6 months in numbers

Roughly 6 months ago, I was let go from my job of 4 and a half years. In that time I have been job searching, reading a ton and learning front end web development by teaching myself HTML and CSS.

Its been an extremely wild 6 months. It was fun. It was stressful. It was enlightening. I got to spend time with Paul, even though he was working during the week. I got to eat lunch with my entire family, every day. I played games with the kids, took them to the park after school and helped with homework. I got to spend the entire summer break and all the Jewish holidays with the kids and Paul. I fell into a funk, especially after each rejection email from a potential job opportunity. I worked through each funk. I started running (and need to get back into it). I taught myself a new skill. I read. A lot.

As of today, the job searching has come to an end since I am now employed in an amazing company and am happily working in my new job! And Im going to be utilising some of the new skills I’ve learned!

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

The process of being (f)unemployed and searching for a job was hard. It certainly wasn’t quick and it took a hell of a lot of work and constant vigilance. It was at times demoralising and at times it was quite a bit of fun. I learned a lot and met some amazing people. The entire process is a post in and of itself.

I definitely could not have done it without Paul and the kids support. They held me up when I thought I would never find a job. They encouraged me to apply for jobs outside my comfort zone. They cheered with me for every interview gotten and hugged me for every position lost. And now here we are on the other side.

And now, the numbers:

  • 6 months
  • 90+ jobs applied for
  • 30+ telephone interviews, skills tests, Skype interviews, psychometric tests and in-person interviews undertaken, from the…
  • 13 companies interviewed with
  • 3 offers made
  • 1 awesome job accepted!

In the last 6 months I have also done the following:

  • Read 194 books
  • Averaging 32 books a month (1 a day!)
  • Averaging 9000 pages read in a month


  • Took various classes on Codecademy in HTML and CSS
  • Joined She Codes;
  • Have had 4 groups lessons
  • Completed 6 lessons on HTML and CSS
  • In the process of coding my own cooking site
  • Starting to learn JavaScript

Time for a new adventure

Some of you may already be aware but for those that are not and as a recap, the company that I have worked for since making aliyah, recently downsized quite drastically and most of the staff, including myself, were retrenched.

I worked out the months notice that they gave us and as of today I am officially unemployed.

And that’s OK.

I started applying for new jobs straight after finding out, and I have had a number of telephone interviews, assignments and in-person interviews so far. I am confident that I will have a new, super awesome job soon.

In the meantime, I am taking the next few weeks for myself.

I have a few projects I want to work on, including my pallet herb garden, creating a back (side) splash next to my stove, creating throw pillows out of old superhero t-shirts among other things.

Also, Paul and Aaron are heading off to Oz in a week or so for our nieces Bat Mitzvah, so Faith and I are are having 10 days of girl time. I will be home to fetch her from school every day and we will be able to go swimming or to the movies or just hang out.

I also intend running more and taking my yoga mat out to the park across the road. I’m also excited to have time to read more.

For now I am at home, taking some me time and getting ready for a brand new adventure!


When we were first making aliyah, people were slightly horrified that I didn’t have a job lined up for when we arrived.

They were even more horrified when I told them that I would be happy packing supermarket shelves if that was the only job I could get.

Then I was lucky enough to get a job within a month of arriving in Israel and I’ve just passed my 2 year work anniversary with the company.

I have also only just realise, like sitting at the bus stop this morning realised, that I have actually manifested my words from 2 years ago.

You see, I work for a company that price compares products across a variety of supermarkets. My job, specifically, is to make sure that all the data we receive from the various stores is correct in terms of price, quantity and of course, which shelves the products are on in the website.

It only took me 2 years to twig, but even though I may not be physically packing shelves at the local super, I am digitally packing shelves for a variety of supermarkets.

The Work Cow Mug of Awesomeness!

A few weeks ago on Twitter there was a hashtag about your first 7 jobs. 

It got me to thinking about all the different things I have done since (and some before) I left school.

My very first job was at 16. I worked as a sales person in a toy store. It was a small independent store and my mom had also worked in the store when I was growing up. I seem to recall working there until matric and not working during that final year of school.

My first job after graduating was at the Health & Racquet Club in Sandton. I was employed as a receptionist. I eventually became reception manager and a part time club manager. 

