Beer Sheva – Looking back with no nostalgia

A desert sunset caught from my parents' balconyI grew up in Beer Sheva, the capital of the Negev desert,  a large and quite unpopulated desert. Since my migration to Tel Aviv, I rarely visit. Many of my friends have also left the city and now live in Tel Aviv or it’s suburbs.

The city, with a population of nearly 200,000 has always been dry. Most of the stronger population lives in the community satellite towns of Omer, Lehavim and Meitar. These include university professors and workers of the various chemical plants that surround the city. Beer Sheva got only a few of these more educated people. This includes my parents.

Despite the rapid growth of the Ben Gurion university in the past decade, not many stay in the city. Half of the students don’t come from the south, and most of them return after graduating. Many locals, like myself, say goodbye.

Avishay Braverman, the president of the university until the last elections, raised lots of funds for new buildings and new faculties. In his time, the university built up a reputation of an excellent place to study at, especially socially. He also had a vision of creating more jobs in the city and the area, but that didn’t really work out. Currently he is with the labor party, one of the promising shining stars of the party in the last elections. He hasn’t proved himself yet, though…

Anyway, since I had a birthday and my parents invited me, I was obligated to pay a visit. Just a 100 kms on an excellent empty road and I’m in Beer Sheva. I used the opportunity to visit some old friends down there. My friends that still live there are true patriots of the city. As long as they have a job, they don’t feel any need to move to the center of the country. They prefer not having traffic jams and like the good desert air at night. They still aren’t frustrated from the lower salaries and from the serious lack of bars, cafes, restaurants and more cultural leisure options. They barely leave the city, not even to visit me….

Well, not much has changed. The bright sun still blinds my eyes and the depressed town is still “dry”. A new Irish pub didn’t convince me that a serious change in the atmosphere has arrived. The students still leave town after graduation, so that the new blood goes elsewhere. The city is just a big provincial town. Except being felt, it is also seen in the calm housing market. Apartments for sale or rent are always available and at rock bottom prices.

So, I don’t look back in anger, and not with nostalgia.

Its my birthday

Today I celebrate 29 years.

For many months, when I’m asked of my age, I already say 29, so I’m used to it. Usually I celebrate with some friends. I used to invite people to my house, or go out to a pub. Sometimes only with close friends, sometimes with almost everybody I know. This year I decided to give it up. I don’t feel like making all the phone calls, explaining how to get there, and apologizing for the lack of parking spaces. I also don’t feel being obligated to mingling with all my guests. I prefer being a guest. I think that I’ll save my energy for the next birthday, the big 30.

Well, a birthday is also a time to think over. Well, everything is ok, isn’t it? I live a comfortable life. I live in a city that I like very much, and I live in a good standard of living. I have girlfriend that I love, and she isn’t too demanding. In the past months I’ve enjoyed freedom from the burden of work: Traveling around and then resting here in Tel Aviv has been excellent for me. In the past weeks, when I did start job searching, I found that it was very easy, lots of possibilities, and that the salaries are excellent. So, everything is ok.

Well, I still feel that there’s something missing. The movie Lost In Translation still doesn’t leave my head. In the movie, the main characters both have everything: solid families, no financial worries, and a wonderful time in Tokyo. Still, they lack something. They are both bored with what they have, and are seeking some kind of new excitement. This movie seriously affected me. I can very strongly relate to the characters.

John Lennon said:

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

I don’t really have plans, so I guess that mediocre life is  here to stay.

Most of the time I don’t have these melancholic thoughts. I simpy enjoy life as is, but today is my birthday, so…

Happy birthday to me