One Year Later

I can not believe it has been a whole year since I published my first blog post. So much has happened in one year. Our lives look drastically different now. It was eye opening for me to re-read my initial blog posts and reminisce about the beginning of our aliyah journey and our thoughts and emotions as we began to plan the biggest move of our lives.

One year ago, aliyah was just an idea. My husband and I were just starting to think about if we could really pull off making aliyah at this point in our lives. We were very settled in America and thriving there, but we realized that living in Israel would be a more ideal life to lead. We had so many questions and concerns about making aliyah. We knew that if we could figure out some solutions, then we would ideally love to move to Israel, but we did not know how we would do it or if it was really something we should do with our family at this stage in our lives.

This past year has been full of excitement and stress as we have unraveled the mystery. We took one step at a time and tried to figure out how we could or if we should make aliyah. Questions like which community would suit our family, how to pack up our belongings and send them to a new home across the ocean, and who to contact to network for jobs have all been answered. We have figured out so many things about ourselves and the aliyah process that we did not know one year ago.

As I looked back on my list of initial concerns about making aliyah, I noticed that some are still haunting me today. I still worry about my children making friends. We wait anxiously for Sunday afternoon to come each week. Sunday afternoon from 3:30 PM, when the girls get home from school until bedtime at around 7 PM is the only time during the week when both my girls and their American friends are home and awake to chat. I watch as they giggle and video chat with their best friends and feel the guilt that we pulled them away from the people they love. Connecting with my friends in America is also very challenging. Finding time when my friends and I are both awake, at home and without kids around is nearly impossible. We have been working on finding pockets of time when we can catch up, but it is inconsistent. I hope we can continue to remain close with our friends from America and make new close friends here in Israel, as well. Additionally, I am concerned about how they are doing academically. Although they are making progress in their Hebrew, I hope they are not falling too far behind in their other subjects during this period when their main focus is learning the language. And maybe most importantly, I am worried about the long term effects that aliyah may have on each of us as a family and individuals.

There are still so many parts of the klita that we are still working on. Just this morning, the new olim in our community met with a liaison for the city to discuss programs that could help our families with the transition. Ulpan and assistance in school was the big issue at hand. We also discussed a program that could help us learn the cultural nuances that we do not know inherently. For example, the foods we baked in America are very different from here. If we could learn some of the common foods Israelis make, we would be more prepared to send in treats with our children for school activities. We want to help our children feel like they fit in, and it will be less alienating to send foods familiar to their classmates.

One year ago aliyah was just a dream we were hoping for, and now it is a reality. Over this past year, we made the big move. We took the leap and brought our family home, to Israel. We have come so far in just 365 days. There are so many more obstacles to overcome and questions to be answered. We are still praying that this transition will go smoothly and we will all be successful in the long term. It has been an incredible year and journey of coming home.