‘On Fridays we might have Kiddush, after which sit down for a Ramadan meal’ – Israel Information

Kati Betzer, 43, lives in Olathe, Kansas; flying to Larnaca

What’s a woman from Kansas doing in Israel?


Weekend banner.

My daughter lives right here. She got here as a scholar and stayed, made aliyah. I got here right here a yr and a half in the past to go to her, stayed for 3 months and fell in love.


So that you stayed due to her?

On the time it was a go to. I cried all the best way again residence. I made a decision to go away my job of 14 years as a schoolteacher and offered the condominium, the automobile, the furnishings. I needed to provide Israel an opportunity.

It was courageous of you to go away the place the place you have been born and lived all of your life.


Sure. I obtained right here in January with a vacationer visa and appeared for a job as a instructor.

After which the coronavirus arrived?

The toughest interval of the lockdown was truly high quality. I lived in a hostel in Jerusalem along with a younger girl from Brazil. On the similar time, 150 Palestinians who labored in Israel and couldn’t get again to the West Financial institution have been put up there. Most labored at Rami Levy [a supermarket]; others got here from a processing plant for chickens. The Brazilian girl and I labored there.


Doing what?

We cleaned the [guest] rooms and the general public areas and relaxation rooms. We made positive that the keys labored, that towels have been accessible. It was Ramadan, in order that they ordered meals in every single day; a few of them cooked. There was one group of barely extra closed males, however we managed to attach with them. They confirmed us footage and clips of their households and kids, they usually invited us to the Ramadan dinner each night. We ate makloubeh and many desserts, wonderful meals. On Fridays we made kiddush with them after which we might sit down for a Ramadan meal.

Wasn’t it intimidating to be two ladies amongst dozens of males at a hostel?


It was completely different. Earlier than they arrived, we had change into used to having the entire place to ourselves. Within the evenings we watched tv, ate popcorn, performed pool, listened to music. From the second they arrived, I’d go right into a room and say one thing, after which immediately all eyes have been on me. The female voice stood out in such masculine environment.

So that you discovered work in Israel?

I obtained a job instructing sixth grade within the West Financial institution, and every thing went nicely, I had all of the paperwork. However final week, on the final minute, after I assumed I’d have the ability to get a piece visa whereas I used to be nonetheless in Israel, they stated, “You understand what, it’s not understanding.” I don’t know precisely what occurred; the administration there was changed and immediately every thing modified. I had thought I wouldn’t have to go away, and immediately uncertainty once more. My visa expired just a few days in the past, so I made a decision to go on to Cyprus. I’ll be there till October, after which I’ll return to Kansas, as a result of my daughter and her fiancé could have a marriage get together there.


The daughter from Jerusalem?

Sure, it was all the time simply the 2 of us. If it really works out, I’ll discover a job in Cyprus. I’ve heard marvelous issues about Cyprus and its seashores. I’ll have the ability to reside there and I’ll be an hour by airplane from my daughter – and from the grandchildren who will arrive – however not too shut.

To drop every thing and transfer to a spot the place you don’t know anybody?


I had a daughter on the age of 20. Then I went again to varsity on my own, with no assist, whereas I raised her by myself. It was all the time us two, and it was great, however I additionally gave up every thing for her. I targeting my profession and on her. In lots of senses I misplaced my 20s, I missed these stunning years. Earlier than that, I grew up in a household with 9 brothers and sisters, we have been very poor, we by no means went anyplace, we by no means went on holidays. My daughter and I used to go generally, however the choices have been very restricted on a instructor’s wage. I nonetheless don’t have any cash, however I’m not chargeable for anybody.

Just for your self.

Sure. If I don’t eat, that’s high quality; if I’ve to sleep outdoors, that’s high quality. I’m a little bit of an adventurous sort, however I gave that up. So now could be the chance, that is my time. I’m exchanging my 20s with my 40s. Now I’m free and I can do no matter I f—–g need. However now I see that my flight was cancelled!



