Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ask Chaviva Anything: Moving to the U.S., iBoy, and Mr. T

Because of the barrage of Mr. T, iBoy, U.S. questions, here's a catch-all installment of

Why did you move back to the US?
I thought I addressed this question in a previous post, but in case you missed it: bikur cholim.
How are you liking life back in the US? Are there things you missed here? Are there things you miss now? How is your British/Israeli husband doing with living in the US?
Life back here is interesting. There are aspects of Israel I miss desperately (the Jewish community and feeling of Shabbat), but there are things here that I find super comforting (knowing the language, finding what I need in the store, farmer's markets, the superficial things). As for Mr. T, I think he's baffled by the customer service, kindness, and options available here in the U.S. It's the land of everyTHING, so it's easy to find what you need anywhere at any price. In a way, we're being very spoiled right now.
How does Mr. T feel about being in the US? What is happening with iBoy? Is it hard being so far away from your stepson/Mr. T's son?
Mr. T is having a hard time, and really why wouldn't he? He left his almost 11 year old in the care of his mother to move to the U.S. with his wife and infant son to take care of family things. The truth is, he's viewing it as a lesson for iBoy, to see the lengths to which he would go for family. If we had to leave Israel to be with family in the UK it would be the same story, just a bit closer (a two hour time change rather than a nine hour time change). But we're working with iBoy's mother to make sure that iBoy has plenty of opportunities to spend time with us in the U.S. In fact, he'll be visiting in a few more weeks for two whole weeks! Considering the most we got to see iBoy was a few days a week back in Israel, it will be a blessing to have him around consistently for so long. But remember: iBoy's mother has full custody of him, so bringing him with us wasn't even an option, unfortunately. That choice is up to iBoy now that he's older than 10.
How is your husband handling juggling fatherhood with a son on each side of the world?
Considering he stays home three to four days a week while I go into the office to work, he's doing marvelously. He's an extremely extroverted person, so having a non-speaking infant who is teething around 24/7 hasn't driven him mad -- yet. Ash and Mr. T speak to iBoy on Skype (when his mother's computer is working) almost daily if they can manage it. But time differences, dinner plans, and other things often get in the way and make it difficult for Mr. T to speak with his son, which is incredibly hard on him. But as Ash gets older and more interactive, not to mention when Mr. T is able to work in the U.S., things will become a bit easier on everyone, I think. 

I know you said you do plan to head back to Israel at some point, but honestly, reading your blog over the past few years, the place you've always seemed unambiguously the happiest is in Colorado, while you've expressed a lot of ambivalence about life in Israel. Do you really want to go back to Israel?
It's true that I'm very happy in Colorado. The weather here does something to my emotions and psyche. I feel confident and happy and proud here. When I lived in Colorado in 2005, I was going through a bit of an awkward breakup and I found my confidence and self worth while here. When I came here after my divorce in 2011, I did the same thing. I found my happy place, I realized I was worth so much more than I ever thought I was. Now, being back, I wake up and see the sunshine and mountains and I feel like HaShem is really here. Is this the place everyone should be? Nah. It's just a place that makes sense for me. But that being said, Israel will always be the place we're meant to be. I wasn't always happy there, and I was frustrated with the language, the politics, the state of war, but you get to be Jewish in a unique way there. A way you can't be anywhere else. And that's something that is very important to me. 

On the other hand, what's going on right now in Israel makes me scared. Teenage boys being kidnapped by terrorists makes me scared. That could be my boy, my little Ash, in so many years. It could be iBoy. It could be the sons of friends of mine. That reality is horrifying. 

Yes, the U.S. is riddled with school shootings and kidnappings and horrible things, but here it's one psycho in one act of selfish psychosis. In Israel? It's a group of people with the unwavering desire to kill all Jews and destroy an entire nation. That's so much bigger, so much scarier. 

So, with all of that, I am ambivalent about life in Israel right now. Here I'm closer to my family, closer to comfort, closer to the "easy" life. But is that the kind of life I want to instill in my children and the future generations? I'm not sure. Only time will tell. 

Have questions? Ask away!