Pre-Aliyah Meeting(s)

We are getting ready to go! We’re on the path. We drove into Queens for our first meeting with an Aliyah counselor, if you don’t count the meeting I had with Howie in Jerusalem. Last January, when I was in Jerusalem on the apartment search, I made an appointment with someone at the center in Givat Shaul. (I apologize, I can’t remember with whom.) But I missed it entirely because I could not find a place to park, and when I did, I walked and walked around and around fenced off areas taking me a good 40 minutes, if not an hour, to get to the building. I didn’t know I was there (the Ofer building) because the GPS street listing didn’t match the signs I could not see. So I called the office from the car and turns out, I was around the corner. I looked up and saw the building marked Beit Ofer. “Park wherever you see a space.” Well the street was filled. I saw the lot at the end of the street – but it was not clear to me that it was public parking. So I went back out to the main road. Then I slowly drove down Kanfei Nesharim, tried one spot, angled parking, but got nervous that the end of the car was sticking out. So I went further and thought – well here’s a Rami Levi with a big parking lot. If I feel really guilty, I can go and buy something after the visit. (I did – I bought some tomatoes for salad.)

To NBN from Rechov Kanfei Nesharim
Trekking around Givat Shaul to Beit Ofer and NBN Offices

So then I figured, I must be able to reach the building (Beit Ofer) through the back. So I walked down the ramp and walked around the back of the store. The edge was fenced off, and where there wasn’t a fence, there was a cement wall with a 20 foot drop. Not going there. I walked up some stairs at the corner of the building, but there still was no way into the street. I tried the door (probably to a storeroom, but it was locked.) So, again I walked, all the way back around the building, to Rami’s parking lot, up and out to the street, and then down Kanfei Nesharim to the road that reached the fifth floor (or something) of the Ofer building.

Then I got directions in the building. Go down to the 2nd floor (I think it was the 2nd – correct me if I’m wrong) and walk around the building. Then take the other elevator down to the first floor. (Am I getting this right?) Well the elevator opened to the 3rd floor. Why not get out and find the other elevator there and take it to NBN? Well around and around I went and no second elevator. So after retracing my steps and arriving again at the elevator, I took it down to the correct floor, around to the correct special elevator, and then around the corridor to the NBN office.

Needless to say – I did not make it in time to see the assigned counselor, I can’t remember who. But I got there and asked to see Howie. We had a great conversation, and I solidified my plans for a real-estate lawyer. Got more info on mortgages. So it was a great early evening, especially updating Howie on our plans. So we are on track. Now back to Queens.

It seems that with each meeting, we learn one thing. We learned a little more about the application and the difference between NBN services and the Sochnoot. We will now start to get documents in order, as well as keeping to our plan to reduce clutter and make a list of what goes with us, and what goes out the door. This is not simple stuff. It can change your life!


It’s strange to be using such a clean sink counter…

Well, Ema did. She promised one area would be cleared each day and sure enough! I got to specify which old clippers go, although some of them are surely Ori’s. I’m not the only one with a beard here. There were a lot of combs I never really use. We consulted on which lotions and salves I use and which should just be chucked. Those cans of deodorant spray were never mine. (Sorry Matt, Ori Aharon, they’re gone. I use a crystal.) Sorry Pop-Pop for tossing the mustache trim kit you gave me. Ema said, “Well we shared that moment, let’s move on.” (I really thought I’d pulled some heart strings there for a moment.) Really, I only kept the little scissors and mustache comb because Pop-Pop gave it to me. Some soaps and lotions got to stay, but I know it’s only temporary. They’ll have to go by next summer.

I have to imaging that, in the apartment, we just won’t buy in bulk, even soap. The supermarket on the corner will be our storage cabinet. Will that be possible? To move from a suburban house with a garage and closets to a city apartment, with what? A Machsan in the basement? It’ll be a big change, but over time, if I think about it enough, I think I’ll be ready. I’ll have to be. Once I put up a little note on the side of my desk. “If you can’t find it, it’s useless.” That was to get me to file things in an organized way. I never was able to do that. I was always sharp enough to know which pile and where abouts in the pile, lay that document I searched for. I always thought a higher power guided me. Had to be. My memory can’t be that good.

So my next sign, whether I use it or not will be: “If I can’t imagine it in the apartment, it’s not worth keeping.” The only other question that remains is how to dispose of it. We’re giving away lots of stuff. It’s today’s modus operandi, is that the word?