It’s over. Everything is over and my kids have won. Now go read my electric bill.

The kids wanted me to write them ‘good deeds’ notes to bring to gan. I scribbled one for Koala – he had cut the vegetables for dinner last night by himself. Then I asked Bebe what I can write for her.

“I shared my spoon with Koala!”

I started writing it and then looked up at my 5-year-old.

“How… how would I say share here?” It’s a verb I just can’t get right because it doesn’t translate the way you’d think it does.

They both answered immediately: “L’vatair!”

“L’vatair… right. So if I want to say ‘she shared,’ I’d say ‘hee vetra?'”

Koala looked over at Bebe, a smile slowly spreading across his face. I caught her mouth responding in a similar smile.

“Yeah… ‘hee vetRa’,” he responded, rolling the ‘resh’ correctly. This resh, or Ima’s lack thereof, has been a a cute source of contention lately.

As we’d say in Hebrew, nafal ha’asimon. I looked from one sabra to the other. It wasn’t the first time either had noticed my linguistic lacking (or pathetic pronunciation), but it was the first time they were in on it together.

In that moment, I could see the future. I could see that immigrant life as I’d known it till now is over. That look between my two children said everything; that look was the last stamp in my teudat oleh. My aliyah may now officially be declared successful.

“Hey. Both of you. Stop that smiling! I know what you’re thinking!”

My two Israeli children giggled and I tossed Bebe her note.

Native children ahad, Immigrant mother, efes.

But also probably a lot more than efes.

lizrael update: the expat-makes-a-visit edition

Living in Israel (and probably many other countries as an American expat) is an exercise in being happy with what you have, and I feel lucky to have even scratched the surface of that sentiment.

Occasionally the conversation comes up with fellow expats here and I’m no longer surprised to admit that I’m happier here than I imagine I would be in the States.

Last week I returned with the kids from a trip to the US where we mainly visited with family, which is actually the sole serious issue I have with living far away from the place I grew up. The family aspect was lovely. It’s soaking in as much familiarity and nostalgia and new memories as I can in as little time as two weeks out of the year.

Each time I go back for a visit, I feel a certainty that I made the right choice, which I think is so incredibly valuable when you’ve made a life-altering decision. This time, it barely even crossed my mind to contemplate it; it was a given.

Some of the time, I view America the way lots of people who don’t live there view it. The politics creep me out. The culture shocks me. The values confuse me.

And when I’m in New York, I’m overwhelmed. The supermarkets are heavy. The malls are filled with stuff for sale that makes me sad. The maternity and daycare situation is dismal. The nightly news is frightening. I’m looking over my shoulder. I’m filled with mistrust.

I think maybe I was always overwhelmed until I left. Surely not every born New Yorker has a New York soul. Not every American feels at home. A lot of the reasons people cite for what’s great about living in the States don’t compel me.

I’m happy to be lucky to be happy with what I have.