Why did I move to Israel five years ago?
My answer today is very different from the answer I would have given you on April 25, 2009 – on the eve of my departure.
Back then, I would have responded with something nauseously romantic like, “I’m going to where I belong, the place where it all started.” What did you expect to hear? I had no reference other than ideology and romance.
The real answer as to why I moved to Israel came trickling in piece by piece, battle by battle, victory by victory…year by year.
Here’s my response to you today: I moved to Israel to endure rare, difficult, and perfect life lessons – the kind that are nearly impossible to come by in comfort, familiarity, or abundance.
And on my fifth anniversary of my Aliyah, I’m finally in a position where I can begin to interpret my experiences and catalog them under these specific lessons:
- When my parents and sister took me to the airport on April 25, 2009, I clearly recall their pale faces, sunk in fear and sadness. I was sick with guilt to see them like this. But, here I learned the nature of true risk: selfish, painful, and gut-turning. And sometimes this is what it takes to change our course towards something unimaginably spectacular.
- It pays off to be a big fish in a small pond. I had no particular profession when I arrived to Israel. But, my education, English, and American savviness set me apart. The companies that I worked for were relatively small (by US standards), but this enabled me to fast track my career, cut corners, and wear numerous of hats in each of my roles.
- You’re never too old to make the best of friends. Moreover, with age I want to exert more love, gratitude, and depth into these relationships. Invest in your girls no less than in your boys…because a woman’s support is irreplaceable.
- One time, I very surprisingly got kicked out of my apartment and had to leave immediately. I had no particular place to go, and I was left totally horrified. But not from being homeless, but from having to ask for help. I never needed to do so in such a serious capacity. But once I did, I buried a big chunk of my ego, as well as my self-pity and victimization.
- I was single for a year and a half, which felt like a period that bared no end. How dreadful to have no man to lick my wounds, no one to hide behind, or drama to distract me?! And here I realized to self-nurture, love my own company, and just be cool with myself (no judging or grudges). And when I felt excited and empowered by Beata again, as a stand-alone existence, I was prepared to meet him.
It’s not to say that by 30 I’ve learned what needs to be learned. But, with regards to Israel, She was the first who woke me up, pouring cold water on my consciousness. She was the first to teach me about awareness and receptiveness. And it was She who helped me discover calmness after all of that. I will continue to experience and catalog…but Israel is the place where it all started.
The moods of the Tel Aviv sunsets from the last five years: