Today I am celebrating one year of TALIYAH.
My reasons for TALIYAH were many and complex. It wasn’t simply the determined efforts to fulfill a life-long Zionist dream. Of course, I am a proud Jew who loves Israel, and I was honoured to become a citizen of my ancestral homeland. But, it was more than that. Deep down, I knew that I needed to push myself to do something new that would scare me. Because that is what incites growth. And I needed to grow.
What better place to go on this journey than Israel, a land that has growth in its DNA, and one that has considered me a part of it from the second I was born?
But, I knew that life in Israel would be hard, and without a safety net of burning ideology to catch me when I would inevitably fall, how could I justify leaving my comfortable life in London?
Well… that was the risk of TALIYAH, but one that I was willing, excited, and determined to take. And so, I did.
Sometimes it feels like only yesterday that I was hugging my family goodbye at the airport and fighting back the tears as I walked through the gate. I can remember so clearly my trepidation, heartbroken to be leaving everyone and everything I loved most in the world behind in London. But, I took a deep breath, boarded the plane, and flew into the unknown, nervous and excited about what would greet me on the other side.
And here I am, one year later — one year into the unknown.
This year has been a roller-coaster of experiences and emotions that have been as rewarding as they have exhausting. There have been moments when I’ve been close to giving up, and others when I wondered why I didn’t make the move sooner. But mostly, this year has given me so much to be proud of.
I am proud of the new friends I have made who have become my family. Arriving from all over the world to start new lives in Israel, we have and continue to navigate this difficult journey together. We support each other in our struggles and celebrate each other’s successes, and I know that the strong and lasting bonds we have created will continue to carry us through our journeys, wherever they take us.
I love Israel for bringing these incredible people into my life.
I am proud of the close friendships that I have maintained in London, which has not always been easy. I’ve learned that real friendship doesn’t care about borders, time zones or busy schedules, and I am blessed and grateful to have friends who continue to support me from so many thousands of miles away.
I love Israel for showing me the value of true friendship.
I am proud of my ever-loving family, who continue to be my rock and to whom I owe everything. I know that TALIYAH would not have been, and would not continue to be possible without their constant support. Sometimes I miss them so much that I question if I’ve done the right thing, but I take comfort in the knowledge that they will always be there with open and supportive arms to welcome me back if needed.
I love Israel for deepening my connection to, and appreciation for my family.
I am proud of my relationship with my wonderful boyfriend. He is emotionally supportive in so many ways, and his Aliyah five years ago allows him to empathise with my struggles and offer me the help and guidance I need. Maintaining a relationship whilst living in different cities, without a car, is not easy. But we are Olim, and we are determined, and, so, we make it work, and we are amazing.
I love Israel for bringing him into my life.
I am proud of myself for navigating the minefield of Israeli healthcare bureaucracy on my own. I have a chronic health condition, and over the past year, I have had to make close to 50 doctors’ appointments (I am not exaggerating), just to try and access the right medication. I am continuously sent round in circles, trying to blindly navigate a complicated system, in a language I struggle to understand. It is exhausting. But I keep fighting for what I need because now I am Israeli and that is what we do. We fight, we are passionate, and we do not accept no for an answer.
I love Israel for instilling this tenacity in me, and for eventually, providing me with the medication and specialists that I need to keep me healthy.
I am proud of creating an entirely new career for myself. I was worried about finding work in Israel because my job in London was so dependent on language and cultural-specific knowledge. But Israel is the home of start-ups and opportunity, and if you try hard enough, you can do anything you want. So, despite not having a clue what I was doing, I implemented my newfound Israeli tenacity and began a new vocation at the age of 30. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have been given and I can’t wait to keep developing the knowledge and skills to progress in my new field.
I love Israel for showing me the talents I never knew I had.
Through all that has happened this year, I am proud of pushing myself out of my extremely comfortable comfort zone and for continuing to persevere when things get tough. Israel has given me this, and so many other reasons to be proud of, and learn about myself. For that alone, I will always love her. But mostly, I love Israel for showing me how much I have to be grateful for, and that anything is possible, even when it seems impossible.
So, was TALIYAH the right decision?
It might be too early to tell, after all, it is only one year, but what a year it has been. My goals to grow, to develop and push myself have been and continue to be met every single day that I am here. In my opinion, that is good enough reason, right now, to call this, Israel my home.