I worked there for a year and a half before going to Israel for 8 months to live on a kibbutz. For the first 6 months on the kibbutz I worked in a plant nursery, grafting cuttings, transplanting seedlings and getting plants ready for sale. I also spent 2 months working in the dining room and kitchen. 

When I came back I attempted to work at what was still Health & Racquet but about to become Virgin Active. I couldn’t get a reception job but I did get a job as a sales consultant. This was the first step to realising I really, really am not cut out for sales, especially cold calling.

I think I lasted 2 months at the sales job. I then got a job as a waitress at a local deli/diner. It was a small-ish place serving Jewish style home cooked foods. It was great, I loved the people I worked with and we had fun. Except I’m really, really not cut out to be a waitress. I am too forgetful and too clumsy. That job lasted about 6 months.

My next job was my first corporate position. I started off working as a receptionist for a financial services company. After 6 months or so, the company started a new medical aid division and I was promoted to administrator for the division. I worked there for another 2 and a half years. We worked with a lot of corporate clients and somewhere around the 2nd year one of the clients gave me a gift basket as a thank you. In that gift basket was the Work Cow Mug of Awesomeness. That mug has come with me from job to job for the last 15 years. 



My next job was as the personal assistant to the owners of a digital archiving company. I worked there for 3 years. I really enjoyed working there but the pressure of working for 2 people both very different (and realistic) ideas of what was a priority became a bit too much for me. I decided that I wanted to go back to working in administration, behind the scenes. This was the first and only time that I resigned from a job without a new job lined up.

I didn’t need to worry though. My very first interview was a success and I had a new job lined up within a week of resigning. The new job was administration for a Jewish charity organisation that raises funds both for Israel and for the local community. Purely back office, no interacting with donors. I worked there for 7 years and loved every minute of it.

After 7 years I needed a change and I found that in another community organisation. I was still doing administration but I had more contact with clients and I was ‘looking after’ 6 of our consultants. This was by far the easiest job I have ever done, not because the work was easy, but because our office was a family. We had fun, played pranks on each other, worked our arses off, had Whiskey Fridays and just generally had each others backs. I could see myself working there for many years to come.

And then we made the decision to move to Israel, to come home. Handing in my resignation 11 months after I started working there was the hardest, most gut wrenching thing I have done in my working life. I cried. I never cry!

We came to Israel with no jobs, even though we had submitted our CV’s, there was not even an interview lined up. I was extremely lucky to get an interview within a few weeks of arriving here and even more lucky to land the job I have now. I’ve been working here for almost 18 months and I love it. I’m back to being behind the scenes working on the data side of our website, I have a fantastic team of colleagues and an awesome boss.

I also have the Work Cow Mug of Awesomeness. I initially wanted to bring my mug with me on the plane, but I was scared it would get broken in our luggage so I reluctantly packed it up with the rest of our household things and sent it over the ocean with our lift. It only arrived in Israel 3 months after I started working and it was one of the first things I unpacked. I brought it in to work with me the next day and it really wasn’t until I had made my first cup of tea in it that I truly felt at home in my office.

What jobs have you done and do you have anything special that’s traveled from job to job with you?

Sick kids

Back in South Africa, when our kids were sick they either stayed home with our nanny, Aletta or if they were ok to go to school and then didn’t feel well, Nana or Bobba could fetch them and take them to their house or back to our house to be with Aletta.

If If they needed to go to the doctor, both Paul and I worked close enough to home to be able to pop out and fetch them and then drop them back home and go back to work.

Having sick kids in Israel has been one of the steepest learning curves we have faced.

No Aletta.

No Nana or Bobba.

We each work at least an hours bus and/or train ride away from home.

If the kids are so sick they cant go to school, one of us has to take a day off work to stay with them.

Luckily Paul can work from home if he has to and my boss and manager are very understanding about needing to take time off for sick kids.

Photo by Paul

Faith has been sick the last few days. Not enough to stay home (except for the first day) but sick enough that this is the third day the school has called us to fetch her just after lunch time because she is coughing (sometimes so much she vomits) and is just generally feeling yuck.

That means that I left work early the last two days and Paul left early today to fetch her.

Its hard without that immediate support system that we had before. But living in a country where a lot of people are in the same position we are in makes it easier.  We also get to spend time with the kids when they are extra cuddly and clingy and just want mom or dad to be with them, which besides the sick part, is awesome.

