One year ago today… we were here!
Actually as of last week, Rosh Chodesh Adar, but tomorrow is also the 10th of February, which is when we left Canada for our pilot trip.
We had so many questions then! Some are still unanswered, but many , as everybody kind of hinted, have kind of answered themselves.
The biggest question was, “where are we going to live?” Which turned out to be a non-issue. We were offered a place here, and here is where (for the time being) we will stay. Here is as good a place as any, and maybe far better than some.
Beyond the pilot trip thing, we’ve been too busy with LIFE and all for me to comment on our big milestone: we passed the six-month mark.
Six months is a big deal for me for a few reasons. I mean, it’s kind of obvious – a year is an important, measureable amount of time. But even half a year means you’re not messing around; maybe you’re actually serious about this whole “Israel” thing. Very few people (that I’ve known) have the privilege of spending a whole half-year here.
But here’s another, maybe stranger reason. Good friends of mine came last year for six months. It was a hard six months for them, and a long six months for us, missing them back in Toronto. My friend was gone and my kids’ friends, so it was a big double-whammy.
At their end, here in Israel, everything that could go wrong did, pretty much (except, b”h, they all came home alive!). Plus, they had a newborn (when they left, and a bigger baby when they came back), which never makes things easier.
Anyway, maybe because of them, for our whole first six months here, I was always thinking in the back of my head, “If we were staying for only six months…” As in, “we’d have five more months to go, still lots of time,” or “we’d be halfway through already,” or “we’d be packing to leave by now and saying goodbye to our favourite people and places.”
Those milestones came and went… but we didn’t.
At six months, we found an apartment.
At six months, Akiva finished ulpan.
At six months, my work started picking up to a point where it might be possible to sustain ourselves someday.
At six months, I could start to understand the Hebrew around me.
At six months, I realized that if I won a lottery tomorrow, I wouldn’t spend it flying to Canada, I’d use the money to bring the rest of my family here. (It would have to be a BIG lottery, I suppose. And some family members might come kicking and screaming. Okay, all. You can bake and sing and knit and build sets and whatever-else just as well on this side of the pond!)
Here’s what Naomi Rivka had to say in a letter to her friend, around about six months:
“Things are not really going as well as you would think!” (arrow points to girl) “I look happy, but no!”
While this is Gavriel Zev’s deep and heartfelt reflection:
“You know how I was 5 in Canada? Well, I’m six now. And we weren’t going to stay in our apartment, either.”
But I think we’re all keeping our senses of humour, and maybe that will keep us together even as we enter what I suspect will be the difficult half of our first year…
How do I know our sense of humour is intact?
At the bottom of Naomi’s note to her friend is this tidbit – a magic trick. Kind of.
Insruction for craft: subject: magic!
1. Cut out cards shown below (arrow points right)
2. Needed more than 1 person.
3. Turn cards upside-down and 1 person needs to jog out of room.
2 1/2. Glue cards on cardboard.
4. Scramble up cards and tell the person which card you want them to find.
5. If the person is magic, he/she will find card.
How can you not laugh? Even if, some days, the laughter can barely make its way through the tears.