So, what’s new? We have ants. I know everyone gets ants this time of the year, but our ants are here to stay. They’ve settled in and now they’re demanding we respect their right to inhabit the bathroom cabinet, cracks around the outlets, and my desk. I would be happy to coexist peacefully, but after five minutes of sitting at my desk, I’m covered in them. I’m not much of an ant killer (I actually think they are kind of cute) but the crawling up my arms seems way too intimate for me. I tried negotiating but they don’t have a very long attention span. I’m not proud of it, but after a month of useless peace talks I’ve resorted to chemical warfare in the form of bug spray.

In addition to our new neighbors, we also have a stima (clogged drain) in the shower. We didn’t always. I have fond memories of walking around on a dry floor. But about two months ago I came back from class to find a note on my door that said, in Hebrew, “hello to the girls who live in room 200 and not 300.” (Room numbers have been changed to discourage, or at least mildly inconvenience, stalkers.) Just then the av bayit (guy who fixes stuff in the dorms) walked by and stopped me:

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Is this your room?
Yeah. Did you put this note up?
Yeah. I fixed your stima.
What stima?
The one in your shower.
We didn’t have a stima.
You wrote that you did on the bulletin board downstairs.
No I didn’t.
Yeah, you did. But you wrote the wrong room. You’re room 200, not 300.
(there was a pause, I was in shock)
Why check our room if room 300 wrote that they have a stima?
Because they don’t. You do.
But how could you know that we do?
Because you wrote it on the bulletin board.


Right. So ever since that little incident, we do in fact have a stima. I don’t know what he did to our drain but it floods frequently now. I’d write it on the bulletin board, but I’m afraid for whoever lives in room 100.
 
The plus side is that I now enjoy my time spent in the workplace more -- there''s never a moment when I have to wonder if it is indeed a good idea to leave anything on the floor for a minute. I also get to take advantage of the awesome array of office supplies now at my disposal (hole punchers, stapler-removers, post-its, etc.). During downtime I also encourage visitors to come watch The Adventures of Rachel and the Green Swivel Chair. The performance starts with me furiously kicking my right foot into the carpeting until reaching optimal swivel speed. Should I happen to hear approaching footsteps, I quickly jam my root foot down, putting an immediate end to all swiveling activity.

When I’m not risking my job for sake of entertainment, I’m hunting for cantaloupe. Cantaloupe in this country is known as “the orange melon.” This is because, besides for watermelon, all melons in Israel fall under the general category of “melon.” Try as you might to ask the man in the produce aisle for something specific by pronouncing cantaloupe or honey-dew in your thickest Israeli accent, I assure you he will not understand. Instead, you need to ask for green or orange melon.

Not that specifying colors helps anyway. What looks like an American cantaloupe is actually a green melon here. Orange melon looks like green melon, but confusingly has green lines running across it. Or at least that’s what I’ve gathered from all my supermarket ventures. I have been told that these assumptions are not necessarily correct but the idea of cutting open a melon and never knowing what fruit I’ll be confronted with, the sheer insanity of produce paired with arbitrary skins and all the chaos that could burst forth onto my cutting board, terrifies me. These are my classifications and I’m sticking with them.
 

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