Just to give you a taste of my new life here in Jerusalem, I want to briefly describe each of my new roommates for you all. We live in this adorable, cozy, quirky, kind of old-timey house in the middle of Nachlaot, a Jerusalem neighborhood labeled “bohemian,” “eclectic,” and “bizarre” by those who know the personalities of each of the many neighborhoods here. Nachlaot, located right behind the giant open-air Mahane Yehuda market, is a beautifully disorienting tangle of teeny alleyways and is populated by an unlikely combination of orthodox Jews, African immigrants, and secular young hippies just back from their post-army journey of finding themselves and doing lots of drugs in India or Thailand or Nepal. I spend a lot of my free time sitting in my room’s little window seat and people watching.
So. Anyway. On the floor above me lives Na’ama. She is a student of plastic art (I don’t really know what that means). She only eats raw fruits and vegetables. And occasionally a handful of nuts/seeds. Nothing cooked. She spends a lot of her time sitting in her room playing ukulele and accompanying herself on kazoo. Which is actually a surprisingly delightful combination.
Next to me lives Efi, short for Efraim. Efi is a freelance hiking guide and, in his free time, a student of various martial arts – Capoeira, Ju Jitsu, Kung Fu…and probably many others. Everything else I know about him I kind of know accidentally – the walls in our house are very thin.
Across from us is Yotam, the companion of my previously detailed Dead Sea adventure. Yotam is a circus performer/gardener/moving company employee. Not kidding. He also excels at scavenging – in the evenings, after the market has closed, he wanders around, foraging for fruits and vegetables that have been left behind; he also significantly augments his wardrobe with his dumpster findings.
Below us are the living room and vegetarian kitchen, and in the basement lives Talia. Talia is a student of archaeology and sociology/anthropology and spends a lot of her days on lengthy class trips, poking around through pieces of Roman and Byzantine pottery out in a field somewhere. For my birthday, she made me vegan chocolate chip cookies with fortunes from Indian tea bags baked into each one.
I’m still working on getting to know them all, but I don’t doubt that it will be an adventure!