Week 7: The Worst Week so Far

Well I have had a pretty good run at things running smoothly overall since making aliyah. Over the course the past 7 weeks, despite my very limited Hebrew, I have gotten a cellphone plan, opened a bank account, gotten a Rav Kav, found a job, received my first paycheck, gone on a date, and generally have a clue about the way things work. I have not had the time to spend with friends, except for my birthday, go to Ulpan or make new friends but I know in due time this will happen. The job is going well and I’ve been finding time to work on my private practice.

So the week started off like any other…I discovered I could wake up at 4am and not 3:30 or 3:45 and get to work on time. So I’ve taken advantage of that. I’ve been using my commute to write blogs and do some marketing for my private practice in California rather than sleeping.

So its the first week of February and I’m waiting to get pid. I have 100 shekel to my name and I’m making it stretch. I go to the ATM at 4 am to get cash so I can catch the bus to work on Monday and the machine ate my card again. So Now I have a problem. The money situation is not great in the states as I wait for my last couple checks from Victim’s of Crime so I don’t want to use the card. Theres my business credit card and my business ATM card left but I don’t want to mix this but what choice do I have? So I use my business debit card and it works. I have cash for the bus. When I check my account online I saw that I got paid from work (yay). Except when I go to the office my boss is asking me about bank details and she tells me she hasn’t yet paid me (yet there is a miraculous 5,000 shekels in my account). Well it turns out it’s my government money (thanks Israel) but it’s twice what I was expecting which makes me nervous. But I get paid from them and then my boss later that day and I feel like one rich woman (10,000 shekels looks like a lot of money even though its only like $3,000).

I go to the bank on Tuesday to retrieve my card and after a whole lot of drama she tells me she mailed my card to my house. I withdraw cash and I’m on my way.

Now the best part of the week (sarcasm). I was informed the following week I’d need to vacate my current room for a couple days while one fo the daughters comes home and stay in the guest room. So the night before she arrives I learn that there was an overbooking so I would stay in my current room for the night while the daughter stays with one of the siblings until Wednesday when the guest whose staying in the guest room leaves. Well at 7 on Tuesday I’m informed that I will actually be staying in one of the boys’s rooms until Wednesday and then moving to the guest room, but she wasn’t entirely sure and she was still trying to figure it all out. Well I fall asleep at 9 (excited that I might get 7 hours of sleep for my 4am wake up call) but theres  knock at the door. Guess who gets to move to the couch because “no one wants to move rooms”. So At 9pm I am clearing out of the room and the daughter is not even home yet. Now all I hear around me is noise, Autumn is super discombobulated and wont settle down and I am wound up too. Since it’s 11pm at night and this girl is not home yet I cannot sleep because I just know I’ll hear her when she comes in and wakes me. Now I want people to comment on this to see if it makes any sense. Why would you have someone be a guest at your home only to constantly play musical rooms whenever your child comes home? Especially if said child isn’t even coming in until late, why can’t she come crash on the couch for the night? Why am I crashing on the couch and I have to get up at 4 am?

Any way I’m upset and frustrated. I’m tempted to either spend my money on a sublet until I find a place or an airbnb because this is crazy. I don’t want to move around a million times and I don’t want Autumn moving a million times either but this is fucking crazy. If I ever offer to let someone stay at my house I would never do this to them. It’s humiliating and it feels cruel. I understand you want your kids to feel at home but you don’t care that your inconveniencing me. It makes me feel unwelcome and like a burden. So To say that this is the worst week so far is spot on. I hope next week will be better.

