Haven’t done this in a while, but here goes.
At this point, I’ve been living in Israel for three and a half years. Seems like so much longer… I can now count ‘old friends’ I had when I first came, I have a lengthy list of apartments I’ve lived/crashed in, I’ve been married for nearly two years and traveled internationally with an Israeli travel document six times.
The reasons I stay in Israel are different from the reasons I originally came. When I landed here, I was a single post-graduate with a lot of different directions and vast openness. Since then, I’ve worked at a steady job for three years, which has opened me up to a career path I never would have expected for myself, but warmly welcome. I’ve married a non-American/non-Israeliborn from across the world, so it will never be easy to pick up and leave Israel for us; it’s not a matter of moving to an obvious place.
Also, I’ve invested so much into living here, mentally, and I’ve lost touch with reality in the States. I’ve gotten used to a lifestyle here that I couldn’t have back there with ‘only’ this much effort.
It’s not that I’m thinking of leaving Israel, but I really don’t think about it because it’s now, simply, where I live, where I get my paycheck from, where I’ve started building my house and home.
I’m on the very last leg of my toar sheni, my graduate degree. Yeah, remember that goal I set out for myself three years ago? Conflict Management and Negotiation at Bar Ilan University.
I’m currently engaged in a required ‘internship’ which actually takes place at my job. I’m working on creating a dispute resolution program for an online social Q&A community. I like that it has nothing to do with international relations or politics (although sometimes it feels that way).
I’ve come to realize that being friends with the intertubes is the way to go if you’re going to live comfortabley in Israel. That being said especially as I’ve been told by professors that no one makes a living here off only doing gishur (mediation). Online Dispute Resolution is a curious path I’m looking forward to exploring in the coming years.
Which leads me to my work…
By some interesting twist, three years ago I ended up working in the marketing department of an internet company and I’m still there, job having evolved over the years, but a rainbow of experience gained.
The job that was supposed to be my financial parent through grad school became a career path – who knew? In fact, I’d argue I’ve learned way more at the job than the university, even if the two subjects are completely unrelated.
I tell people now that if you are open, have mother-tongue English and some internet savvy in your pocket, hi tech is the way to go here in Israel. You don’t have to start your own start up, either. There are plenty of jobs right now and the business is flourishing. And because it’s based in Israel, and you speak mother-tongue English, you are a step ahead in gaining a new career that you can really leverage. Just be open to learning some code.
As I said above, we’ve been married for nearly two years now; we have a Tu B’Av anniversary coming up. Marriage is everything and nothing like I thought it would be, in the best possible ways. And I know why that is; it’s because of who I married and how much we’ve both been open and proactive about making this work.
Of course, we’re at two years and no kids, so who are we to talk? There are challenges that crop up now and then, mainly concerning the issue of us both being from two different countries located on opposite ends of the planet. What if we left? Where would we go? Whose family do we visit next?
It is also difficult for both of us to be far from our families; neither of us have immediate family here and we do catch each other’s bouts of homesickness once in a while.
But there’s also the topic of extending our own family, which I’ve realized I wouldn’t want to start anywhere else but Israel. It’s a different life than how I grew up, but I think with lots more positive elements.