June 6, 2013

Starting over. Daily.

I recently found a message in my inbox from someone I knew last year at Tel Aviv University, a friend of a friend who has since left Israel. She was asking to 'play matchmaker' and put me in touch with a friend of hers who is moving to Israel, hoping I might be able to give this young woman advice, maybe give her a lead or two for babysitting work, and in general just be a point of contact for someone who will soon be wearing the shoes I donned back in 2011. I remember being that girl, moving to a foreign country, with only a few loose contacts (and one or two strong ones) and the hope that I could build a life somewhere else. I also remember feeling totally grateful anytime someone could advise me on what bus to take, or how to ask for the coffee I like in Hebrew, or what the Israeli equivalent of sour cream was in a sea of mystery dairy products at the grocery store. I still am that girl, more frequently than I would like.

It feels strange to be the person that someone might look to to answer those questions now- simultaneously like I've accomplished something in my time here, and like I haven't accomplished quite enough. Two years ago I was living a very comfortable life. There were things I wanted to change (obviously, I moved across the globe) but I could do my own banking, talk to the cable company (what I wouldn't give to be able to sit on hold waiting for an inept Comcast customer service rep who speaks English), and navigate public transportation with ease. Those are the little things that are so hard for me here, that make every day just a little bit (a LOT) harder here than I ever could have prepared myself for. And now I find myself advising people who have just arrived in Israel on the few things I have figured out, and feeling like a total fraud/a little proud of myself for what I have managed to pick up along the way. 

I won't lie to you, there have been moments (and maybe there always will be) where I consider just throwing up my hands and moving back to the US. Usually I feel the most like that when Itzik and I argue, or I have to do any type of banking (you really have NO idea how good you have it in the States), or I think about the average salary prospects for someone with an MA (half the average of the US). It can be easy to become discouraged. But something I was taught at an early age is that love is a choice- one that you have to renew within yourself every day. I love Israel. And every day I have to renew the choice to give this everything I have.

I knew this would be hard. But I'm doing it. I don't always feel successful, but I haven't given up. I love (hate) the challenges, and the little victories (like learning a new word and using it appropriately). I'm doing something I dreamed of doing, and I'm trying to do it the best that I can. I need to seriously work on my Hebrew (which will relieve a lot of frustration), and I need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I need to continue to work on the friendships I have here and build a fulfilling social life (your boyfriend cannot be your whole world...at least not MINE). But I'm working on it. And I'm working on it in a place that is steps from the Mediterranean Sea, in land of the Bible, and in an age that I can talk to my parents and friends back home as much as I please (time difference be damned!). 

So, it could be worse. And it will get better. One day at a time.


Anonymous said...

I think we can all see ourselves in whst you are describing. Really nice. Onwards and Upwards :)

the Ginger said...

Anonymous (whoever you are)- that means a lot, thanks! Keep reading and commenting! I love the feedback.