By no means thoughts, I’ll return to Tel Aviv, the Jerusalem hostel has a department there. They’re closed, however they’ll let me keep. I’ll begin on the seashore in Tel Aviv after which go on to the seashore in Cyprus. Life is beginning.

Assaf Bloom.

Assaf Bloom.Credit score: Tomer Appelbaum

Assaf Bloom, 35; lives in Tel Aviv, arriving from Paphos, Cyprus

You truly went on a trip to Paphos?


I met my companion there, who’s Austrian. We hadn’t been collectively for 4 months, due to the coronavirus. She was supposed to maneuver to Israel in April, and we began the method of a visa for a life collectively – nevertheless it obtained caught due to the virus. She couldn’t go to Israel and I can’t go to Vienna, so we went to Cyprus.

What was it prefer to see her after such a very long time?

It was good, it was a blast, it was shifting, it was unusual. Within the first minutes it’s odd, as a result of bodily you haven’t seen the individual in a very long time, despite the fact that we had video conversations nearly every single day. However we obtained used to it quick and loved ourselves. It was a terrific week.


What’s Paphos like?

It was my first time in Cyprus, and I used to be very favorably stunned by the wonder and the character there. We noticed lots of issues. It was a much-needed clearing of the thoughts.

Didn’t the coronavirus intervene with the holiday?


No. There’s a very completely different environment there. Solely the service suppliers should put on face masks. It’s the other of the panic we have now right here. They’re very depending on tourism, so they’re very idle now and crying out for guests. We have been in an Airbnb place, as a result of many of the inns are closed or inactive. There was a sense of a metropolis that lives from tourism and now could be nearly deserted, working in very low gear. However there was one thing good about it, one thing quiet and calm. And now I’m going into quarantine. I knew that will be the worth, however I deliberate for it.


I nonetheless have the reminiscence of March, once we have been just about locked down, however then I nonetheless went out a couple of times a day, as a result of it’s essential for me to maneuver round and do sports activities. I purchased a laundry rope and weights and some different issues for exercising.


Are you an athletic sort?

I’m a bit hyperactive, so I’ve to maneuver round. After I lived in Berlin it was a means of coping. I went to high school there and discovered the best way to do yoga, run, swim, deal with my physique.

Why have been you residing in Berlin?


For the expertise. I wasn’t within the military, so I didn’t do a post-army journey, and I all the time needed to expertise a spot overseas and reside there. My occupation with digital music drove me to discover a place to reside. I like touring, however the format of simply touring fits me much less; I needed to reside in a unique place. Just a few years earlier, I had visited Berlin and was turned on by town, so I needed to strive.

What did you do there?

I already had just a few connections, as a result of all kinds of mates began heading there, so I felt I’d have a base. I began faculty however I didn’t proceed. I discovered the language and labored at odd jobs. I skilled town, and in the long run I felt I had exhausted it and got here again and knew I most well-liked being right here.


Did you consider staying there for good?

There have been moments, however sure issues pale with time. College there didn’t reside as much as expectations, there was a relationship there that needed to finish. And there have been all kinds of difficulties I had to deal with. I noticed how linked I’m to this place, the place I’ve a help community and the chance to develop – issues that I didn’t admire earlier than going.

Was there loneliness?


Positive. The distances are larger, the climate impacts your temper. It’s all very completely different. So there was lots of loneliness, however every kind of issues got here out of dealing with that, each when it comes to creativity and likewise the invention of inside energy and authentic methods to cope with issues that I didn’t have up to now. I began to take care of my physique, to learn much more, to open my thoughts to issues past my common environment.

And because you returned?

I’ve been busy with digital music – my industrial title is Pure Catastrophe. I carry out, deejay, file on my own, do sampling. Apart from that, I work for a company in Germany that advises individuals who wish to attend German universities; and the identical with Germans who take the other route.


An Austrian girlfriend, a German group, a keep in Berlin….

Sure, there’s a sure motif right here.