As I am sitting here in my East Jerusalem apartment, recovering from an unfortunate stomach bug, I can't help but notice, despite the illness, how lucky I am to be here. The hotel proved to be an amazing experience, but the feel of living in an authentic, Jerusalem apartment, just can't be beat. When you first enter the room it's as if you are walking into a cave. Though well lit, with beautiful windows, the low ceilings and Jerusalem stone walls give the feeling that you are underground. It is not a big place, but it's quaintness and authenticity make you feel right at home.
A couch and air mattress make up my sleeping area, equipped with fuzzy zebra blanket and floral comforter. It's not a California King with Egyptian Cotton sheets, but it is comfortable, and when the cold wind blows through the apartment, the blankets provide all the warmth one could need.
From the bed looking out into the apartment, you can see a short, little entrance, that leads to the bathroom and shower area. There is no separation between the toilet and the shower, and the ceilings are so low that you can't stand, so luckily there is a tree stump provided for sitting and bathing :-). At first I thought that this would be a problem, but now, I think it adds to the appeal and authentic feel. Like I say... When in Rome!!
Next to the bathroom is the entertainment area, with a huge big screen TV, surround sound speakers, a coffee table, and beautiful wall art. Unfortunately, the TV only plays Arabic channels, so when I actually want to watch TV for enjoyment, rather than to learn a language, I stick to watching shows and movies on my computer.
The last place in the room, and probably my favorite, is the window right behind my bed. I love looking out through the vines and greenery, especially when the sun is setting and the sky is a brilliant orange and pink. The weather in Jerusalem is now turning quite cool, and when the wind comes through the open windows, you can feel the change of seasons from summer to autumn; so different from the constant heat and humidity of Tel Aviv. My new favorite thing to do is dim the lights, turn on a good movie, make a hot cup of mint tea with honey, and enjoy bundling up in the cold with a hot drink.
Aside from the beautiful scenery of the apartment, I am lucky enough to be right down the street from a Mosque, meaning that whenever the call to prayer is chanted, it's as if I am personally there. The beautiful sounds fill the apartment multiple times a day, and it only adds to the holy feel of the city, and authentic feel of this apartment. I am so happy that I will be spending the next three weeks here, and hope to come back many times to visit in the near future; I have completely fallen in love, all over again, with this city, and now that love extends to the West Bank and all its vibrancies. It will be very hard to leave Jerusalem at the end of the month, but the excitement of my trip to Jordan, and the excitement of school starting will get me through it!
This weekend I will be leaving Jerusalem to go back to Tel Aviv for Yom Kippur, and I am very excited to return. I hear that there is nothing like Tel Aviv during Yom Kippur. Aside from that, the internship is exceedingly interesting, and I love that I am becoming a part of the PIJ family. It is a publication I hope to be working with throughout my years here.
Until we meet again!