Week 5: Aliyah 

Another week has come and gone for me. Tonight I had dinner with a friend from home, who was staffing birthright. She asked me, “Are you missing Berkeley yet?”. I replied, “no”. She was socked and I was too a little. I mean I have had just been living life here in Israel, almost like I’ve been here my whole life, and I don’t have any complaints. Yes its only 5 weeks but I feel just as much as home as I did back in Berkeley. I have my doggy that I come home too, I work my full time job every day and I have my private practice part time. I’m even making time for the dating scene (I know shocking). So for me life here is very similar to back home (except I’m surrounded by more conservatives than I am used too).

Last week I put the wrong pin into the ATM which resulted in the bank taking my card. Well unfortunately I now need a new card but I have to go to my branch in Tell Aviv to get this done. The problem of course is that I work all week and the bank is closed on Sundays. So now I’m learning to make due on the little bit of cash i have while making sure i can still get around on public transportation. This is the most annoying hurdle so far and in truth it’s not really that big of a deal. 

I continue my daily commute from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. I take three buses and its a 2-3 hour trip each way. To most people this is crazy sounding (especially since I wake up at 3:45am) but as of late I’ve been using the commute time to work. To write blogs (like I’m doing now) or to commiserate online with other online therapists. As much as i love my job, i have been missing therapy. I participated in a study group for the NMT certification I am apart of last night (for folks living in Europe/outside the US) and it was so nice to talk about my passion-trauma. To reflect upon dissociation and what this looks like in foster youth etc. As i feel more settled (minus having my own apartment) i haven been wanting to jump into my practice and do therapy. So this has been occupying my time as well.

Now let me quickly change topics and talk about apartment hunting in Tel Aviv. It’s absolutely crazy here. The apartments in my budget (4,000 shekels which equals roughly $1,000) are hard to come by. Most apartments have multiple bedrooms (I only want the one) which basically forces you to have a roommate or two. Plus with multiple bedrooms you get to charge 6,000 shekels plus and so your in the money. Now mind you Israel’s wages are incredibly low, its one of the main reasons many American Olin go back because the pay is really ridiculous. If i want a crappy apartment then i can pay far less than 4,000 shekels but the apartments for 2,700 shekels that I’ve seen are the shit. I saw a studio/loft (actually a couple) where the toilet, sink and the shower head (which hung from the ceiling) were all in this teeny tiny space, like maybe 10-20 foot space. There was one window and maybe one counter-it was the size of a bedroom. I believe the apartment used to be a penthouse or something and they just divided up the bedrooms and made them studios. And it was also in the ugly part of town. I decided that since i work my butt off all day plus i do online therapy from home, it’s best to have a nice home to return too/work from. Plus if I don’t like where I live I’ll be miserable, so I said nope to those places. The other option is roommate so living outside of Tel Aviv.I would live outside of Tel Aviv before dealing with roommates. I just can’t be worried about someone else-I need/want my own place, so I will continue to commute until i find one i like. 

I was also very sick last week, the worst illness I’ve had in years. I had the chills, sore throat, and lots of coughing. Well the cough is the only thing left, with a sore throat here and there but it definitely made me miss my family. Autumn wanted to walk and play at all hours of the day and night and i was cold and tired. I wished there was someone around who could’ve dealt with her. 

So really i think my acclimating to Israel as nicely as i have, despite the language barrier is the fact that I 1. Mentally prepared to be here, by researching jobs and cost of living and 2. Accepting that i would be starting all over at a minimum wage job that was physical. I think if i thought i would come and be a therapist easily and waited for that elusive job i would be incredibly miserable right now and talking about going home. Lucky for me that i have a profession in which i could have my own business. 

It’s week 5 and it feels longer than that.i feel like I’ve been here my whole life despite knowing very little I feel comfortable and safe. I am making connections with people and I am keeping old connections alive. The days don’t feel like adventures any more but they do feel special and new. Even on 5 hours a sleep a night i wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start my day. Israel truly is home.

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