Let's lay the foundation. I agreed to spend a morning at a photo shoot for a marketing campaign being launched by an Israeli bank. A one-time gig through a friend of a friend that would pay for transportation and food, and pay me a few hundred shekel. Not bad, I thought. Spend a morning in Tel Aviv meeting some new people. Practice Hebrew. Do something out of the ordinary. Cool. I even got to meet an Israeli celebrity. Jealous?
A) Celebrities aren't nearly as exciting when you've no idea why they are famous.
Apparently this guy is the host of the Israeli "Big Brother" iteration. That's actually a really big deal to a lot of Israelis. I, however, had no clue why this girl asked me to take their pic together until I showed Itzik.
B) I had to wake up at 4:30am to be there on time (and went to bed at 2am, but that's my fault really). Point is, the luster of cameras and 'celebrities' wears off when it's only 10am and you've been up for SIX hours.
C) They took us outside of Tel Aviv. At 1pm I was eating at a craft services table behind a mall in a town called Yochneam (what?) and (little did I know) I still had SIX hours before I would get paid and sent home.
D) I only got 200 shekel (aka $50) for 13 hours of time basically spent sitting alone.
Basically, it was kind of a shitty day. The silver lining is that I made a potential new friend. Win. But, I hate feeling like I've wasted time. I'm having a hard time these days spending long stretches of time all in Hebrew. I was exhausted. And meeting new Israelis always follows the same pattern (with slight and seldom variation):
"Where are you from?"
"Do you have a lighter?"
"How long have you been here?"
"Why did you come here?"
"What are you doing now?"
"What do your parents think?"
"Isn't your family back in the US? Don't you miss them?"
"Why Israel? It's so hard."
Imagine being asked ten times a day (after over a year of being asked almost EVERY day) if you miss your friends and family back home. It means thinking about how much you miss home that many times. Or, as I've learned to try to do, it means actively trying not to think about it, lest you burst out crying. By the end of this day, I had wanted to cry at least ten times. By the time I got home from work. Then, I was so tired that Itzik and I ended up having an argument (cause he was so tired too...in fact I'm sure his day was worse than mine). It was just that perfectly terrible alignment of all things that happens now and then. The kind of day that leaves me sitting at my computer when I should be sleeping, cause if I don't write it out, how else will I get rid of it?
So do I hate it here? I did on this day. But this happens from time to time. I fight with my boyfriend. Or miss a bus I needed. Or get stuck with a cab driver that over charges me while telling me I've waited too long to have babies. I see an ad for a movie I should be seeing with Steph and Kim over Thanksgiving.
But I came to Israel for a reason, and tomorrow I'll find a new one, I'm sure of it. I always do. I'll use a new word in Hebrew (today I learned a few), and I'll remember the new shower curtain Itzik bought (thanks, baby!), or I'll come across something awesome on the streets of Tel Aviv like this:
A tiny man? or a giant shekel? I'll give you three guesses.
An archaelogical dig I stumbled upon on my walk home from yoga earlier this week. That's so cool.
and slowly I'll remember some things that I love about being here. I'll remember what it feels like to be the person who followed her dream and started over somewhere completely new. The person I'm proud of.
But in order to be that girl I need to sleep. So for now, layla tov.