Bordering Insanity in Israel

Last night I got pep talked.

I needed it. It’s true.
eilat pictures
Overlooking the hive
It’s just that sometimes I go a little crazy here in Eilat.

You’re probably wondering why we came to this isolated desert tourist hub in the first place, so let me explain: for every 90 days spent within a country that belongs to the Schengen Group (a political alliance made up of the majority of European Union countries), we have to spend 90 days outside the Schengen group. It’s visa stuff, it’s annoying.

While first seen as an inconvenience, it ends up working to John’s and my advantage to alternate a 90-day period of food-hunting in Europe with a period of at least as much time during which we can settle down somewhere and John can develop one of his own passions: scuba diving. Since he’s a certified instructor, his finding a job affords us the ability to rent a flat, save some money, explore a country while having a homebase, and just generally regroup.
sand storm in israel
Not just an ugly picture of a hazy day. Instead, the view from my window of a real desert sand storm! Excitement!
The thing is that while John is gone from 8am-7pm—teaching, working, swimming, socializing—I, jobless and relatively friendless, spend most of my time alone.

Now don’t get me wrong, I asked for it. I wanted it this way. I have writing and computer work to catch up on, recipes to develop, books to read…I wanted the challenge of structuring my own time, however solitary it may be. Sometimes I visit my only friend Limor at the Eilat Botanical Gardens and I log a few volunteer hours working there. And then there’s the mandatory stuff: grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking (my God I sound domesticated. Don't worry, I'm not.). I go for long runs as the sun begins to set. I plan the next leg of our journey (Greece? Spain? Tanzania?). And generally, I feel like there’s not enough time in the day.
desert tree
Something akin to a date tree at the Botanical Gardens..
cactus nursery
The cactus nursery at the Botanical Gardens

But sometimes, I go a little crazy.

Personally, I blame it on dogs and babies.

I’ve always known that I didn’t mix well with cities. I don’t even know if you can consider Eilat a “city” per se; I mean, there are no high-rises, no downtowns, no financial districts…but man, we are stacked up on each other here. It is a hive. I’m pretty sure that the whole town is just living in one big, stretched-out building. And I can deal with the sunrise arguments on the street, or with the boy locked out of his house who bangs on the door for one hour (60 minutes…while I’m trying to sleep), and even with the cat downstairs that sits outside the door and yeowls at 120-minute intervals…

But the dogs and the babies do me in.

I keep the music on. I keep This American Life running in the background. I sing. I run the food processor.

But during the lulls, the moments I let my guard down, the quiet times…they’re always there.

Yapping. Wailing.
crying baby
Photo cred: ParentDish
Aren’t babies supposed to giggle and gurgle? Why must your baby always cry? Is this an anti-burglary method? Isn't that exploitation? And why does that dog have to sound so much like my deceased childhood schnauzer? Is that you, Abby? Did you forget to tell me something before your incontinence finally did you in?

I don’t know how city people do it. I feel sometimes like the walls are closing in around me—pressing against my temples, slowly making me blind. And on these days, John comes home and sees that the crazy has slowly begun to creep in behind my pupils.
schanuzer dog
Come back to me, Abby. We can relive the halcyon days of youth. 
He stops me. We remember why, exactly, we’re here. What we’re doing: traveling the world, learning about what drives us, eating amazing food everywhere we go.

It’s not going to be easy—we knew that getting into it. Sometimes we’d feel lost, sometimes homesick, sometimes lonely, and sometimes afraid.
eilat tax free shopping
Eilat is a tax-free zone, so people come in hoards for shopping. This is one of the malls by the beach. Terrifying.
But in the end, we’d walk away with a world behind us. Imagine all that we’ll have eaten (!)…all that we’ll have learned.

It’s true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

I think I’ll be able to move mountains after this.
desert sunset
Ok, backyard, I'm ready for you.

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1 comment:

  1. For the record, other people would love to be in your shoes. Me, for example. I've been planning on embarking on jordan tours for a while now and I couldn't be more excited. Just seize the moment, I guess. You have an amazing blog...and life. Cheers!




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