That’s right folks it’s been three months and I’m not disillusioned…yet! I’m feeling pretty inspired actually. Yesterday, my day off from the Gan which is my private practice day (Side hustle Tuesday folks) I met with an MFT here in Tel Aviv. As we talked she shared all the wisdom she has gathered in her short time practicing here and it has inspired me to focus on getting clients here in Tel Aviv. Up to now I’ve been focusing on getting California clients and it has not paid off. As we did therapy talk I became rejuvenated in a way I haven’t felt since I arrived. I love the kids at my gan and the familiarity of the place is nice but really it’s not my passion. As we walked to Habima square it was “Good Deeds” day and we chatted with a woman named Efrat (my hebrew tutors name which made me smile warmly) and she told me she was going to Silicon Valley to visit her sister over Pesach. (An aside she also wanted to adopt me and bring me something back from the states-until you move abroad you don’t know the excitement of getting your favorite home country delicassies-I’m still jonesing for Cheez-its). Any way she asked about what we did, which my new friend replied that we were therapists, and we chatted about this (the different services in the area and she gave me her card so I can reach out to her as well). This got me thinking about how I have been failing at marketing myself since I arrived (and really I don’t know why). When people ask me what I do I usually say that I am an assistant teacher at a gan but I should actually be saying that I’m a therapist and I work with trauma survivors. Since Pesach is in just 2 weeks I need to get myself an office ASAP so that I can spend my week off networking. Continue reading
This week has been pretty good for me. First off I wrote an amazing blog which I am very proud of, discussing sexual abuse in the African-American community. It has inspired me to focus my practice on African-American female child sexual abuse survivors. I have been feeling very settled in my apartment and neighborhood despite it still being very lightly furnished and I have not had the time or energy to paint so it’s a mess…but it’s my mess. I’ve been diligent about staying on a budget but tracking my expenses when I get paid once a month is very hard. I’m also still paying off stuff in the US so that also really sucks. I had hoped that my practice would’ve taken off by now so I can use that money for my US expenses but it hasn’t…and you know what that’s ok. I was listening to a podcast, The Abundance Podcast, which is by a therapist and business coach. She had a wonderful woman on there named Rajani Ventrakaman-Levis who said something that has stuck in my head for the past week. She said something to the effect that sometimes the universe gives us what we can handle. We may think we want or need something at a particular time but it may not actually be the right time. About a week before that my friend from work, who I ride the bus with sometimes said to me “Give yourself a break. You’ve only been here three months and look at what you’ve accomplished”. I’ve literally been sitting with these two statements for the past couple days. Of course I wanted to have a full time practice and be back financially where I was when I lived in California but:
- This is not California
- I’m still new and learning about how everything works
- I’d be exhausted and maybe not be doing as good of a job as I usually do
So taking these statements into heart I have given myself a break. I’m giving myself more time to grow my practice and meet people. After the podcast I sent an email to Rajani and she invited me to join her online consult group for minority women. (Interestingly the first meeting would be on Wednesday but I had plans so I wouldn’t be able to join. I message my friend who I was suppose to meet that Wednesday and she had to cancel so now I get to join the consult group. I’m excited to connect with other therapists of color). I’ve also set up other meetings with therapists. I had one last week online and enjoyed it. I have another next Tuesday with an MFT here in Tel Aviv and a week after that I’m meeting with a psychologist here in Tel Aviv. So I’m excited about building my therapist community all over again. I really miss some of the folks i worked with before, my friend whose an OT, my friend who does 0-5 mental health, and my marketing group. But it’s also exciting to branch out and meet other people as well.
My boss at the nursery school I work at asked me what my plans are for the next school year. I told her I didn’t know. I didn’t go into details about why I didn’t know-my hopes for having a full time practice by August and being my own boss. So she told me about the different pops out ties which are available. I could stay as an assistant there and work with my same teacher or go to another class. She also mentioned that a head teacher for the littles at the second school is going on maternity and that’s an option too if I wanted to do teaching. So I went on about my day with some thinking about the different roles. I just knew teaching wasn’t for me and I didn’t really want to go to the second school. I’m not familiar with it and I like the comfort of where I am. I know the people and the bus route. I know the system, the kids and the parents. But the following day I went into work and my boss pulls me aside and basically tells me she really wants me at the second school. She likes my professionalism, that I’m older and that i have a masters degree. She tells me the pay is 5 shekel and hour more (so not a whole lot different) and we could start the training now. So now I’m thinking about doing this. I’m still setting up for my practice and it will take time. In the meantime I can continue working like I am at the nursery school, get the consistent paycheck and meet with parents. A bonus is that I’ve all ready been asked to babysit for a family and to me it’s not so much about the babysitting as it’s about the parents trusting me and feeling confident leaving their children in my care which means the most to me. As a therapist and a (assistant) teacher at this school that’s what matters to me. At the same time a coworker was telling me about their autisitc son and not liking the therapist who is currently working with him and the family. She wanted to hire me she was so fed up. Now I don’t do autism but it’s a reminder that there is a niche out here. Native English speakers who want other native English speakers to help them.
