Home.

I looked up when, among the mumbling, I heard the word ‘מעליב.’

Standing in a long, slow-moving line at a Staten Island department store, I suddenly felt at home. And yet, it wasn’t because I was in Staten Island, or a department store.

She turned around to complain about the long line in English, and then we chatted about the headphones she was holding. Helping her out with the specs, I was filled with a sense of wanting to hug this woman. Who, once upon a time on listening to her loud, unashamed Hebrew complaints, I would have smirked and thought, Oh, Israelis. But like seeing Sabra humus in a Costco, I had discovered a piece of home right there under the fluorescent lights of American shopping culture.

I had to say something once she mentioned she wanted to use them for a plane she’d be getting on shortly.

“So, you live here, or in Israel?”

We ended up switching to Hebrew and talking about our lives in short… She had moved to New York, and ended up in Chicago. I had left New York for Israel. She spoke Hebrew with her kids at home, and actually, her daughter has excellent Hebrew, “better than Israelis back b’aretz.” My kids speak English, and of course, expand their Hebrew vocabularies at their daycares. Her kids attend Jewish day schools – “absolutely, in America, you MUST give your children that.”

We parted ways to pay for our things and wished each other luck. In a way, I felt like this was my parallel universe, maybe ten years from now. With switched accents.

We make choices… we put faith in them… and some of us are fortunate enough to know deep down we’re living the right choice.

 

 

 

 

 

For purple mountain majesties…

The following are 1/10 the amount of photos I took in the last 48 hours I’ve been in Colorado visiting family.

It was hard to pick out just ten, and even that is a ridiculous amount to post. But guess what? The Colorado Rockies are breathtaking and I’m a country girl now. Ok, the Judean Hills are not exactly breathtaking… Which is all the more reason my 12,000+ mile climb into the mountain range was so incredibly cool.

The road ahead… is long and winding.

On the way up, past a lake.

That’s a whole lotta trees… Jerusalem forest pales…

The ultimate view. A little bit of everything.

This kid actually scurried by, posed, and ran off with his friends.

This was over 12,000 feet up,

What a palette.

A rocky view of Rockies.

Do not mess with this guy on the side of the road.

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado: Stephen King’s inspiration for The Shining.

Separation anxiety and the wandering me.

My professor had us draw a chart describing an experience of separation we’ve gone in childhood, teenage years, as an adult and also one that we expect in the next five or so years.

Oddly, the easiest phase to fill out was the last; it came to me immediately and it’s a wonder that little introspection exercise can bring all that out in you. What I wrote was the possibility of separation from my American life and my Israeli life, resulting in forever feeling like I don’t belong.

What I mean by that is, I do expect that there will come a time – if it hasn’t already – where it’s a no-looking-back point for me: I won’t fit in my old American culture, while never fully fitting in to my Israeli culture.

I have a history of feeling like I don’t belong, and yes, it might be self-perpetuating but this is a very large and real and tangible situation that I’m fairly sure I’ve already started to realize.

And what happens when you can’t turn back? Where does all that culture and emotion and love and hate and history go? Do you keep it tucked away as stories for your grand kids? Do you wash it off and look ahead, lonely forever?

For some reason, I’m ok with this. It’s possible that my American and Israeli lives don’t 100% suit me and there is something else out there, something that exists in another place or maybe just in my own mind.

When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

Why I made aliyah: My new answer.

It’s been a long couple of weeks. I haven’t had much to say and haven’t been wanting to think about the news. I’m currently a bachelorette living in this big apartment since my roommate went to Australia for two weeks. I’ve got a lot of school work to do and a lot of work work to do.

Not complaining; I’m enjoying my situation right now. When I hear about friends trying to cut it in America, paying that god-awful rent and keeping up with terribly high standards of living… I really do appreciate what I have built here. Could I have been this successful if I had lived in New York? I really don’t know. There’s so much about me that is calmer and more focused here.

I think I’ve come to the point where I realize I’m now here more for the conditions of my life than the ideological reasons from 2005. My lifestyle, my job, my school, my friends, my inter(national)marriage all keep me here more than a philosophical desire or religious dream. I do still believe in it, but I think I have a lot of new things I believe in now, too.

Which is why I always find it funny how people who have been living here for around 3 years seem to have a ‘new answer’ to why they made aliyah. Ask an oleh (not chadash) point-blank, and they will pause, possibly squirm, sigh, and tell you, “Well, the new answer is…”

I’m very grateful at how things have turned out for me; I know it’s usually the opposite for a lot of people. My key is to take it all one day at a time, or at the very least, not think more than six months ahead. That way, when you ask me why I made aliyah, I can continuously look back, reflect and be prepared to tell you what my ‘new answer’ is.