Now for the little sicky to start getting better!

Work and all that entails

I posted last week about about the fact that our container arrived.  It took us 48 hours and everything was unpacked.  All those boxes were emptied or stored in the downstairs storeroom.

I’m not going to post any pictures just yet because the house is still a bit of a mess while we try to find place for everything. I will do a proper post with pictures later on in the week.

In the meantime lets talk about work.

In Israel the week starts on a Sunday, so while all my South African friends are having a braai, chilling with mates, browsing flea-markets, drinking beer, running marathons and doing triathlons, I am at my desk, working.

Most places work a five day week although some work a five and a half day week (Fridays being the half day). Both Paul and I are lucky to work for companies that are closed on Fridays so we still get a ‘full’ weekend.  Also, the kids go to school from Sunday to Friday, so we get a child free morning on a Friday which is nice.

My day starts at 05:45 when my alarm goes off, by 06:00 when Paul’s alarm goes off I am out of bed (usually! I’m not a morning person so sometimes it takes me longer to get going).  Hopefully by 06:30 I am out the door and on the way to the central bus station, a 10 minute walk from my apartment.


If I leave the house by 06:30 I am able to catch the 06:45 bus.  If I leave later and I dont hustle I then catch the 07:05 bus.  My bus ride is usually about 20 minutes give or take. And its a short 5 minute walk from the stop to the office. So I get to work between 07:15 and 07:30 most days.

I work in a fantastic office with about 60 people. They are a mix of Anglos (English speaking people from USA, UK, Australia and South Africa) and native born Israelies. My team is all English speaking.  We work in an open plan office with 5 of us sharing the space.

My company looks after us really well and one of the benefits to working here is we get a meal card loaded with a balance for the month. We then log onto the website and we have a variety of places to order from. We have to place our orders before 11:00 in order for them to be delivered at lunch time and when I first started working here I was told that the golden rule is ‘First thing you do when you come into the office: have coffee and order lunch!’

On the off chance you do forget to order in time there is always something to eat in the fully stocked kitchen. Bread, cottage cheese, fruit and veggies and tons of snacks. Not to mention the coffee machine!


My work day is roughly a 9 hour day. Now the kids finish school at 13:00 for Aaron and 14:00 for Faith so they both attend after care at their respective schools.  2 or 3 days a week we have a babysitter who fetches them from school after aftercare and takes them home. She does homework and plays with them or takes them to the park across the road from our house.

If the babysitter is fetching the kids then I leave work between 16:30 and 17:30 and catch the 16:45 or 17:45 bus home, getting home between 17:15 and 18:15. I usually go past the store on the way from the bus station to pick up milk, bread or anything else we need and the babysitter leaves between 18:00 and 18:30 depending on the day. On the days when we don’t have a babysitter I leave work at 15:45 and am back in time to fetch the kids from aftercare at 16:30 for Aaron and 16:45 for Faith.

The kids love being at aftercare where they get to play with their friends, do homework (in Aaron’s case), are fed a yummy hot lunch and do activities like learning to play chess, learning to juggle and making artwork for our fridge.  They also love their babysitter who gives them her undivided attention and they love when I fetch them and we go to the park on the way home.

By 18:30 kids are usually in the bath while I get supper going and then they help with chores around the house, cleaning their rooms, sweeping and generally tidying up before dinner time.

And speaking of the kids, Paul helps them get ready in the mornings and makes sure they are dressed, fed and groomed and then he walks them to school on his way to catch his train to work. He is usually home between 19:00 and 19:30 each night which is when we have dinner and family time before the little ones go to bed.


Its a long day with a lot of travel.  Its certainly not what I’m used to and its taken a while to get used to the hours and the commute but its working for us.

**Photos by Paul!

I’m a productive member of Israeli society!

So, my little {adventure the other day} was for a job interview.

I didnt want to say anything about the interview because I didn’t want to jinx it. According to everyone I spoke to and everything I have read, finding a job as a new immigrant can take a while.  So I was hesitant to be too vocal about the opportunity.


Anyway, I went for the interview which went very well and I got the job!  I start on Sunday! (The work week in Israel is Sunday to Thursday or (half day) Friday).  I get Friday off, which is amazing, the kids are at school on a Friday morning which means I get to do shopping and have some time to myself.

