Thursday, July 5, 2007

The First Week

I've officially been in Israel a week now. In a lot of ways it feels like I've been here a lot longer, and in a lot of ways it feels like I just got here. It's bizarre how I'm still not entirely convinced that I'm actually staying a whole year--I still sometimes believe that I'm heading home in a week or 2. I'm really happy to have a week under my belt, though, and that the newness of the city is wearing off.

The past couple of days have been a bit stressful for us. We're dealing with a lot of apartment problems and a very unresponsive/unreliable/apathetic landlord. We've been trying to get in contact with him since I've been here, and for almost a week he didn't pick up his phone nor did he return our many, many phone calls. He FINALLY came over yesterday, and was a complete asshole (sorry for the language, but it's the only term for him that's truly fitting) to both of us. He made a sloppy list of everything we needed him to do, which included the following very important things:

~New beds (Steph's is so moldy she can't sleep on it, and I am bigger than mine, meaning I literally can't roll over or get comfy without falling off.)
~Very weak cold water pressure, which means we either take scalding hot showers or very weak cold showers. I don't know which is worse.
~Exposed electrical wires
~A section of the HUC lease that his father crossed out when he met Stephanie at the airport, meaning HUC won't guarantee us if something should happen.
~Many more little things

He told us that he'd get back with us about new beds and repairs when he gets back from his trip to Turkey, in 2 weeks. He sent a plumber over this morning, who basically talked on his cell phone while turning faucets on and off and then told us he needed to talk to Haim (our landlord) before he'd actually fix anything. We're very skeptical about ever hearing back from him.

We've been talking to our friends here, who've been suggesting we break our lease and find a new place. I really, REALLY don't want to move, and I like this apartment a lot, but I don't really want to deal with this guy for a year if he's going to continue to be like this. So here's where I need YOUR advice--what should we do? This is one of those times that a Dad would come in handy, so if you're a father (or even if you're not), please give your advice--we're desperate.

Apartment stresses aside, we've been doing fun stuff. We went to the shuk (marketplace) yesterday for the first time and bought delicious, fresh fruits and vegetables. We also went to a 4th of July festival at Ilana's, which was so much fun. I really think I had more fun at this 4th of July party than I have at any other 4th of July party in the states. We had everything we needed for a great 4th: sparklers, watermelon, plenty of beer (I was good, don't worry.) Here's a cute pic of me and the roomie having fun with our sparklers.

Speaking of the roomie, I really lucked out with her. Stephanie is absolutely adorable, and we've been getting along great thus far. We've spent many evenings laughing over everything, from our crazy family stories to our crazy landlord, and I know she'll make an amazing rabbi. My only regret is that she'll be going to the Cinci campus next year, while I'll be going to the NYC campus. I hope we have a shana tova (a good year) together.

All right, I've rambled long enough for today. But seriously, we don't know what to do about this landlord situation, so I really need your thoughts. I miss everyone back home, so even if you don't have brilliant advice (which I'm sure you do), call/write/comment and say hi.

Much love from Yerushalayim!


Rachel said...

Heya babe!

I'm sure we'll chat more at some point, but I think you're better off breaking the lease. If it were just minor problems or little things that you'd like to have done but aren't entirely necessary, I'd say stick it out. But the whole crossing off the contract thing is a little sketchy, exposed wiring is dangerous, and you don't want to have to go through the rigmarole of getting in touch with your landlord every time you need (screw want) something done. I know moving sucks, but you've got to be able to truly LIVE where you're living.

Daniel B said...

I say go talk to Nancy... that's what she's there for....

Debbie said...

Hey there!

I say better to break it now and move now then when you're in full swing with classes, etc. And if he's that unhelpful now, what happens if (God-forbid) something major breaks in the middle of the night and you have a flood on your hands or something. I'd start looking for somewhere new. You don't need the stress of a bad landlord!!

Glad to hear you're getting settled. Lots of people at TI asking how you're doing, etc. We all send you much love!

B'ahava, Debbie

John K said...

I say break the lease and f..k the landlord. He sounds like he's doing that to you guys.

claire said...

There's a trick to Israeli landlords. (And trust me, I know several.)

You have two choices. The first is telling him you'll move, when he realizes he's about to lose your money, he'll most likely shape up.

Second (I assume he's a native Israeli) find an Israeli to yell at him. Pick someone nice looking up off the street whatever...this guy think cause you're american he can pull the wool over your eyes, and they'll do it to anyone that speaks english. Give him shit in his own language...and you'll be getting somewhere.