Winter in Israel, despite the warm [“cold”] weather, brings its own set of challenges.
Our first day here was cloudy, but I needed to shower because of the plane ride. No problem, with a little planning ahead I could use the electric water tank.
I ran the water into a bucket so as not to waste it while it was warming up. After the bucket was full, the water was still ice cold, but I figured it would warm up soon, so I got in.
Then the power went out.
There was nothing I could do but carry on until someone upstairs flipped the breaker. Apparently we had been running too many electric appliances at once since it was cloudy.
“Welcome to Israel,” I thought. Was this an indication of what life would be like?
The next day we went to the bank to open accounts. It felt like 3:00am and I struggled to turn on my brain enough to communicate and translate for Jeff. (The banker spoke English, but she seemed to just prefer things to be easier for her rather than for Jeff. When he spoke in English, she understood and answered just fine.)
Because of the weather, the power went out three times while the banker was in the middle of opening our account, and two hours later we were still not done.
In the meantime the bank had closed for lunch. It closes for two hours for lunch on Monday and Thursday. Not knowing it was closed, I left for a few minutes and tried to re-enter. I tugged on the door, was too impatient with the security guard, and found him yelling at me.
“Welcome to Israel,” I thought, where the bank closes for two hours in the middle of the day. At a different store I saw a sign, “We’ll try to be open during the hours of [such-and-such].”
But gradually things are beginning to improve.
On Sunday we started looking for apartments and scoping out the area where we’ll be living. One evening, we stopped in a toy store to look around. When it became obvious that it was closing time and the owner wanted to leave, I explained that we had been in Israel for less than a week and were checking out what it was possible to buy here.
“Welcome to Israel!” she said, and gave us a huge smile.