By Victoria Braverman

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…..

continue to part 2