Tuesday, 28 January 2014

One of the most amazing things about Israel

There's one thing everyone should have a right to have at least once in their life, it's just so amazing that's it's a crime not to share!

It's something I long for every time I'm away from Israel, it comes back in my dreams on a regular basis, it makes me salivate. It's almost orgasmic, I'm telling you. I don't know what my life would be without it, probably very sad.

I'm of course talking about the grape juice (Of the Prigat brand) and the grape flavoured water (any brand), which is slightly healthier and less sweet than the juice. I mean,what else? I drink on average a litre of the stuff a day. Near work it's 12.90 shekels for 3 litres, a reasonable price.

Seriously though, to me, it tastes like Israel, every time I know I'm going there, it's on my mind. It's just so good. Do yourself a favour and order a gallon online! If you pity me you can send your donations to the office.

- On a more serious note, my spirits are up! I think I've found something less isolated for March and April, it's only available during the period I was looking for and it looks nice on the pictures, I'm visiting tomorrow! Happy me! 

Monday, 27 January 2014

Day 11 (Day 7 at work), change of tone.

I found a shoebox, wait, I mean a studio to live in! Woop, woop!

It's so small I wonder if people in China have bigger space. It's probably kif-kif, but without the pollution.

The good thing is that I'm literally five minutes away from the Old City, that's going to be quite cool. I don't think this outweighs the bad things (small, small, small, did I mention small?) but it's just for sleeping, I'm working all day and it might encourage me to get out more. I signed and paid anyway so there's no going back though I only paid for a month, if I lose my sanity I can always move after that. We'll see.

Smile, everything will be fine!

I really don't know what else to write about tonight. Truth is I'm not at my happiest. Living in the same room as my editor has proven a nightmare and I think it made me rush towards that shoebox. Not the end of the world, not the end of the world, not the end of the world... I'll find a better place next month, right now I'm just happy to escape this Hell, I'll be running on Friday, I'm telling you.

I get back home from work and try to do something only to be interrupted to be told about something regarding work. I skype, I'm interrupted to talk about work, I read, I eat, I write, I'm off work, I'm drifting of to sleep, I always get interrupted to be told about work, to be asked about work. WORK WORK WORK. I can't take this for much longer, my morale is at a lowest.

Don't get me wrong, she's nice and stuff. It's just the no privacy bit. The no consideration. The always having to be at disposition at the expense of my personal space and time. I'm going crazy, I need out. It'll be better on Friday. I have to keep telling myself this.

Breathe in, breathe out, it's going to be okay.

Signing off. Have a good night, wherever you may be.

Tea tales

Anyone who knows me even a little knows that I drink tea. And when I say I drink tea, I mean A LOT of tea.
During my first few days here I didn't have a single cup of tea which for me is extremely rare, my close friends would have, at this point questioned my sanity or well-being. But they weren't here to witness it and I was perfectly fine.

On my second day of work the Arabic version editor invited me to tea, I had a fresh mint tea with lots of sugar. It felt good to finally have a cup of tea but that's not how I drink my daily tea so it wasn't entirely satisfying.
After my second of work, on my way home, I stopped by the 24/7 convenience store down the street. It's a neighbourhood full of UN and EU expats so they have a couple of European products. I found Twinings English breakfast which isn't normally my first choice but I felt it was good enough considering where I am. I paid 24 shekels for 25 teabags, that's a lot (approximately 5 euros).

I had it the next day at the office and thought it was damn weak. After the second cup I realised it was decaf. But in the little kitchen at the office I noticed Waitrose Organic English Breakfast and I was really jealous. Seriously though, only British people to import Waitrose tea! I later learnt someone has left it there and it's free to drink.

Still, I bought myself Israeli Witowsky (sp?) tea, which is a little weak but better than the regular Lipton they have at the office. But I forgot it this morning. Damn it. I could not resist the temptation any longer, I had the Waitrose tea. It had been calling my name! I had it and it taste just a little too strong, that's how weak the other tea is, it makes normal tea taste strong! It was orgasmic almost.

That might be one of Israel's biggest downsides: tea.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Us and them, beyond the wall.

