Go with the flow, roll with the punches, water off a ducks back and what will be will be.
These phrases have been my mantra since we made the decision to make aliyah. We made lists, we made plans, we were as prepared as we possibly could be, but shit happens and getting upset about it wasn’t going to help anything.
I cannot tell you how many people commented on how calm I was, how unfazed I was by our move. All I can say is that when you accept that things will go wrong, that you cant control everything and when you truly believe that everything happens the way it is meant to happen then you will be calm and happy.
Things went wrong. We almost didn’t get all our documents from the Department of Home Affairs, we found a fantastic apartment and then the landlord rejected us, our container was hectically delayed to name a few. In the end our documents arrived in the nick of time, we found an even better apartment and we ‘camped’ out for 4 months with the bare basics and survived.
Being a new immigrant is hard. New language, new culture, new friends, new job, new schools for the kids, new food, new everything. The above philosophy is a huge help in surviving our new life. Added to that is the ability to make fun of yourself and to not take yourself too seriously, the ability to ask questions and make mistakes without beating yourself up. Something else we have been determined to do is immerse ourselves in Israeli life. We are learning to speak Hebrew (The kids are almost fluent, Paul is attending classes twice a week, I will take classes when Paul is finished). We try to socialise with Hebrew speaking people not just English speakers. We try eat Israeli foods and use Israeli brands.
In fact it was reading this article sometime last year that inspired me. The following story from the article has stuck with me and I think of it often:
Her father, Jill Ben-Dor recalls, once took note that her refrigerator was always stocked with Israeli products, while her sister’s was perpetually filled with American brands. It struck him as unusual since her sister had been living in Israel longer.
Many years later, Ben-Dor wondered whether her father’s observation might provide the key to explaining why she stuck it out, while all the other members of her family, her sister included, eventually packed up and moved back to the United States.
“I, on the other hand, made a conscious decision that this is where I am, and this is home. If I’m going to be here, I’m going to be Israeli all the way. I’m going to eat Israeli products, read books and newspapers in Hebrew, watch the news on TV in Hebrew and live like an Israeli.”
So yes, there are bad days and there are ‘what the hell am I doing days’ but overall I am happy, I am content and I am absolutely loving being an Israeli!