Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Night Before (dun dun dunnnn)

        You know those crazy people who post on Twitter of Facebook at the most inappropriate times- like as their son is getting circumcised or in the delivery room or a funeral home? And you see it on Reddit or Buzzfeed and you think "Hey, Crazy! Don't you have other, better things to be doing right now? Is your social networking life SO vital that you are going to take a break from this momentous occasion to check- in right now?!" Well, I am those people. I am running around, the proverbial headless chicken, packing TO MOVE TO ISRAEL and I'm blogging! Cuh-razy.

         Not only am I packing my life (more on what my life consists of in a second), but I have misplaced some very important documents and they seem to have disappeared of the face of this earth (or the face of my home on Avon Road, but you got that.) So I just spent the better part of one of my last, precious, American hours looking for these documents fruitlessly, because it beats packing. Honestly, packing is the bane of my existence. I don't mean to use hyperbole, but I'd rather eat sandpaper with a saltwater chaser.
        And here is why. Apparently, when every person I know comments to me that I have a lot of clothes and shoes, they aren't making an observation or complimenting my frugal yet stylish wardrobe. They are warning me. They are subtly intimating that I have too much stuff! They are imploring me to stop buying it! And they are warning me, perhaps with a touch of premonition, that I will not be able to transport all this stuff! 
         So here I sit, with two full bags packed, praying they each clock in at exactly 50 pounds, literally vacuuming my clothes into shrinky-dinks, just so I can move all my shoes, bags and ortho-hot clothing across the Atlantic. In case you are wondering, for deciding to move to our Homeland, one is allowed THREE bags total. Since I don't really have furniture to move, I'm not taking one of those famous lifts that are all the aliyah-rage, so I will be springing for a 4th bag, because you know what? I'm worth it! And don't we all need 4 pairs of bronze sandals? See, you get me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It's the Final Countdown

     I have under a week before I make the biggest move of my life. After living in good ol' New York City for the last --redacted-- years of my life, I am making aliyah and moving to the Jewish homeland. Eretz Yisrael. Israel. The Middle East. However I say it, the move sounds huge. And scary. And life-changing. I am moving for a million reasons. Ideologically, I really do believe if a Jew can make aliyah, a Jew should make aliyah. This isn't to disparage the millions of diaspora Jews leaving outside of Israel, it's really just self- directed. I can live there, so I should live there! Easy peasy!
     Except it is the opposite of easy for me right now. Saying goodbye to the world that I know, the people I love most and the comforts that surround me here in the U.S. of A. is harder than I expected. I most certainly didn't expect to get nostalgic seeing the mailman- aww, I'm gonna miss the way he wears headphones and never acknowledges my existence! My days are spent saying goodbye (see you soon!) to so many people I adore and can't imagine going months (years?!) without seeing. I imagine watching life in America pass me by, a stream of Facebook and Instagram pictures of weddings I can't make, babies growing into teenagers, events I can't attend; and it makes my heart ache a little.
     Moving to Israel was an expected move by many ("Finally! It's about time! Don't you already live there?") but I know that actually living there, becoming an Israeli citizen, will be worlds different from my summer-long extended vacations. I don't see this as temporary, something that I'm "trying out." I see this as my new lifelong home, where I'm meant to be. 
      But then the stress sets in. I don't have a job or a permanent place to live. I will be living in an ulpan, trying really hard to obtain a fluency in a language that, for me, has pretty much been kacha-kacha (so-so) for 15 years. I don't plan on working in my chosen field of speech therapy, so I'm essentially starting over career-wise. I have a bunch of dispersed friends who live in Israel, but no cohesive social network. I am a New Yorker, so I'm pushy, but am I Israel pushy? This bureaucracy everyone tells me will drive me insane- will it? And honestly, how how how can I fit all my shoes and clothes into just 3 bags?! It's all really a lot to wrap my head around.
      As scary and unknown and stressful all of this is, I just think of something that a rabbi I knew once said. He said the opposite of pleasure isn't pain, it's comfort. And sometimes, in order to experience the pleasure, you gotta feel some pain. I know that the goodbyes and the packing and the red tape can be really painful. But I also truly believe that making aliyah and making a life in Israel will be the ultimate pleasure.