For me, the most difficult thing about making this move to Israel is leaving the people I love behind. At first it was a huge void for me, a mourning of sorts. Slowly, the void turned into a little ache that I could wrap up neatly and tuck away. Every now and then (as in true mourning I now know) the ache rises to the surface.
It could be when I see someone on the street that bears a striking resemblance to someone I miss.
It could be a wedding I missed.
It could be followed by a visit which invariably comes to an end.
Sometimes when someone from America asks me how my Aliya is going, I answer, "if you were here, it would be perfect."
You know the challenges we've had here: the cultural and linguistic difficulties, the lice, watching my kids struggle, financial issues, the heat (Oh G-d, the heat). And yet, the feeling of accomplishing something I dreamed of for so long makes me unbelievably proud. If I accomplish nothing else in my life, I will always have this.
Still, I miss my people. If they would all come here, life for me, would be as perfect as it could possibly be. Sure I joke about missing Target and good pedicures. And I would miss the places, but if the people were here, I think I'd miss them alot less.
Tomorrow, I get just a bit closer to perfect. I've known Carol and Stuart for over 25 years. You know the kind of friends they are, because I know you all have friends like this--the ones that drop everything for you before you even know you needed them to do it.
A story about Carol and me: We were both thrilled when we learned we were due with what turned out to be our youngest kids at the same time. Throughout the pregnancy we made plans as to what we were going to do when we started out maternity leave, before the babies actually arrived. We decided we would go see the first showing of Harrison Ford's new flick Air Force One. We must have also planned lunch, although I don't specifically remember that. Of course, on the first day of our leave I went into labor. I called Carol from the labor room to let her know. As soon as she picked up the phone, she suspiciously asked, "Are those beeping sounds [from one monitor or another] what I think they are? I will be very annoyed if you're canceling our date!"
Tomorrow, Stuart and Carol and their kids, Adina, Ilan, Gilad and Dafna (born three days after Orli) will step off that plane into the blazing Israeli sun. Like us, they've dreamed and talked about this day for years. Like us, they face many challenges as they settle into their lives. They will probably be dazed and exhausted. They will have days when they will have serious doubts about their decision. But like us, they have a clear vision of what they are doing and why. Tomorrow, the Katzes will have made it to the Holy Land.
And my life will be one step closer to perfect.