Week 6: Dating+

A few weeks back I received a message from a fellow Olim who met a nice man that she thought i might be interested in dating. So i said yes when she asked to connect us and we spent weeks messaging. He immediately asked me out for a meeting within the first couple days but due to my commute and multiple bought with illness it was put off, until today.
Now i am not the most excited about going on dates, for a multitude of reasons. I know i want to get married and have children some day but the thought of sifting through eligible bachelors sounds awful, especially when compared to laying in bed with my dog under a cozy blanket binge watching crap on Netflix. Or if I’m thinking about my therapy practice  and focusing my attention on my clients, then I’m even more distracted. So when the time came, i got up and got dressed and went to Bet Shemesh to meet this nice man. Now self disclosure i cannot remember the last time i went on a date, but it’s been a couple years for sure. But this time,unlike in times past, i was not nervous. I also placed no expectation on the encounter, which was nice. Of course i critiqued the things I noticed about him that were different that what i thought or expected such as the photo i saw of him on fb and i thought he was more religious than what i saw. But the focus was on personality and compatibility. The other thing which surprised me was that there were no thoughts about the future. What will this person be like as a husband or a father? All in all it almost felt like a networking encountering, i just met someone and we are getting to know each other. I definitely liked the feel of this much better than previous dating experiences and i ended up having a good time. With no thoughts about the future coming into my mind i felt relaxed and free. At the same time i wasn’t attracted to this individual or particularly interested in moving things further romantically. I of course talked with loved ones who encouraged me to give him a second chance so i will. Since I’m not super enthused by him i was happy we were able to put this off for a couple weeks.
Work is going good/well/fine etc…i really don’t know what adjective to use. I’m good when i get to hang with my kids but when I’m placed in another class I don’t feel as happy or delighted to be there. One of the reasons i really enjoy my little ones is because i get to just observe their interactions and the ways in which they show off their personalities. There is not anger or malice or colicky behavior because they are all under 2 while the other lasses there is a little bit of the click mentality that’s forming. The work in and of itself is very physical but I don’t feel tired like i did as a full time agency therapist. I think because there are natural breaks in place but whatever the reasons I’m still happy.
Lastly I’m back to focusing on my private practice. As much as i enjoy my day job my love and passion will always be therapy-specifically trauma and child abuse survivors. So now I’m back to marketing and networking but this time with the caveat of doing it all online. I created some goals and so far I’ve done well in staying on top of them. Now i just need to get clients again and ill be where i want to be professionally.

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.

Week 3 & 4

It’s been a while since I last updated and there’s a lot that has gone on, hence the challenge with writing. 

First things first I’m still commuting from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv five days a week. I’m heading into week four in Israel and three weeks of commuting. I’m commuting because I have not found an apartment in Tel Aviv in my budget. There was a couple I liked but got snatched up within a day. So not there is an apartment I really want and the guy is very slow responding. I had hoped to spend my first birthday in Israel in my new apartment but that was not possible. Not sure what type of advice I can offer people apartment hunting other than be weary of any apartment in Tel Aviv for under 3,000″ shekels a month. They are super teeny in ridiculous way. 

The day of my birthday was not so great. I worked and got yelled at for returning late from my break. That’s also the day I lost out on the apartment I really wanted. The following day I celebrated with my friends and had some yummy Thai food and a little dessert. Hanging out with them in Tel Aviv, even briefly was really nice, I haven’t done that since I made Aliyah. The commute is so crazy and I’m apartment hunting so there feels like there is no time to do anything else. On the weekends I have to leave the home I’m staying in and so also adds to the challenges I’m having. 

Then capital one made an error and charged my account twice so I have to wait for a refund from them plus my phone unlocking was having challenges. All in all this past week has been tough. 

But I accomplished a lot of other stuff. I got my debit card and my checks from the bank. I signed up with a cellphone company and I got my Rav Kav (metro card). I’m still happy and loving Israel (kosher meat everywhere) and I’m not missing the states yet. I miss my friends and family but I talk to my mother daily and social media keeps me connected so I feel good. 

My biggest source of stress is this apartment thing and I wish I was rich so I can just pay for an overpriced one just to be done with it all. I know soon it will happen just be patient. There is a place I really want so fingers crossed that it works out for this week. 

I got sick this past Sunday. It’s the second time since I’ve arrived that I got sick but this was way worse. I had the chills and aches and pains. IT was bad I had to call out of work, but it was worth it because I’m feeling a little better. I also realized that I have not been focusing on my private practice and that pains me. I really miss doing therapy. I love my job, the kids are so darn cute it’s ridiculous and the day just flies by, but I miss therapy and healing. I don’t really know what to do to get this part kickstarted. I applied for insurance back in the states (did it in October in hopes that I’d be ready to go in December but due to some hiccups it never happened so I’m back at it again). I know it’s a good way to get busy quickly but I don’t want a practice filled with dealing with insurance paperwork haha. Plus the time it will take to get paneled will be a couple months so for the time being I have to try to generate clients. I’m really looking into doing more work with teens who have been sexually exploited and so this is really why I want to get on with insurance panels so I can help them. I read an amazing book called Pushout, which talked about the ways in which schools almost force African-American girls to drop out due to the policies (mostly around fighting/violence and missing school) and ignoring how many of these young girls are being sexually exploited/sexually abused. IT broke my heart reading this, especially since it was happening in my backyard (Oakland, California). The book talked about how we sexualize African-American girls, like they are not even allowed to be children because of the way men treat them and see them. So any way I want to be apart of this healing, more so than anything so I am feeling very frustrated and stuck not knowing which steps to take in this process other than insurance. 