I currently live in the German Colony of Jerusalem, it's south-east of the city. Right now the numerous muezzins are calling for prayer "Allaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah w'Akbar!", it feels very unreal sometimes. Sometimes it feels like thousands of people are crying at the same time, desperate. Sometimes it feels serene, calm, hopeful and peaceful.
In the part of the neighbourhood I am in, most people find it invasive. They believe Arabs do it on purpose to bother them. That's what people have told me how they feel about it anyway.

Down the streets begin the Arab part of the city, all the way to the wall. That famous separation wall I can see from my bedroom window. I stare at it.

My bedroom window view. When the weather allows it you can see the mountains in the background.

It's not rare to hear gunshots. And on Fridays, there are usually weddings, fireworks, it makes me want to go party with them. I think I might go crash a wedding in the next three months, that'd be fun!

The wall protects us. Or so I've been told. It prevents terrorists from accessing the country. Really? Just two days ago, an Al-Qaida cell was dismantled in Jerusalem. Or so the media say. I think it's partly there to make people miserable. But what do I know, I'm not from here.

Like I did back in 2011, I want to walk to the wall again, I don't know why it fascinates me. Maybe I just want to be the annoying journalist/tourist/rebel.

Have a great Saturday everyone!

Friday, 24 January 2014

Day 8, second shabbat.

The day is not over yet, but that's okay, I can always update you later if anything amazing happens!

I woke up naturally at 9.26am, I was so happy, you can not fathom how happy I was. A little newsreading, a before we're off to the supermarket.

After a long walk in the sun which was not too bad, we get to the supermarket. No one checked my bag at the entrance! Not when I went to the chemist, not when I went to the bank and not at the supermarket! So weird!
Anyway, we're in, it's the rush, everybody's pushing their trolley in eachother's legs, Not time to call "slicha!" (pardon) because the shabbos is coming, you just gotta push, get your stuff and go home to prepare everything. At the same time, the staff is pre-"cleaning", pushing everyone because they have to close in time, which is 2pm. It's mayhem, everybody's on edge.
The fact that Israelis can't be in a line is a well-known fact but this situation gets even worse before the shabbos. You were a fool, you should have shopped the day before. Is there even a word in Hebrew for a line?

In the "queue".
This guy didn't need a holster, it takes too much time to take your gun out when you need it... You know, it's just in case some tried to force their way in front of him...

We're finally out, no injuries except maybe psychological ones, we have everything. Let's go home. Let's clean in time before the night falls, everything needs to be ready!

Have a great shabbat everyone!

Oh and feel free to follow me on instagram (@tsirah) and on twitter (@talk_that_smack).

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Day 7/Day 5

Today concluded my being in the Holy Land for a week and my first week at work (I do Sunday-Thursday).


When life gives you lemons. ↑ On my way to work.

Change of plans, on Sunday I won't be an unpaid intern, I'll be an underpaid, but paid nonetheless, trainee translator/editor (But shhhhhhhhh! It's a secret!). I flipped. In my head. Because I couldn't shout in joy when my office is next to my editor's.
It will be just under my rent! :D Yeah because today I may have found my accommodation!

This is too much happiness for me to handle! Someone send me a depressing news story!

All in all today was a good day. Today we also got an AFP subscription for us to have plenty more content for the website!

↑ Also on my way to work.

I'm dead tired, tomorrow morning I will sleep until I wake up NATURALLY!! After being woken up at 6.30am by my editor's alarm clock every morning when I go to work at 9am, I think I deserve it

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A quick note on another day.

We still have a lot to do until the launch of the website but we're getting organised and I think work is getting easier on me, I just have to find my rhythm, got an interview done today (Champagne woo!!).

What a pleasure walking to work in the warming sun, going outside to get lunch in the SUN!!! SUN SUN SUN!!! Yes, I said it, because I can and I feel like I deserve it after three years in rainy Preston.

I haven't yet gone crazy, don't worry.

I'm afraid I don't have much to say about today apart from the fact that I made a new friend, which is always nice.