Im so excited. Its a fantastic company, about 60 employees, and it looks like a fun and relaxed environment.  The position is specifically for an English speaker and pretty much everyone in the company speaks English.  Although I am going to hound the Hebrew speakers to help me with my vocab since having a full time job will pretty much mean I can’t go to Ulpan (hebrew lessons) full time.


The hours are long but are flexible with when I can start/finish, so if I wanted to start early and end early I could, which might have to happen once Paul gets a job and depending on his hours, in order for me to fetch kids from school/aftercare**.

I’m really looking forward to going to work.  Staying home and reading all day sounds great in theory but it gets old pretty fast.  Im looking forward to using my brain and interacting with new people.


I will let you know how it goes on Sunday 🙂

*All the photos in the post were taken by my amazing Hubband and are in and around Modi’in.

**The school system here is a whole blog post on its own and a very interesting topic, watch this space!




Faith pretty much slept through last night.  Yay!

It did mean that she woke me up at 5am for a bottle but I managed to get her to go back to sleep.  Yay!

That meant that if I went back to sleep I would be a very grumpy Gina when I woke up later, so here I am, 6am, coffee made, laptop on, getting ready to tackle my first day back at work in almost 4 weeks.  Yay!  Maybe… Kind of…  Ok, Yay!!!

I must admit I was pretty clever going back to work today, not yesterday, you see, today is my half day, so I get to ease back into things.  I do have to go do the monthly grocery shop after work though but I think thats a fair trade.

Oh, and after that, once it cools down a little, I am going to attempt a run.  I have been seeing all the Twitter runners talking about their training and races and I have felt the urge to get on the road and run too.

Dont get too excited though, just climbing a flight of stairs leaves me breathless and exhausted, my cardio ability is severely lacking!  I do however need to exercise and I know that I will not use a gym contract to its full potential, running seems like a decent alternative.  I dont have to pay a membership fee , I dont have to go a minimum amount of times a month, I can run whenever suits me.

So wish me luck!

When it rains…

Today started of quite well.  I woke up on time, got hugs and kisses from Aaron and was out the door without a hitch.  Then I got to work…

We have spent many many hours capturing data for a new project, we have had some hiccups but they seemed to be sorted out and we started to capture the financial info for a debit run that needs to be finalised on Thursday (thats tomorrow just so you know).  Three days later we come across a small massive glitch in the system, our data has disappeared.  We were checking each batch as they were posted to the system and they were fine until this morning when one batch wasnt there, so we went back and spot checked other batches and THEY. WERE. MISSING!  They were there yesterday and the day before but now they are gone!

To make matters worse our programmer has no frigging clue why this is happening!  She will be back tomorrow and hopefully with a little more work she can figure it out.  If she doesnt… well lets not go there…

Then, yesterday I took my sick baba to the doctor again, he thinks Aaron needs to be nebulised and gave me a prescription for him and one for some meds I need.  I got home too late to fill it so Paul scanned it and faxed it to Dischem so that I could collect it today.

I called Dischem at 12:15 to confirm that everything was in order and that I could collect at 1pm.  I informed them that there were two scripts and that they were for me and for Aaron.  The lady on the phone assured me they were ready to be collected.  When I got there only my script was filled.  They didnt even have Aarons.  The same one that was faxed at the same time as mine!

This is not the first time that a faxed script has been lost by them.  Thats why I called to check it was ready.  I gave the poor pharmacist such a  go that half the customers were giggling at us and half were backing away very slowly.

When I got back to work I tried faxing the script again but could not get through to either of the two fax numbers they gave me.  So in desperation I sent our office driver to them with the original.   I then called to make sure they had it and am now going to collect it all after work.


On a happier note, I love the Woolies Sale.  I got me a lovely white handbag for R112.00 marked down from R250.00 and a JT T-shirt for R37.00 instead of R90.00.  WIN!

Designing Women

Last week our new CorelDRAW arrived at work.  Fortuitously, we have a breakfast event coming up soon and Wendi and I got to play with our new toy.

I L.O.V.E. it!  It is so easy to use that even someone like me that has no experience in Corel managed to create not one but two amazing flyers.

Im itching to do some more and to try out the Corel PHOTO-PAINT that came with it.

I see many hours playing working in my future.