So overall as my first month in Israel has arrived I’ve pretty much done everything that I had planned with the exception of turning in my health insurance paper and finding an apartment. I know my way around my neighborhood and the bus systems have been easy to navigate. I’ve done some minor socializing and I continue to work. I’ve also decided to update my blog weekly, every Wednesday, since Wednesday was the day I arrived it feels fitting to blog about my aliyah on that day. Now it’s time to wind down for bed (it’s 8:40 pm and I get at 3:30 am). 

Autumn’s First Week

autumnNo one tells you how hard making aliyah with you dog is. I’m not talking about the expense of getting vaccines and health certificates nor am I talking about the plane ride which is a challenge in and of itself. I’m talking about when your settled in your apartment/relative/friends house and your dog is confused and in distress. With this confusion and distress comes separation anxiety. My Autumn was all ready a little prone to this but it has seemed to multiple with our arrival to our new home. 

Those first 12 hours: We arrived late on Wednesday to the new temporary home. I unpacked all my stuff in the room and let Autumn wander around the home. I went to bed around midnight and then woke up around 2 because I could not sleep. Around 3:30 I walked her and then got ready for my interview in Tel Aviv. When I left her at 10 minutes to 5 am she barked and whined so loud I could hear her from the street. I later learned that she barked for about half an hour and then she was quiet and calm. As I spent the following day home, exhausted, she followed me from room to room. When the home owners returned she had to learn the rules. No bedroom and no kitchen (this one is more lax). The other we discovered was she needed to be put away while guests were over for dinner. Very good choice since she is a food thief but extremely hard for both her and I. 

I looked online about how to stop the barking and crying when I leave. I have been implementing them during the day, practicing leaving for short periods of time and not giving her any excited emotional attention when I leave nor when I return. So far it has not fazed her. She continues to cry and whine when I leave, although during dinner she made it about 20 minutes without making any noice (she had a large tree to attend too). Unfortunately this has not stuck and I am at a loss as to what to do.

I became incredibly tearful with the stress and pressure of trying to pacify my dog, who I love and I know she’s afraid and confused, while also being a good house guest and trying to make keep the home quiet and peaceful. To add insult to injury so far Autumn is not a fan of the family dog. She seemed scared by him even though he only wanted to play with her. So he has been confined to the bedroom of one of the kids which he does not like. I felt that Autumn should be confined as well and I thought it would be easier if she remained in the room we have been staying in while we ate dinner and my hope would be for when I leave for work Monday. 

So due to my anxiety and feeling like I needed to do something I started watching Cesar Milan videos. I watched one on Separation anxiety. He talked about exuding confidence when giving command to your dog as well as making sure your dog is nice and tired as well as in a calm state when you leave. So later in the day when the house was relatively quiet I practice with Autumn. I took her for a walk and then I waited for her to be laying quietly on the bed. I got my jacket and my purse and I sat on the bed. Just like in the video as I move Autumn watched me with her ears back looking confused. But she then laid back down.This is when I left. I stepped out, telling her in a calm confident voice to stay and that I would be back. I left the room and walked a little bit down the stairs to hear if she made noise. She made a little noise but then she was quiet.I repeated this a couple of times before stopping. 

So the following day was the true test when I left the house for work. I walked her for an hour and then left at 5:30 am for work. She stayed in the bed calmly when I left and I didn’t hear a peep as I left the house. When I spoke to the family that evening (12 hours later) I learned she did not make a noise at all. The second day of work was the same thing and I felt that we had mastered the Separation Anxiety. 

 Other things that I noticed in Autumn which let me know she was in distress:

+Throwing up blood (once and could be because she found something on the ground to eat)

+Bloody poop (same as above)

+Lack of Appetite-eating once a day

+Refusing treats

+Increased Thirst

+Very quiet-she’s a vocal dog usually

+Trouble sleeping during the night and wanting to go to the bathroom all night

A full week after our arrival Autumn was back to her normal self. She was back to eating twice a day and she would make noise when it was time to eat. Her bathroom habits were good and she was sleeping through the night. 

So that has been Autumn’s first week. Unfortunately due to my host family having their children back in town Autumn and I are staying the weekend at the downstairs neighbors house.I’ll create a separate blog about this experience.