Monday, 20 January 2014

Day 4 (second day at work)

This morning I was a little more relaxed on my walk to work, I even risked a shortcut which took me a little longer as I wasn't sure where I was going! But I was calm enough to notice the numerous clementine, orange and lemon trees. An air of spring.

I did not confront my editor as to the question of had she stolen my idea but before my translating torture began, I asked if I could write about my story idea that I sent her last week that she said she liked. She asked to remind her, I told her and she told me she was writing on that. Boom. Result, I will be able to write on interview profile piece and might have to share a byline. GUTTED.

Anyway, more translations, getting the hang of it now, it's getting easier.

On my way home I noticed a soldier sitting on a bench with her full automatic machine gun on her knees and I realised I hadn't seen a soldier or a weapon since my arrival which is pretty unusual for Israel. But then again, I have been staying and working in the same residential area for the last four days.

On my shortcut which was shorter than this morning (I was hurrying, gotta skype!!!) I passed by a pub/restaurant called Colony which I thought was pretty damn ironic for this country (I've been writing about colonies and stuff for two days).

I guess I have nothing more to report!
Have a nice evening/morning/day/whatever!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Day 3/Day 1

Today was my third day in Israel and my first day at work.

So I did 9am-7pm with a quick lunch break which consisted of a breadroll and hummus.

My editor had me translate stories from English to French all day and I think, hearing what she was saying on the phone that she might have stolen my story idea. I'm a little gutted I must say even if there are multiple subjects but I really wanted that one especially since it was good and my idea. I'm also a little angry because why should she have all the fun when I have to translate? It's boring and not journalism what I essentially want to do. Then afterwards I see my translating work completely revised, which leaves an unimpressed Surya.
And today I have also come to realise that as a big fan of word puns I now hate them because making puns is one thing but translating them is absolute hell, believe me.

BUT I'm still in a newsroom full of cool people and I'm still in Israel which is pretty cool in itself.
Now I'm going to skype because I have a date with my other half.

Have a good week!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Mixed feelings.

A three month internship in Jerusalem at the Times of Israel. Great, I'm overjoyed! Stressing out a little because it's far, I'm not used to writing in French but still really really happy. The last couple of days are extremely hard on me emotionally in Brussels as the moment when I am going to leave everyone I love far behind me. But it's only three months, it's not the end of the world, it's everything I had hoped for, a big adventure!
At the airport I act blasé although deep down I want to let myself cry all the tears I have in me. I can't though, I'm with my mum, in public, I hold everything in. My eyes are already puffy from crying really hard the night before anyway. Time to say goodbye at the ID check, I give in, let a few tears out but quickly gain back control of myself and stop.

I wait in the lounge, I'm okay, online chatting.  We board, I'm still good, I read, watch Hatufim, eat. Then my episode is over and I realise I forgot to download the next one. I'm to tired to read, I pull my cap down and try to go to sleep but the thoughts creep in, slowly, painfully. My eyes are tearing up as I wonder what I am doing on this plane, I start questioning my motives, my needs and wishes. Do I really want this? Or is it me trying to please everyone and bluff them by pretending I have a dream? Is it really me? Where/what am I going to? It's swirling in my mind, a hurricane of bad thoughts. I eventually realise my fear is only being far away from my friends, family, love, cosy habits. It's only for three months but it's soooo hard, I can't stop crying now. I go to the toilet and catch my reflection in the mirror; bloodshot tired and tear-y eyes look back at me.
When I get back to my seat I calm myself down and manage to get some sleep.

We land and as usual their highly trained airport security spot me just as I step in the airport. Some mild questioning, it's always the same. Walk to the ID check, sent - with apology from the guy - to the detention room for ten minutes and I'm given back my passport with no more questions. The luggage aren't on the conveyor belt yet. I chat with three enormous Christians while I wait. I see my suitcase, grab it and I'm out of there. I step out of the airport, board the shared taxi and the bad feelings are all gone. I'm extremely tired but I'm smiling in my seat.

I've been here for a day now and it's not very easy as I miss some people a whole lot but it's okay, I'm okay, it's just for three months. I know I will have fun and enjoy myself. I start work on Sunday but the adventure has started today.

Shabbat Shalom everyone!