Finally!! We have connectivity!! First our Israeli landline, then the cell phones and after that (yesterday) internet and voip!! I hated feeling so disconnected from all of you....
Today, it's a week since we've arrived. There is so much I want to say. I actually hand wrote an entry on the plane, so I'll pull it out and see if its relevant....it's funny, because now, when people ask me how the flight was, I usually say, well it was long, and I didn't sleep at all, and Tali was kind of upset for the first couple of hours....but this is what I wrote at the time:
"Seeing the NBN Aliyah 2007 on the side of the plane made feel proud--of who I am, of what I am doing; of my heritage and my people and my homeland; of my daughters, who in spite of their misgivings will rise to the occasion...."
And I still feel proud. This is something I've always wanted to do, but never thought I'd actually have the courage to go through with it. And to watch the girls try so hard to integrate...amazing...
I wrote much more about the flight--but most of it benign. I did meet some interesting people: a 65-year-old South African man married to an Israeli woman with a 21 year old daughter making aliya to a neighborhood near us--his wife very reluctant, but his enthusiasm was carrying them both. The guy didn't speak a word of hebrew...I also met a gay couple flying with two cats on the plane, and two dogs beneath. They were fun to talk to but I would have liked to find out what motivated them to make aliyah. Oh well.
The ceremony was nice, if a bit anti-climactic. It was surreal stepping off the bus and being grabbed by strangers shouting that I did the right thing. There was lots of flag waving and some very young chayalim. It was all a blur to someone who hasn't slept in months. My friends Tova, Marta and Marian were there to greet me. I bet they thought this day would never come!
This is what I was afraid of: I thought I would get off the plane and I would feel nothing. Because really, coming here was based on that feeling that many of us get when we're here. You can't really describe it, and not everyone feels it, but many Jews do. I guess its a feeling of your past, of where your soul started and how it has come home. And I was afraid that feeling wouldn't be there and that I had shlepped my kids half way across the world just to live in a strange place...and I wouldn't say that feeling was there the minute I stepped off the plane. But it has been coming back as I travel the roads of the land and breathe the air. As I try to speak the language and feel the heat of the afternoon sun beating down on me. There is nothing like this place. Nothing. And I hope and pray my children come to feel this way someday soon.
Olga and my mother-in-law also came to greet us at the airport. They had stocked and cleaned the apartment (Abuelita actually made us a dinner of schnitzel and rice!)They took Tali and Liat home, while Orli stayed with Isaac and myself to collect Ozzy and our 13 pieces of luggage. That took a while. We arrived in Modiin at about 2:00 p.m. Tuesday. I was nervous about the apartment--hoping it wasn't a total dump. But I have to say, they did a good job picking it. It's small, but its really nice--modern and clean, and we've been busy turning it into home. I really love it. It has a beautiful backyard/patio that extends to a side yard that leads to the mirpeset in the front. The mirpeset is also big. Ozzy loves it--we let him out and he runs free. I think his klita is going the best. The day we arrived people from my hachshara days came to visit--they live in chashmonaim. I havn't seen them in years! And they brought borecas, the national food over in this country. Wherever you go there are borecas, and I can see that my plan to lose weight is not really going to happen here in Israel.
I'm going to try to post pictures of the apartment, and of us here...but we'll see; that may be to technologically advanced for me.
It took me a few days to work up my courage, but on Thursday I finally tackled the TINY Israeli washing machine. The first load I did took 2 1/2 hours because I pressed "intensive wash". I decided that my laundry is intense enough, so now I press "easy wash" and it only takes an hour. I have yet to buy a dryer, so there is this weird dryer thing that everyone here has that you put everything out to dry in the sun--these days it takes less time to dry than to wash. In an odd way I've been enjoying this ritual (I can't imagine going to work having to do this). I feel very Israeli doing this, and I have to say, the clothing smells great.
The kids have started school. Tali and Orli are making friends and seem for the most part happy. Liat is also befriending some kids, but its more difficult for her. But she is a trouper as you all know, and I know she will find her place at some point in time. We got all of them cellphones and Tali and Orli are all excited. They had them for the first time today, and sure enough at 8:45 a.m. Tali calls me to tell me there is a huge flood in the school and that they were going to be sent home. Isaac and I were getting ready to leave for Jerusalem, so we figured we'd swing by the school and take them with us. When we got to the school and went into the office to ask, the secretary said, "mah pitom? zeh rak mayim!" (That was a hell of alot of water!). So the girls were dissappointed when we told them they were staying school. Say what you will about Israeli education, but they close school for [almost] NOTHING!
Since it is really late here I'm going to sign off. There is so much more I have to say, but I'll save it. I am happy. But I do get pangs of missing you, of lonliness and of self-doubt. This is a hard thing we chose to do, and I don't want to sugarcoat it and make it sound like its always amazing. So stay tuned for the real story of our aliyah--the ups and downs. With G-d's Help it will be more ups than downs--but remember my pledge not to speak ill of this great country of ours. Just remind me not to speak ill of her...
8 Years and Counting
9 months ago