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Monday, August 11, 2014

Still alien? Passing the one year mark.

small alien

I did an experiment this morning.

I woke up, stretched etc as usual.  And then thought to myself, “I’m waking up… in Israel.”

Nothing.

“Here we are… in our apartment… in Israel.”

Nope.  No response.

I guess I was trying to shock myself back into feeling the newness of it… except it really isn’t new anymore.

Last Wednesday was our “aliyahversary.”

If aliyah was a baby, we’d have been blowing out candles, feeding it cake.

It might be taking its first steps by now.

It might be laughing, playing, maybe calling us by name.  (It would be a smart baby, of course, like all our babies.)

With a year-old baby, the newborn thrill is definitely gone by a year.  That feeling of, “Huh.  There’s a whole new person who wasn’t here ___ hours / days / weeks / months ago.”

But it’s replaced with a different thrill.  Any parent of more than a few years can tell you that there is so much fun still to come.  Way beyond that first birthday.

DSC_0062 Aliyah has got to be like that. 

Like the thrill of taking Naomi Rivka by train yesterday to Nahariya just for the crafts store there.  It’s not that fantastic, but way better than anything I’ve found near here. 

Like our upcoming fourth trip to Tzfat next weekend.  Or my shlep to Yerushalayim for an aliyah fair thingy on Thursday (I really don’t know what it is).

These repeat journeys are a different kind of thrill.  Less newness, more well-worn path.

Getting to Nahariya was never hard, but it did take some planning the first time we went.  Yesterday, we just looked up the train schedule and off we went.  Of course, it’s only 15 minutes away – I know somebody who does the trip every single day and probably doesn’t even need schedules anymore.

image The weirdness, mind you, never wears off. 

Like the crazy street parade ourside our window.  Part Tu b’Av (the Jewish party / love day!) and part hachnasas sefer Torah to the lovely Sefardi shul down the block.

(As they say here, “סיבה למסיבה” / seeba le’meseeba, an expression meaning basically “[any] reason for a party”.)

They were playing typical Jewish dance-style music.  Heveinu Shalom Aleichim, Hava Negila.  Like, super-typical stuff that I really haven’t heard since we came here.  Mostly they go for a more contemporary mix for this type of street parade.

And I thought to myself, “Hey, cool.  Everybody knows the words.”

What a newbie thought. 

But it’s true.  Everybody here does know the words.  Everybody here is celebrating for exactly the same reasons.  And the thrill of realizing that’s where we live hasn’t quite worn off just yet. 

We may be tax-paying citizens now (Bituach Le’umi, the national insurance, kicks in at the 1-year mark)… but we’re still aliens, too, after all.

Tzivia / צִיבְיָה


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