The First 24 hours

The first 24 hours feels so unreal after aliyah. Even though I knew the basics of what was going to happen nothing prepares you for the true experience of coming home. For me the most stressful part was having my dog and keeping her calm. It didn’t work. She barked incessantly when I picked her up from baggage claim. She had to sue the bathroom and she was starving. It was obvious to me that she had been a little traumatized by the experience of riding in the plane. She was scared and definitely felt like I had abandoned her.

I arrived to my temporary home later that night, after spending about 2-3 hours at the ministry of absorption getting my ID card, signing for healthcare, and all the other things new slim have to do once they become Israeli citizens. I was so tired and out of it that I forgot my backpack (with my laptop, iPad, and all the important paperwork) on the shuttle. The bas part was that it took me an hour to notice it was gone. Lucky for me the shuttle driver had dropped the bag off in the courtyard in the place I was staying and all my goods were still there.

The home I am staying at is filled with visits from the states. This is nice but I think it also contributes to the not real feeling as well as the this is not my place feeling, despite me unpacking everything and setting up my temporary room. I think this part did make Autumn feel a little bit more settled but she is definitely exhausted and having a bad case of separation anxiety.

I had a job interview scheduled for the Thursday morning, a little more than 12 hours after my arrival. I am staying in Jerusalem but the job is in Tel Aviv. This meant having to wake up and get on the bus at 5 am. WellI was up at 2 am (after not going to bed until midnight) and I couldn’t fall back asleep so I walked Autumn, showered and gave her a bath, then I was off. I heard her barking from the street the poor thing and I wanted to just call off the interview and stay with her. But I also didn’t want to reinforce her barking so I said a little prayer for her to stop and apologized to all the neighbors (in my head) and keep going.I couldn’t find the bus stop and ended up walking for an hour before just taking a taxi. Well the taxi guy was nice but took me to the wrong city and then of course blamed it on me.

I was late for the interview and feeling very drained emotionally we met and talked about the job. I was able to see a little of what she does and her interactions. She then asked me if I would like to do a trial day to see how it would go. She offered for me to do it this day so I did. I rode over to the nursery school where I would be working with the kids 1-2 years old. At first I felt kind of weird and out of my element. The teacher in charge wanted to talk and ask questions an d it felt so hard. I watched a little and then kind of jumped right in. I don’t know when it happened but I just clicked and had a blast with some really adorable little ones. I didn’t even think about me being on a trial day or this being part of an interview I just enjoyed the kids and it was fun seeing where they were developmentally. I even made a fiend with one little cute boy who was about 2 and had on the best outfit. As we went out to play for the second time a woman from the other classroom pulled me aside and reported that the head teacher had told her I was doing great and she was definitely pleased. So after working for about 2 hours I was done and the boss called me and offered me the position. I told her I would have to think about it, even though it would most likely be a yes. I knew that at least for the first couple weeks to a month I’d be in Jerusalem plus I was still concerned about Autumn adjusting.

When I returned to the apartment, it was quiet. She eventually came down and created me quietly. I had looked up how to cure separation anxiety and it was recommended not to make a big deal of leaving and returning. So I calmly said hey big girl and walked and did my thing with her following me. We had a pretty quiet afternoon as I did laundry, cooked some for (I had not yet eaten that day and it was all ready 2pm), and just walked around, still not feeling real.

Autumn and I dyed down to nap and then the house guests returned, saying hello, and of course causing Autumn to bark. they came up t the room and said hello to us, petting Autumn while she barked and made noises at them (she seems to like them and her them). I apologized for her barking in the morning and they were very sweet and kind in forgiving me/her. They said she only really barked for about 30 minutes and then she was fine so that made me feel a little better. I let them know that the weekend would be dedicated to me working on eliminating the barking when I leave. I let them know about the job and how the woman wanted me to start on Monday.

I then took a nap, because I was really exhausted, and woke up to another guest-I happened to have met her at shabbat dinner a few weeks back when I first came to this home. She was going grocery shopping for the family which  would be returning the following day (Friday). I then headed back upstairs, turned on some music and felt my mind kind of clear. I had decided I would take the job. the pay is low but it’s sufficient. I realized that by taking this job and moving to Tel Aviv I would be more free to have my online practice. On the plane I finished reading the book “Pushout” about black girls and how the school system is failing them. About these young women who are being exploited and trafficked by pimps and their process of healing. I thought about what my passion which is trauma work, and I wanted to do more for my community. For black girls. So I contacted Beacon Health options which handles Alameda county medi-cal and asked about online therapy and reimbursement. The paperwork was re-sent to me and I filled it out. I’m hoping that within a couple weeks I will have gotten approval and I can start seeing clients online and taking medi-cal.

