We were all up early (except Josh) and made our first trip to the grocery store this morning.
Mika on her strider bike followed by Jim, Summer and I traveled the one block to the store. It’s quite a new concept being able to walk to the stores. There is even a small market we can see from the apartment windows that is directly across the street. But, it has little selection and higher prices. But if you need some milk or eggs, a good place to go in a pinch.
It was quite an experience at the store with everything being in Hebrew. We had to rely on familiar packaging and products.
Still it was difficult because, for example, there were several products that looked like milk with different percentages from US on the bottles. One we learned was actually yogurt. On a previous visit I had almost flooded the kitchen when I bought what I thought was dishwashing liquid. It turned out to be LAUNDRY detergent! The next thing I knew the floor under the dishwasher was covered with a wet soapy mess. Another friend told me he spent months washing his clothes in fabric softer before he realized his mistake being unable to read the labels. So, it’s best to try to find a Hebrew/English speaker to verify. Things like flour and sugar are not visible to know what they are and the cleaning product aisle left us baffled as to what was counter spray or fabric stain remover. We relied on an English speaking customer to purchase a few key items we needed right away.
We also stopped by a local bakery to get fresh bread we were told is available in abundance on Friday mornings for shabot.
The trek home was brutal with all of us carrying more then we could handle for bags. We had to keep stopping and starting again and Jim dropped the huge bags of toilets paper and paper towels several times on the one block walk home.
We had a million things to do, but couldn’t leave the apartment. That’s because the internet was not working and it was driving Jim crazy since his work, our phones and precious Netflix would not work. We also recently transferred our cell service to google fi which also relied on internet to work.
Another good friend and Israeli came over to call the internet company for us (again the language barrier) and got us online after a bit of time. We also discovered the SIM cards we got ahead of time to transfer our phones to Israel numbers were not working. Apparently since they were activated right away, they deactivated them so we would have to begin the process again.
After helping us with our internet issues, Ohad was nice enough to help me with some other key things to get settled.
Finding a gym and a hardware store. Since he was headed to the gym he was able to show me where he worked out. So we jumped on scooters and headed to a gym called Space. It was a low cost no frills gym close to the apartment. It fit all my needs, mainly a place to run when the weather didn’t cooperate or too hot and had weights to do strength training. I’ve never been much of a class person, and it didn’t look like they offered any anyway. I may have signed up on the spot, but like most things in Israel, you need an Israeli credit card to get a good deal. Their “special” only applied to customers with Israeli credit cards. I would have to wait until we went to the bank to get the deal.
The hardware store was our next stop. We needed a few key items including a toaster, tea kettle, hangers, converters, lock for gym and one of those large bags on wheels we saw people carrying to not make our grocery store visits so painful. The men at the store did not speak English so it was helpful to have Ohad along to translate. I had taken a scooter there, but planned to walk home since I had a number of items including the bag on wheels to put everything inside. But Tel Aviv has a new law that you must Park scooters in designated spaces. There was not one in front of hardware store. I asked to leave my things there with the non English speaking clerks to go park the scooter but it wouldn’t move. It had locked up and I could not even push it. So, against the rules I had no choice but to leave it where it was parked and explain to the scooter company later there was nothing I could do to move it and hope the charge wasn’t crazy.
After not having accomplished much since it was Friday night shabot, we left the apartment for a walk in our new neighborhood on the beach and had our first dinner with our feet in the sand.
It was weird to say when the waitress asked us with our American accents where we were from to say HERE. We now live in Tel Aviv.
The girls played in the sand and spent some time at the shore while Jim and I enjoyed a glass of wine before heading back to the apartment.
We all talked about our first day experience and impressions over a delicious dinner and watching the breathtaking sunset over the Mediterranean.