I am going to stay.

Next. What if long range missiles reach Jerusalem? Apparently they can reach Tel-Aviv and since no-one knows exactly how well armed Hizbullah is (because Iran kindly give them whatever they want), so they assume they have these missiles. Maybe I thought, I should check if my building has a bomb shelter. I walked around the building and I didn't see one. Maybe I was being hysterical. I talked to some friends and this appears to be a normal reaction, they also tried to find out where the bomb shelter was in their building. Ok so this requires more investigation.

On my way home last night I saw Shlomo Ben Shlomo sitting on his mirpeset. I enquired from him in Hebrew:
"Now I don't want you to think I am crazy, but does this building have a bomb shelter?"
He laughs...
"No..there is one over in the next building that we use...but don't worry they are not going to hit Jerusalem, and the minute you hear rockets just come knock on my door and I will protect you" (Accompanied by the chuckles of his wife).

Alright maybe I was over reacting but at least I know now that my neighbour is happy to take care of me...I felt comforted. I thought to myself, even if Shlomo Ben Shlomo does not appear to have the physical capabilities to stop Katuysha rockets, I guess I can always knock on his door andask him where the bomb shelter is and I lugged my bottles of water up the stairs to my apartment.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The path of most resistance

In Sydney, I used to be jealous of all my friends that caught the ferry to work. They got on at Rose Bay, enjoyed the harbour views on the way to work arrived without the stress of morning traffic and there was always something to talk about. ‘Did you see so and so on the ferry?’, ‘I can’t believe ‘x’ ignored me on the ferry today!’, ‘Oh, I know him from the ferry…’. I wanted to work in the city, so I could be a part of the ferry crew….

Modes of transport to work, has been occupying my head space for a while now. Here in Israel, I either catch the 14 if I am on time or the 18 bus if I am late. I start either route towards the end of Emek Refaim and then if I am on the 14 it goes up Keren Hayesod, which in turn becomes King George at the Junction between Azza/Ramban/Agron. The path of the 18 is down King David St and then along Yaffo past Ben Yehuda.

The view that catches my eye along both routes that does not escape my thoughts and I really wonder if other people notice it as well, is that both these routes traverse the path of major sites of terrorist attacks over the past few years. I notice the Jerusalem stone memorial plaques and now my trained eye almost even searches for them unconsciously.

I remember noticing one that I hadn’t seen before, co-incidentally at the same moment that I heard on the radio that there had been an attack this year Pesach near the central Bus Station in Tel Aviv.

I am not trying to be morbid, this is merely an observation and a comparison to something that we probably don’t usually pay attention to because we may be used to looking for harbour views.

I think that this road trip that I take everyday, in me and maybe in larger society creates an undertone. For me seeing these plaques all the time is a reminder, others may not even notice it, perhaps it adds another wrinkle to another person’s brow, but I can’t ignore them, to me they are like Wally’s striped shirt.

The undertone rumbles ever now and again, and in light of the latest events, I cannot extricate the one from the other. For me, Operation Summer Rains is not some ‘tit for tat’ response like it appears in the news: - ‘You kidnapped our soldier so we are going to retaliate and blow up your Prime Minisiter’s office’. It runs so much deeper into the heart of the streets I travel to work every day.

For me Israel is saying ‘Stop making graveyards of our main thoroughfares’. Israel does not need to bury another soldier because of the militant arm of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, they have buried enough. Israel disengaged from Gaza last year in an effort to make Peace, to give the Palestinian People a chance to govern themselves, even if that meant that we would still be supplying water, electricity and medical services when necessary . Since then Qassam rockets from Northern Gaza have been fired constantly into the nearby town of Sderot, there has been no move by the Palestinian People to reign in the people responsible for these attacks, making statements is not enough and frankly if you want to be independent then part is this is being responsible for the violence that your people are perpetrating.

Israel is more than capable of living side by side with other religions. Christians are more than welcome to Israel, they freely visit their sacred sites, celebrate their festivals and walk freely amongst Israeli’s. Arab’s who reside within Israel’s borders can and do the same, they are invited to participate in our parliament and are even members of the Knesset. They receive the same health care, they can walk the streets of Israel, shop in the same supermarket as me, and catch the same bus. This is not a sign of a country that oppresses, this is a sign of a democratic state.

To me a sign of a people that oppress is those who do not educate their children that they live on the border with a country which has a right to exist, and recognise its freedom. The freedom and democratic right, to catch a bus to work. Instead it breeds extremism and sends terrorists in to blow up innocent people.

At some point Israel has to put its foot down and say enough. We won’t tolerate any more. What choice do they have?

This is what I think about on the way to work when I see these plaques below, and I imagine the harbour views of Sydney on occasion. I wonder how many of you are imagining the streets of Jerusalem…so below are pictures to ponder.

(The first pic is meant to come last, but hey it's nearly 3am and I just figured out how to use flickr so cut me some slack, after the pics I have listed the dates of the attacks)

Cafe Hillel 9/9/03, Caffit: attempted attack 7/03/02, Bus 14 22/2/04, Shlomzion Hamalka 3/3/96, Ben Yehuda 2/12/01, Ben Yehuda 4/9/97.

The Path of Most Resistance more Photo's

Sbarro's attack 9/08/01

Sbarro's Today, now Cafe Ne'eman, where I get my morning coffee and Cheese pastry (12 shek special together)

Attack at Cafe Moment, opposite the Prime Minister's residence, 9/03/02

Cafe Moment Today, with security outside.

Attack on Rehov Azza, Bus 19, 29/01/04

This particular attack I thank G-d for the fact I was not there, as for the 3 weeks previous to it I walked past this exact spot almost every day, and it happened just after I had left, while I was on a plane back to Sydney.