So now it’s all beginning to feel a little more real. It’s a little more than 24 hours and even though I didn’t get to open my bank account (they were closed when I returned to Jerusalem) and I hadn’t chosen a phone company (or used my free 200 minutes on my sim card), I have a job and a temporary place to live. I know what my salary will be and I can start apartment hunting. I’m not feeling the inch for this, and I am prepared to hustle. I think once the family returns and Autumn meets them they were will be less anxiety on my part about leaving her in the mornings. I have never planned to live here more than a month, so I will check with the family to see if I can move after receiving my first paycheck just to be on the safe side. I have reached out about a roommate but I kind of like the idea of living alone, if I can make it happen.

Autumn makes Aliyah Part 4

The pick up from the airport was rough. I accidentally walked past Autumn as she lay in in her crate and she started barking like a mad dog. She had been in there for about 18 hours and she had to pee and she was hungry-poor thing.I got my luggage, and needed to carts to take care of it. She barked as I tried to get all my bags. She barked as we walked through the airport to the taxi area. She barked up until I let her out of the kennel and she could use the bathroom. 

The taxi driver was nice and let Autumn stay outside of her kennel as we road from Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem. She was quiet for the most part and she looked really confused as we drove. Overall I think she did very well, and my heart just melted for her knowing she had that long as ride.

Saying Goodbye

It didn’t hit me until after I dropped Autumn off at the Oversized baggage area.

On Sunday morning I left my home and my siblings in Berkeley. I packed my bags into my car (my back was killing me) and headed off to my cousins house in Manteca. Due to some last minute logistics (lots of hugs and tears, as well as cancelling of Directv). We left about two hours after I had planned (it was 11:15 when we hit the road) and it was awful. I-5 sucks when everyone is driving home from the bay area. So Instead of it taking 4 hours it took about 8 hours. Everyone in the car was miserable. Autumn did amazing though, only whining a few times when the car slowed down.

By the time we go to the hotel (at around 8) we were all tired. My cousin got food, I took autumn to the bathroom and put the pajamas on. I felt anxious though about the following day-my aliyah day. I was worried forAutumn. I was worried for myself and carrying these bags by myself.

Autumn did not like the hotel. Every time  people got loud (running up and down the hall way) she would bark-so loud and aggressively, scaring us half to death (because we were sleeping). She did this 3 times during the night. Autumn has been in hotels before and she did well. I think the stress of driving to LA and saying goodbye might have also affected her behavior.

My alarm sounded at 6 am but I was tired and she was sleeping so I went back to bed…Well the barking woke me 15 minutes later so we were off for our walk. Autumn hated it-she did not want to go for a walk. She kept pulling to go back to the hotel but I knew I needed her to be tired. I also was very anxious about taking her to the airport and he woke process because I didn’t know what to expect or how to manage all by myself. I also know Autumn has separation anxiety and I feared she would make so much noise because she was in distress. The good thing about walking during that time was that I was able to come up with a plan to deal with Autumn and the bags at the airport and that was very regulating. I then spoke to my mom while we both walked and that was nice too.

Upon return Autumn did not eat. She also didn’t really eat the night before either which was concerning. (When I say she didn’t eat I meant she didn’t eat her dog food but she was about that Panda Express. She was very thirsty though. But knowing she had a fourteen hour flight plus her wait time (3 hours) she wouldn’t have a chance to use the bathroom so I let her drink her water cutting her off at 8:45.

Well we headed to the airport and I initially tried to check Autumn first but that did not work. I had to call my cousin back so I could get my bags, then pay the bell guy to bring the stuff in and then go through the line. This part was the part I had been dreading the whole time. Being alone with all my stuff and Autumn. I had this feeling of not knowing anything and it was so disconcerting. I also was anxious because my bags were heavy, which I knew and I had hoped that they wouldn’t charge me because some bags were heavier than others.

After passing through the security screening (he asked about my aliyah and the process of making aliyah. They asked me about my Hebrew name and other stuff). I went to the scales to weigh it all. Well Two bags were too heavy, with one being entirely too heavy that I’d have to chuck stuff. Well I panicked on the inside. I mean I had meticulously packed my bags and this was all the stuff I wanted that I could bring. I couldn’t afford to pay the extra money for the two heavy bags ($100) each plus Autumn ($200).

