Yesterday I went with D to South Tel Aviv to change some cushions she had purchased online without measuring their size - they turned out to be too large.
So because we were close by, we went to see H, a former Buddhist nun who ekes out a living by teaching courses in mindfulness. She lives in the old Shapira quarter, close to Jaffa, the beach and the bus station. It's a dense, almost quaint, area of small, mostly one storey houses on streets and narrow lanes; a mixed low-income neighbourhood with refugees from Sudan, foreign workers, drug dealers, students, unemployed people and ordinary folk; lots of children. She rents an itsy-bitsy ramshackle place for a fairly low rent. There's a small bedroom, tiny kitchen and living room. As the latter edges her alley, there's a feeling of intimacy with the outside; you hear snatches of conversation from people passing by, a meter or two away. She has a raggedy miniature garden where she hangs her laundry, meditates, grows lemongrass, melissa, sage, lavender, nasturtiums, and a dozen other plants. If I lived in the city, I'd absolutely prefer to live there than on the seventh floor of some dismal block of flats.