So this week feels really nice. It feels good to have hard work appreciated and noticed by others. It’s a good feeling after a long day to know that it’s meaningful to the people around me and the families who trust me. My love and my passion will always be therapy, trauma healing really, but until that takes off this will be good. The bonus is that the position is only nail February of next year so it gives me the time that iI might need to reach my goal, while also making the time commitment more manageable.
The other big thing was going to my friends house and picking up the rest of my belongings. Now if i could recommend anything to someone making aliyah-if you decide that you want to make a pilot trip pack a bag of stuff you’ll want and then leave it at your friends house. I packed a computer, clothes, shoes, lotions, etc and I actually had forgotten exactly what I had left but when i picked up my stuff and went through it I was so happy to discover all the nice things I still had and it actually made my new apartment feel even more like home.
Other little wins for the week: frying chicken, finding canned corn just like what I had back home as a kid, successfully navigating the post office for the first time (I still don’t quiet understand the Israeli postal system since there are no mailboxes where I can just drop stuff off while walking Autumn), finding chicken patties, watermelon season, my gaming computer and the resurgence of playing sims 3 in my down time, finding a tea shop by my house and discovering hibiscus tea and fresh peach tea, buying two cute purple bowls so now I don’t have to only eat out of Tupperware, my second babysitting gig this month with my little guy from the school, finding cheetos, and being able to talk with my family as they celebrated my cousins birthday and feeling like I’m still apart of it all even from halfway around the world.
So as I near the 3 month mark of my aliyah I’m feeling reflective. I had so many goals and things I wanted to accomplish and I’m hoping it will happen soon…or at least in the time that is right. I’m feeling so a home right now in a very different way from California. I talk to my friends and family so regularly that its like I’m still there (therefore i don’t miss them). I do miss my car and the ease of getting around but on the bus i get so many things accomplished. As an aside I’ve seen cockroaches 3 times this month on the bus and in a weird way it’s helping me get over my fear of them (I also see them outside), so that’s a weird win. As I continue to settle I am beginning to create a schedule. I’ve failed on my 30 day blog challenge opting instead to go back to blogging for work once a week and also doing this blog once a week.I want to start doing yoga again but as I’m still a struggling immigrant I’m going to be doing it at home using YouTube videos so that will start this next week. I’m also increasing Autumn’s walk from 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes so we can maybe get in about 3.5 miles. Oh and at some point I need to get my hair done. I have the week off for Pesach so that seems like a good time to schedule something. Until next week.
So It’s been a week and a half since I moved into my apartment and I’m loving it. It was very trying the day I had to move. I attempted to rent a car but was unable too which mean that I had to hail a taxi. So me Autumn and all 6 bags piled into a taxi and luckily it wasn’t too expensive it was just stressful. Autumn does not like the car and she has a hard time with change. The first couple days in the new apartment she barked and cried when I left. I felt horrible form neighbors. But she is feeling more settled. When I leave she tries to come with me and she cries for about 10 seconds and then she’s all good. I no longer hear her down the block.
My neighborhood is pretty colorful. If you google Hatikva neighborhood in Tel Aviv it says “a working class neighborhood…” and that’s what it is. It’s a mix of Africans, Asians, Sephardic, Ethiopian, and Russian jews. There are a lot of families and not many people who speak English. My bus ride to work is about an hour because I’m literally going between the two ends of Tel Aviv (from the very south to the very north oft he city), but at least I don’t have to transfer bus lines.
The best part of my commute is that I get to spend the time reading. I started reading Bessel Van der Kolk’s book “the Body Keeps the Score” and it’s amazing. IT has reminded me of my passion-complex trauma and my desire to jump back into therapy. It’s very hard to focus on building my practice when I work full time because I feel so tired afterwork, but I know that I have to dedicate myself to building because it’s important to me.
Lately I’ve been very reflective-I have been dreaming of having my own apartment again and as I came home, cleaned out my lunch bag and washed dishes I began to smile thinking about how far I’ve come. Sometimes I’m in awe that I just packed up and moved and that things have fallen into place. I’m starting to make a couple friends at work which is nice. Autumn feels safe and settled here and now I need to find her some dog friends. I have bought some cute used furniture to go in my new apartment (a desk, a microwave, a toaster oven, a washing machine and dryer) and the only two new things I’ve bought have been my purple couch (which has a bottom part that turns into a bed) and a water filter that does hot and cold water (so when they come to install it I will no longer have to boil a pot of water on the stove top).
Now even though I love my apartment-it needs a lot of work. I’ve decided to turn part of the apartment into a little office space where I can see my clients online. So I’m wanting to paint the apartment. I know the office part and the bedroom will be purple and the kitchen, bathroom and living room will be a green-blue color.
So all in all I’m feeling settled in a new and different way than I have felt before. As I walk through my neighborhood or walk Autumn around beautiful Menachem Begin Park daily I feel a sense of home and calm. I feel like everything I want to accomplish is possible…starting with this 30 day blogging challenge I will do to promote online therapy (by me) for adult complex trauma survivors. I also want to start doing a new morning routine than the one I had before. When i lived in Jerusalem I woke up at 4am to walk Autumn, then I would jet off to work. I continued doing the same thing (except I was getting up at 5 am. Starting today I’m getting up again at 4 am to do some writing, and some yoga, before walking Autumn and jetting off to work. We will see how these two things go for me over the course of the next week.