The man was very helpful though. He was like listen you have this small carryon here. go over there get a cheap bag at the store and take stuff out. I’ll let you have this extra carry on (so that would be three bags including this bag, backpack, and purse). So they let me leave my bags, I walked Autumn outside where she used the bathroom again, and I bought a new duffle bag for ($40). I then walked back over and sat on the ground rearranging stuff. In the end I gave up my laptop bag, a roll of  garbage bags, two old notebooks, my purple stappler, my purple tape dispenser and my huge bag of markers which included my favorite scissors. Some bags were slightly over but with all that commotion they had to take my bags because it was loading time.

With relief I paid the extra $100 for the one heavy bag and the $200 for Autumn. After they took the bags I walked Autumn over to the oversizeded baggage area where her kennel with through secuity, before she hoped in with her treat and we said goodbye.

As I walked away it hit me. All the avoidance and one track mind of getting to the airport was over. I had nothing to distract my feelings any more. I felt the tears well up as I mounted that escalator and looked around at sunny Los Angeles through the windows. California, my home. Where my family and friends are. PeopleI’ve known for my whole life or for large portions of my life. People who I could quote inside jokes or rap songs from my childhood with. The loss of everything that was familiar to the unknown where nothing is familiar. I didn’t hear Autumn at all as I left and yet I felt her loss as I left her. Like she was my last little bit that was tethering me to my life in California.

I had thoughts of turning around and “escaping”. Literally that’s howI felt like if I left an dissed my flightI was on the run or something. Because the drama of the bags I didn’t have a chance to sit. I got some good (I hadn’t even all day and it was 1pm). I walked through the airport to my terminal to catch the bus to get to the airplane. I continued to feel this heavy weight that I could not explain. As I sat in my seat watching them drive the bags and things over, wondering which one was Autumn in, I continued to feel that sense of loss. Saying goodbye was so hard. I no longer had any distractions because I was on the plane. We were doing it.

A young woman sat next to me and she began to talk to me. She was on her birthright trip with her brother. She had not heard about aliyah and I talked about it. Her mother is a Marriage and Family Therapist like me and she is transitioning to online counseling like me. the young woman works with human trafficking survivors and wants to go to law school where she can do human rights law and change policy with regards to how we treat victims of exploitation. We chit chatted and that heaviness began to dissipate. Those tears and feeling sob anxiety and loss were replaced by the awe of what I am embarking on. There is so much healing that needs to happen in this world and I get to still do it, while I also get to be in my spiritual home. I realized that the thing that makes this experience so great is that all the things I wanted for myself, interpersonally I will get to do. I want to get out of my comfort zone. Done! I don’t like talking to strangers yet I want to meet knew people and enjoy those platonic relationships with people who are different (and similar in ways) to myself. I will do that since I will be forced to make ew friends and new colleagues. I want to take risks and see the world. I want to have my on business as a therapist. I want to learn Hebrew and Arabic and whatever other language I encounter. Mostly I want a do over. I constantly say to myself that if I knew what I know now I would’ve done_________. As I threw away stuff from my bag I kept thinking your doing it all over. Your starting from the bottom again but this time with a different knowledge base and skill set.

Autumn makes Aliyah Part 3

I decided to dedicate this part to the part I found the hardest and that was having all my luggage and Autumn. I arrived at LAX around 10. Initially I wanted to arrive around 9:30 but that didn’t happen. 

So I arrived and walked with Autumn so she could use the bathroom. We then walked into the airport and I asked if I could check her in first but they wanted me to do it with all my luggage. So my cousin had to come back and I found a “bellboy” to get my bags out of the car. He told me that they were too heavy and that I would most likely have to take stuff out. I wish I had listened and my cousin could have taken the stuff back with her in my car. Any way I was able to walk with Autumn on her leash while the cart was pushed ahead. I waited in line and surprisingly Autumn did really well. She was definitely confused and stayed close by me. 

The security guard asks me questions and then I move to the weigh station. My bags were too heavy and so I had to deal with that. This whole process took about two hours and the whole time Autumn was really good. She only cried a little but really people loved her and my fear that people would look at me and judge me was gone. 

After getting the bags situated I then had to take autumn to the oversized baggage area where the separate security would check her Kennel and then Autumn would go with them. OF course she passed and I put her in a long with her treat. I didn’t say goodbye or anything because I didn’t want to make her more upset and anxious. 

I was really anxious about bringing my dog Autumn on the plane because she has a little separation anxiety and I didn’t want her losing her shit aka barking loudly and whining incessantly. Amplfying my nervous was that I didn’t really know what to expect with it all. I had googled stuff but nothing went into the type of detail I needed. So I want to be able to provide that for you-the person wanting to make aliyah with your dog. 

