Steve

Victoria Braverman – My House Is Small And Problematic, Yet I Am Grateful For It

Victoria Braverman – My House Is Small And Problematic, Yet I Am Grateful For It

re-post by permission @ Gratitude.fun

Last night, I signed a two-year lease on the little house I’ve been living in for three years and I am brimming with gratitude. Why does this funny little one-up-one-down structure give me such pleasure? Well, for a start, when I moved here it was the first time that absolutely nobody else had had a say in my decision about where to live, so all compromises made were mine and mine alone. For instance, it doesn’t have a bathroom. There’s a shower, upstairs in the bedroom, just sort of plonked there. It makes me laugh. There’s no kitchen. In old Tel Aviv style there are a couple of small kitchen cupboards and a sink on one wall of the living room. No oven or hob. If you’ve never lived like this it would probably fill you with horror, but you get used to it. I have a toaster oven and a camper stove and I do just fine, although I have to remember not to turn on the kettle at the same time as any other appliance or I blow the electricity. The house next door was left to rot and actually collapsed completely shortly after I moved in. Where it stood is now a boarded up health hazard. And yet….

There’s just something magical and soothing about my little house and its location. It’s like a warm hug. There are very steep wooden stairs up to the bedroom, which you have to descend backwards, like a ladder. The mattress is on the floor because I have yet to find a bed base that could be carried up there. The windows are small and have ancient mosquito nets with holes in them. The mosquitoes like the challenge. And yet….

The windows are small and have ancient mosquito nets with holes in them. The mosquitoes like the challenge. And yet….

It’s such a quirky little house. It’s comprised of two rooms, around 25 square meters each, on on top of the other. In Tel Aviv terms, this makes them fairly spacious. The front entrance, next to the house which fell down, is via a rickety external door which opens into my little yard. The yard used to have a hammock and a washing line. Both occupied the entire yard, so they were only for special occasions and when I knew I wasn’t expecting visitors, but the means of suspending them disappeared along with the house next door. I miss them. The plants which I inherited from the previous tenants are almost all still doing well, which is amazing, since I’m the worst gardener in the world. The reason I remember to water them, at least during the summer, is that the air conditioning out-pipe drips into a watering can. If I forget to water the plants, the watering can overflows and the mosquitoes and flies remind me. Did I mention the biting flies? And the mosquitoes? And that I react really badly? And yet…..

It’s a cosy little house. Even though there’s no heating, like the vast majority of Tel Aviv properties. The two air conditioners, one upstairs and one downstairs, do have a heating function, but on the handful of cold Tel Aviv days they blow out hot air above my head. I can stand on tiptoe or sit on the stairs to defrost my nose and the upper part of my ears. There’s an additional complication with the upstairs aircon, which was fitted by someone who hadn’t thought it through. To switch from the hot to cold setting and vice versa you have to flick a switch on the outdoor part. This is located in a small space which can only be accessed by climbing over a neighbour’s wall and performing acrobatics. I have to wait for the landlord’s friend to come and do this as it is a mystery to me. Another mystery is who on earth installed the electrics. There’s a fuse box inside the house, new when I moved in and thankfully safe. In the yard is the electric company’s box and below it a metal box containing the meter. The wires enter the box at the side and exit through a hole drilled in the bottom. There was a hole in the bottom, pre-drilled, but the electrician installed it upside down, so it’s sort of DIY sealed with plastic. This means that every time it rains I have to mop out the inside of the box or risk destroying more electronic equipment. Luckily we only have a few rainy days per year. And yet…

I am grateful. I love it here. Really love it. Lucky, aren’t I?

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