Hello and welcome back to my blog. I hope you enjoyed my previous post “Making Aliyah to Israel: Challenges I Faced” in which I discussed the difficult, yet often amusing, obstacles I encountered after relocating to Israel. To find out more about my background and goals check out my website.
This week I would like to focus on a very special individual in my life who has been with me through thick and thin, through the tough times and the good times, for the past 14 years. This special someone, Nisan, is my pet cockatiel. I would like to take this opportunity to share the humorous, yet well-worth-it-process of traveling with him to Israel.
After announcing my decision to immigrate to Israel, the following question posed was, “What will you do with Nisan? You can’t take him with you.” I was faced with a quandary; if transporting him to Israel proved impossible, would I reconsider my decision? My answer was straightforward, “Where I go, he goes.” What ensued over the next six months was the tedious process of obtaining the required health certificates and Exportation Permits, along with surgery to have an electronic chip implanted in Nisan’s wing. Each step was rigorous and frustrating at times, yet using my persistence I ultimately obtained all the mandatory forms. I faxed and e-mailed the compulsory paperwork to The Jewish Agency, hoping that I hadn’t overlooked any critical step in the process.
The cruncher came two days before Nisan and I were scheduled to fly. Everything was in order; my bags were packed, Nisan’s cage was ready to be shipped, and we were eager for our upcoming plane ride. As a measure of precaution, I phoned El-Al to ensure that they were aware of the additional “passenger” on their flight. Surprisingly, the agent responded, “I’m sorry ma’am, we have no bird listed to fly in the cabin. You cannot bring him on the plane.” I spent the following 15 minutes attempting to convince her that the The Jewish Agency was at fault for not conveying the relevant information. She simply reiterated that until she received clearance from The Jewish Agency, her hands were tied. After a number of persuasive, and at times forceful, e-mails and phone calls with my Immigration Advisor, the issue had been straightened out. Nisan had an official ticket to fly in the cabin of the plane.
The day of the flight, both check-in and pre-boarding went smoothly with no complications. Before the flight my small fluffball perched happily on my shoulder, taking advantage of the last opportunity to stretch his wings before our 13 hour plane ride. He was the main attraction as each curious passerby remarked at his bright colors and inquired about my reasons for bringing him. My explanation hadn’t changed, “Where I go, he goes.”
Our flight was quiet and uneventful, both of us sleeping for the majority of the ride. Upon arrival in Israel, we waited patiently with the rest of the new immigrants to receive information regarding the Post-Immigration process. He was the star of the party as he chirped and whistled to everyone in the room. Three years later, he is happy, healthy, and simply loving Israel.
Though this bird is small, he is more than a pet. He gives affection, demonstrates anger, but above all, shows unconditional love. For anyone doubting the strength of a bond with an animal, you haven’t met my pet cockatiel, Nisan.
Meirav Ben Moshe