Thursday, July 01, 2010

Surreality

We find ourselves in a most peculiar state of existence, just five days away from our aliyah flight.  Our household goods have been sent off in a ZIM container, on their way to a port city in Israel.  We are living with a borrowed table, borrowed chairs and cots.  I can’t cook anything because our pots are in transit.  We’ve sold off nearly everything down to the bare walls.  We’re spending several nights in hotels or with friends, trying to avoid the weirdness of being in our home that doesn’t really feel like home anymore.

In the past few months, and most especially the past few weeks, I have made so many decisions about whether to sell, keep, toss or give something away that I am paralyzed by the thought of having to make one more decision.

Now, we're saying goodbye to friends and family.  Even though the decision to make aliyah was much anticipated and totally volitional, the tears are just as salty as if the parting was imposed upon us by disaster or death, Gd-forbid.

Some goodbyes are more difficult than I would have expected.  Some less so.  We have literally been showered with blessings for all good things in life by dozens and dozens and dozens of people from all corners of our lives.  Emails, cards, phone calls, hugs.  It’s a bit overwhelming.  Often, I can’t finish reading the sentiment in a card or listening to a friend speak of love without welling up.  Blubbering even.

And I’ve seen more grown men crying this past week than I’ve ever seen before, including at funerals.

Sometimes, I find the most surprising things hard.  Sunday night, I sold my car.  When I was driving it for the last time, I got all choked up, remembering that I have had my own car since I was 16 and acknowledging that I probably won’t ever have my own car again.  It’s not the car; it’s the freedom and the independence. 

In some senses, making aliyah means regressing to the dependencies of childhood.  A close friend describes living in Israel as being forever considered, “the stupid immigrant mother” who feels like a completely competent adult only when she visits the US.  That, almost certainly, will be me.

The transition is in process but is not yet completed.  These last days, I am still more in this American life than in my future life in Israel.  At the same time, I’m not really fully present here anymore either.  

Occasionally, I flash forward to the scheduled moment for saying goodbye to those who have come to see us off, but I can’t really go there yet.  I imagine the flight itself, stepping off the plane, the Welcome Ceremony, the rush of emotions upon actually arriving in Israel, but it’s too amorphous and overwhelming to capture and hold.

Mostly, I feel astonishingly blessed that my nine year-old dream, my single-minded passion, my desperate need to live in Israel is mere days away from being realized.

It is truly surreal.

2 comments:

rutimizrachi said...

Remember that Journeys song about the Little Neshamaleh?

Birth must be like this.

May your brave new world be wondrous enough to take away the pain of the journey.

Sharona said...

I heard that the NBN flight came in today, so I looked up your blog to see if you were on it. (Sorry I don't use facebook). I am so happy for you. I have so many good wishes for you, that things should go smoothly, that you should always feel the spiritual uplift of Eretz Yisrael. It takes time to slowly understand the Israeli mentality. In some ways we are luckier than they because they never experienced the longing to live in Israel. I myself still feel tremendous gratitude to Hashem for the zchut to live here, (even after 30 years) and I think Israelis have no idea what that feeling is.
You give all of us so much chizuk.
All the best.
Sharona