First: You will get to the airport and you will need all of your bags with you. My advice out the kennel on the cart with your bags and then walk with your dog on the leash. before entering the airport let the baby use the bathroom. 

Second: You go through the line like usual and then your stuff gets weighed. If your bags are all good your dog gets weighed and then you will pay for her.

Third: You will walk over, with your dog, carry-ons and the kennel to the oversized bagged section. At Lax it was a smaller area that was walled off with a large conveyor belt which your dog will go on after they are done. The security guard came over and checks the kennel for any residue using those chemical strips (sorry I don’t know the name). They don’t take your kennel apart. After you pass that you put your dog in the kennel and lock it up. 

Fourth: You say goodbye and walk away while the airport folks take your dog and put her on the belt so she can go down to the plane. 

Tips that I found really helped and I think made everything smoother for Autumn. 

#1: walk your dog and make them tired. Autumn did almost 6 miles and combined with the anxiety of not knowing what will happen and lack of sleep she was exhausted. 

#2 Feed your dog well before you leave. I fed Autumn about two hours before and I got to the airport three hours early so I was able to take her to the bathroom twice (the second time she went poo, on her walk she also pooed). 

#3 Walk with your dog in the airport while everything is getting ready. For Autumn it was all overwhelming and confusing so she stayed close to me and was quiet. She also got attention from people who talked to her and petted her. I think this helped her stay calm too because she wasn’t all alone in her kennel. 

#4 Have a really big treat for your baby in their kennel. When you say goodbye you can give them a treat and say goodbye calmly. Because they will be distracted they wont be as upset to see you leaving. 

Now of course these tips worked for me because my dog has horrible separation anxiety which leads to very loud barking and whining. This only happens in a place she’s unfamiliar with (not at home) so I was nervous that Autumn would melt down in the airport. She didn’t and that helped a lot. 

Autumn makes Aliyah: Part 2

Look at all the work I needed to do and that I was able to complete. 

Preparation before the flight: Checking off the pre aliyah checklist. 

NBN gives you a pre aliyah checklist for those making aliyah with their dog from the US. If your from another country your requirements may be different But below are mine. Man was it overwhelming at first. 

Health Certificate-this is done at your vet. they do a check up and fill out the form. At my vet the check up was $86 and for them to fill out the form was over $100. 

USDA Certified vets/CFIA certified vets-after I drove to Sacramento to my local USDA office. They checked the paperwork the vet submitted, including the rabies vaccine, tither test, microchip, and health ceritifcate. for them to endorse all this they charged me $121. If the rabies wasn’t involved it would’ve been $38. Smh my dog is expensive…but she is all done. 

EL AL-Impt info that I used to dot my i’s and cross my t’s. 

Pre-Aliyah Checklist

  • Health Requirements: 
    • Rabies Vaccination: Admin w/in 1 year but no less than a month prior to arrival 
      • My plan: Aliyah in December 2016—Rabies Vaccine done in June/July I did this due to fear of a reaction of IMHA)
      • Rabies Serological (Titer Test) is done after the Rabbies vaccine. This test measures he levels of rabies antibodies in your fur baby. 
        • Positive results are required prior to the completion of the health certificate. 
        • The results of the test must be obtained from an authorized laboratory. They need to show that your pet is responding to the rabies vaccine and that it is producing a sufficient level of antibodies.
        • Obtaining the results of the rabies serological test may take anywhere from 1-3 months depending on the lab in your area.
        • If your pet fails the test, another rabies vaccine will need to be administered and your pet will need to be retested a month later.
        • Once your pet has passed the Rabies serological test it is good for life if you have the results officially documented.
      • After receiving the vaccine get a copy of International Certificate of Rabies Vaccine issued by your veterinarian. 
      • Confirm how to obtain endorsement with your regional USDA/CFIA Branch ahead.  Make appointment if necessary 
        • David Ewey, Director
        • sacramento.vs.import.export@aphis.usda.gov
        • 916‐854‐3960
        • 10365 Old Placerville Rd, Suite 210 Sacramento, CA 95827
  • MicroChip/Electronic Chip Requirements (I used this site) I bought it on July 21, Wednesday and received it in earl August—-http://www.pettravelstore.com/pet-microchip/
    • Regulations require that the chip transmits on a frequency of 134.2 Kilohertz and can be read with a chip reader that conforms to the provisions of the ISO standard No. 11784 or of Annex A of ISO Standard 11785.
      • If the chip does not conform to these standards, the importer or the importer’s representative is required to be in possession of another means to read it. This is not the standard chip used in the United States.
      • Before getting your pet chipped, verify that your veterinarian is implanting the correct model. If not, you may be required to have your pet chipped again within five days of arriving in Israel.
      • If your vet does not carry them, ask if he/she can order it, or if he/she would be comfortable implanting the chip if you order it online. The chip is available for purchase on some pet websites.
    • At least a week prior to your pet’s flight (earlier is better)
  • Kennel Restrictions
  • Cost of Flying with Pets
    • The cost of carrying a pet is based on the weight of the animal + carrying container + its food

