Last year this time, we were standing in the aliyah office at the airport officially becoming Israeli citizens. We had been on a plane for 9 hours. The kids had only slept for a bit. I had a hole in my eardrum and hadn’t slept at all. Paul had been an absolute champion with organising all of us on very little sleep himself.
A little while later, after collecting 8 of our 9 bags (one was delayed in Johannesburg and would only arrive a week or so later), we made our way outside to find a taxi to take us to our new apartment.
Arriving outside our apartment we were greeted by my sister from another mister, Roro, with a HUGE hug and the keys. Once we got all our bags inside we walked down the road to buy some really important stuff from the local store. A kettle and coffee! Okay, and a few other staples.
My brother arrived after work a bit later that afternoon to help Paul assemble our IKEA beds and we had pizza delivered for dinner, which we ate on the floor. Then our landlord came over to welcome us with a plate of homemade sufganyot (donuts) since it was the first night of chanukah.
That first day seems so long ago and yet it feels like yesterday too.
We’ve had difficult days and bad days between then and now but the majority of our days have been great days.
We have good jobs, a great apartment with a wonderful landlord and fantastic friends, our kids are happy and settled in school, they have awesome friends and speak fluent Hebrew. I’ve learned to navigate public transport and can speak just enough Hebrew to order things at the butcher. I start proper ulpan (Hebrew) classes in February and hopefully my Hebrew will improve enough for me to speak to the kids teachers and friends when we have play dates. In the mean time, Paul’s Hebrew is coming along in leaps and bounds and he can converse with taxi drivers, teachers and random strangers. We get to be close to my brother and his family and even though we don’t see each other nearly enough its great to finally be living in the same country again after over 10 years apart.
This last year has been amazing. I’ve learned so many new things. In particular how strong our family is. Moving to a new country is stressful and our family could have been torn apart but we have only become stronger and closer.
Mostly I am just happy to be home! Here’s to many many more happy years!