Chevreh, Let me break it down for you:
This whiny Anglo ain’t going nowhere.
Yeah, it’s been a rough year. But I’m trying. Because I’m here in a dynamic, vibrant country by choice, and I am the only one who can take full responsibility for my own happiness. So instead of waiting for things to get better, I am reaching out to others who are going through similar experiences.
We share struggles over supermarket shopping, and triumphs over taking the train. We speak in shorthand without having to fish for just the right word or explain a cultural nuance.
Along the way, I’m learning about this new place. As I discover and explore and get lost (more times than I care to admit), I’m figuring out how to live here. And with each bank transaction or half-day spent at Misrad Hapnim, I’m slowly shedding that need to ask “Excuse me, do you speak English?” right along with my patented deer-in-headlights expression.
I am realizing that while I may always be “from somewhere else,” that’s OK. I can be from somewhere else and live here, too. After all, Israel is a nation of people from “somewhere else,” and if they can deal, then so can I.
But come on, fellow olim hadashim and not-so-hadashim. Tnu li gav. Help a girl out. We are all in this together. Hell, we’ve probably even given each other a knowing smile while struggling through bank transactions in broken English. We’ve probably played a quicky round of Jewish Geography together at Arcafe. We’ve probably given each other advice about how to survive those first few years.
And if not, we should.
We should also comfort each other when we’re struggling. We should be that community we seek for ourselves and each other. And let’s be real: All of us have struggled. Yes, all of us. Even those who have had an easy klitah. Questioning our choices is a poignantly human trait, and one that leads toward greater understanding and growth.
And for those of you who have found your community without too much tsurus, I’d love to hear about it. And I’d love to be part of it.
Look, I make myself vulnerable when I share (very) personal anecdotes online, and bitching about that would be like running up and down Dizengoff in the nude screaming, “Don’t look at me! Don’t look at me!”
(Please look at me.)
And I get it. Israel is your home, and you don’t want me pissing all over it. Fine. But it’s my home too, and feeling comfortable enough to criticize this country and admit that there is a huge disparity between a 16-year-old’s flighty infatuation with an idea and the nitty gritty process of growing roots in a new place is part of coming to terms.
So, for those of you who tell me to “just leave,” knock it off. I can’t leave. I don’t want to leave. We’re all in this mess together, and by sharing my perspective with you, I am reaching out.
And to all of you who have reached back with your incredible emails, thank you.
I can’t wait to meet up with you at Mike’s Place.