When our aliyah plans became more definite and we booked our flight date, we started counting down the days to our aliyah. As the number of days dwindled down, the excitement grew. Once we got to Israel, we were super busy getting settled. There were so many “firsts” to experience. Our children’s first time to the kotel, our first big supermarket shopping, the first day of school, our first yuntif as Israelis, etc. etc. The first few months of aliyah have been a blur of running around and trying to take in the new experiences as they come.
As one of my fellow olim and I just discussed this morning, this is when the reality is starting to set in. The dust is settling, and the craziness of making aliyah is calming down. We are getting into routines and starting real life here as Israelis. The days seem long and hard. There is so much we still do not know and do not feel comfortable with. My husband and I just spoke to my daughter’s teacher about how she is doing in school. The sentiment was that sitting through a whole day of Hebrew and not understanding the language is really hard. She is doing so well and trying so hard to grasp what she can, but it is a very difficult task.
Back about a year ago when we started really researching aliyah feasibility, we spoke to a lot of people about the first year adjustment. Most people said that the first year is really challenging in so many ways, but kids are resilient. They claim that by year two things get significantly easier. We were very honest with our children about our plans of making aliyah and what that would mean for them. Both of our older children were concerned about the struggles of learning a new language and making new friends. As we talked about how hard it would be, we tried to encourage them about how the biggest part of the challenge is going to be short term and with Hashem’s help things will get easier and easier for them as the year progresses. We even went to the extreme to say that hopefully, by the end of the school year, living in Israel will feel like a piece of cake.
The girls loved the analogy. And so, during that initial conversation, we planned that after the last day of their first year in Israeli school we would have a cake party. At the party, we would have tons of cakes and they would be able to have as many pieces of cake as they wanted. The cake party would be a reward for all the hard work they did over the first year and a fun event to look forward to when things got tough. We’ve spoken about the cake party on many occasions since then.
Now that we are in the thick of our aliyah process, and things are getting hard, we started our new countdown. Giving us another fun and exciting event to look forward to as we struggle through our aliyah klita. This countdown is counting down until the day after school at which time, we will celebrate all our accomplishments and hopefully, by then we will be thinking that living here is a little bit closer to a piece of cake. Countdown to our cake party is now at 239 days.