Last week I hit my six month mark of being an olah. It was an #AliyahVersary, if you will. Expecting this to be a celebration on par with my grandmother's 100th birthday party, I had strong feelings that this was a major occasion which deserved to be recognized. I had survived thus far. It was a triumph of will and unlimited patience in everything I had done here. And now, the hard part must be over, I told myself. I've seen it all, and it can only be uphill from here.

I was so unbelievably wrong, it makes me question my whole sense of intuition and certainty that I am a perceptive, rationally thinking human being. Reflecting on these past six months, I have to admit that it really wasn't SO hard. When I first made Aliyah I lived in the Ra'anana Absorption Center, also known as Hell on Earth. I shared a bedroom with another girl and slept in a twin sized bed, I went to Ulpan five hours a day then worked in a health food store for eight hours after. I was exhausted all the time and had moments of stress over arbitrary daily incidences, but I really didn't care. I was so high on the Zionist dream and proud that I had followed through with my Aliyah that I viewed it all as temporary inconveniences. I knew I wouldn't be living in the Absorption Center forever, and was certain I wouldn't be cleaning up bags of spilled organic quinoa for minimum wage for the rest of my life. And even if I was, who cares- I was in Israel as an Israeli and the government was helping me fund it. Life was good.

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Months went by, and I decided I needed to make changes in my life here. I was fortunate enough to get a very good job within a few weeks of looking, and recently I found a new apartment in Tel Aviv. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, and here I am six months later, emotionally drained by the weight of this country. It is very hard for me to say this out loud, almost tragic, but the glamor of Aliyah has faded. I no longer go through my days amazed by the history of every street corner, or emotionally overtaken by the beauty of every bus ride. I now spend my days full of anxiety over how expensive it is to live in this city, and rethink every financial decision I make. I question how comfortable I am in the community I've built for myself, and if I feel fulfilled outside of my work at all. I dream of the little things that were so easy and brought me so much joy in America, like teaching Zumba and having a car. It saddens me greatly to feel so far away and disconnected from the things I love. For the first time in these six months, just the other day I questioned if moving here was a mistake.


Everyone says I made aliyah the hard way. I didn't move here through a program like Garin Tzabar, or come here with a spouse or my family. I didn't join the army or go to university here, or join any organization that provides a community and structure for olim. I moved here with nothing, as a single recent college graduate, with a very clear vision of continuing the future of the Jewish people here in Israel.

I am now trying very hard to do what I did in the beginning- tell myself that this period of extreme difficulty is also temporary. That my Zionist fervor is still in me somewhere, it's just currently buried under layers of expenses, longing for California, and emotional heaviness that accompanies transition. This too will pass, and hopefully soon a new chapter will open, one that brings me much needed peace, stability, and a feeling of home.


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