Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Aliyah: One Month Down

I was considering writing a blog post about how you should never ever rent a car in Israel because the gas here is too expensive and the fees are too expensive, and did I really forget in a single month how expensive owning a car was?

(I guess so. But seriously, the adventure to IKEA in Rishon Letziyon was pretty amazing. And the kosher nosh? Totally totally worth it. Even if I did break the bank.)

Yes, that's dijon salmon and crinkle french fries. With a soda.
I spoiled myself. Okay?! It was my one-month aliyahversary!

Instead, I wanted to pop in after a month in Israel (where oh where has the time gone) to say how inexplicably pleased I am with life. There have been a few giant lemons since arriving (in the form of men and mosquitoes and a hole in my wall with water pouring out of it), but by and large it's all bliss. I've made dozens of new friends, many who I see on a daily basis thanks to the close quarters of Nachlaot. There's something unbelievably special about walking a few seconds to the shuk for fresh produce and returning home and passing the park to see a friend with her kids playing there. I stop, I chat, I watch the Mayanot guys playing soccer, the cats sniffing around piles of food someone's left out, watch the clouds rolling fast overhead and the chill coming in, and I'm home. Home where I now have a gigantic toaster oven (thanks Amy and Miriam!), a nifty table from IKEA so that I can stop eating and working on my bed (thanks for the encouragement Lany!), and a space that I have made uniquely my own.

I was the girl on the No. 18 with her oven. It had its own seat, yes it did. 

I guess today for the first time, I really feel like I have a home. I've always felt at home, but now I have a space that is uniquely mine, filled with my things, my hard work (oh this furniture gave me blisters), scents of my cooking, the sites of my life. This place is mine at last.

Lunch today at Ben-Ami on Emek Refaim with besties Miriam and Amy.
Don't be fooled -- they don't actually serve gluten-free pasta. 

It feels insensitive to really enjoy feeling so at home, so happy, so at peace. Yes, I know what's going on in Israel, in the south, where I have friends living. Yes, the Iron Dome is a lifesaver. Yes, the news is biased and ignoring the reason for Israel's returned agression against Gaza militants and Syira. Yes, we're probably going to end up with another war (let's be honest, we're in one), but if I were going to be anywhere I would want to be here with Am Yisrael, standing firm and strong, staring hatred and death in the face. My people, my land, my home.

Every Sunday and Monday I go to At Home Cafe. Coffee. Friends.
Gluten-free baked goods. That scone wasn't, but I had biscotti. 
It's like I'm living in an amazing dream world where people
want to be part of your life and want you to be part of theirs. 

This is my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I've spent just about every night for the past week on roughly 4-5 hours of sleep. I've had days like that where I'm miserable, but here, I power through. I don't cancel on social activities. I embrace my life as it is and relish in these moments. I have friends, I have love, I have family, I have happiness. It's amazing.

Two doors down -- life imitates art. 

I'm spoiled. HaShem is spoiling me. If this is aliyah, I wouldn't want anything else. I'll take the leaks and my Bank Leumi card not working and missing exits on the highway ... I'll take the lines and bureaucracy and imminent danger. If this is what happiness and peace and internal calm feels like, then I'll take it. I'll take it all.