•Prices apply to animals accompanying a passenger on the same flight

•Payment can be made at the EL AL cash desk at the airport or at any EL AL branch

•The payment for carrying pets is made separately.  In other words, it is not included as part of the permitted baggage allowance

•If there any connection flights with other airlines, payment must be arranged directly with the other airline

For an animal weighing up to 8 kg. – $100 in each direction.

For an animal weighing from 9-50 kg. – $200 in each direction.

For an animal weighing from 51-100 kg. – $400 in each direction.

Animals weighing over 100 kg. will be handled by EL AL Cargo (03-9716679).

Procedure for booking flights for animals

•All requests to carry animals accompanied by passengers in the cabin must be submitted to EL AL’s Reservations office, indicating the pet’s weight including its container and the container’s dimensions

•The Service Call Center will confirm receipt of the booking to the relevant travel agency

Required Documents

•All animals approved for carriage must have vaccination certificates and entry permits from the relevant authorities in transit and final destinations

•Carriage of animals to Israel:  dogs, cats and birds (more than 2 of each kind) and other animals, arriving with or without their owners, must have a veterinary import permit, issued by the head of the Veterinary Service

•Address: Ministry of Agriculture, POB B-12, Beit Dagan 50250, Israel

•Telephone: +972-3-9688986

•Fax: +972-3-9688963

•Ministry of Agriculture website: Veterinary Services Unit or the quarantine station in Ramla, address:  POB 63, Ramla, Israel; Fax:+972-3-9229906

•A written request for these permits, together with a valid check (rates are subject to change), must be sent no later than 10 days before the planned flight date for the animal

•The request must include:  the type of animal, sex, species, age, information about arrival in Israel, country of origin, other details

•Dogs, cats and birds (up to 2 of each type), accompanied by their owners in whose possession they have been overseas for at least 90 days, will be exempt from the need for an Israeli veterinary permit, but they must have a vaccination certificate and a health passport issued by a government veterinary official in the country of origin, declaring that the animal is healthy and free of infections or infectious diseases.  In addition, the certificate must indicate that the dog/ cat has been vaccinated against rabies, no more than one year and no less than one month before the date of arrival in Israel.  Dogs and cats under the vaccination age (three months) are not permitted to enter Israel

•When flying with animals from Israel, it is the passenger’s responsibility to ascertain the relevant documents and certificates required in transit and final destinations

Acceptance and hand ling

•The animal (pet) must be carried in a strong, closed container, purchased by its owners and approved by an EL AL representative

•The animal must not emit any bad odors

Flight Kennel preparations:

•Make sure your Flight kennel is marked according to instructions. The kennel must be recognizable for the airline staff as well as ground handlers and/or any other operator at the airports. The pet’s name, flight number, your name and phone numbers should be attached to the kennel throughout the journey.

•Remember to bring security seals in order to secure the kennel once entering the airport.

•Make sure that the kennel is clean and contains all the items your pet will need or want during the flight: Diaper, a bottle of water, a blanket or a toy etc.

•Make sure that the kennel does not contain food remainders, sharp objects or the leash.

•In case your traveling with a cat, make sure that the kennel wheels are not attached to the Flight kennel (if so, make sure you detach them before you reach the airport).

Pet Flight Documentations:

Make sure you bring all the forms necessary and that they are accessible:

•Imports/exports certifications (Import Permit, USDA etc.) and health certificates.

•Pet Passport (when traveling to/from or domestically in Europe)

•Vaccination booklet / records.

Preparing your pet for the flight:

•Do not feed your pet prior to the flight (feed him/her maximum 4 hours before the flight)

•Try to encourage your pet to drink as much as possible during the date of the flight.

•Dog owners, it is highly advised to take the dog for a very long relaxing walk before leaving towards the airport.

•Refrain from tranquilizers and all sorts of drugs that might calm your pet or put it to sleep unless a flight veterinarian advises otherwise.