I think I fell in love a little bit with Tel Aviv today. When I left Jerusalem it was cold, windy, and oppressive-feeling. Tel Aviv, on the other hand, was sunny and warm, full of regular non-Jerusalem crazy people. I saw the ocean (sea, I mean – I can’t get used to large bodies of water that are anything besides ocean) for the first time in months, and almost cried. It’s amazing how much you can miss something like that. I had a great lunch with a coworker friend and his sister, delicious seafood and good company, and it had me seriously thinking about the possibility of moving there.
The thing is, Tel Aviv is a big (but actually, it’s not really all that big when you get to know it a little) generic city, that could exist anywhere. I’m not sure there’s anything in particular that makes it special in the international context. But in Israel, it is special – it’s in the center of the country, on the ocean, the most liberal (probably) city, with there always being something to do. It has gotten a lot of criticism for being a kind of bubble, whose residents don’t seem to care when the rest of the country is in crisis (I could say something about the US as the Tel Aviv of the world, but I’m not going to). But as a friend pointed out, they’re like that even when bad things like suicide bombings happen in Tel Aviv itself. Not that that makes it any better.
Jerusalem is difficult, full of tensions and history and religion and hills (Tel Aviv is flat). It isn’t easy for anyone to live here, especially someone like me. But it is all of this that makes it colorful and interesting and a constant learning experience. Seeing all buildings covered in Jerusalem stone might get a bit redundant, but where else does that exist?? And where Tel Aviv is a bubble, Jerusalem forces you to deal with and think about all the difficult issues that can more easily be avoided elsewhere. Succeeding in living in Jerusalem is a challenge and feels more rewarding than living somewhere “easier.” I tend not to pick the easy road…
I don’t know. My life is in Jerusalem, my best friends, and I still think it’s the most interesting city in the world. While there may be many cities in the world like Tel Aviv, there are none like J’lem. I’m going to have plenty of opportunities to live in lovely sunny (and maybe even not humid) cities by the ocean in my life – I don’t know that I need to do it now, if I have reasons to stay where I am. I guess I’ll just have to see where the possibilities take me!