Updated: May 5, 2021
Guest blog by Yaffa Abadi
They say the more time you spend in Israel, the more Israeli you become.
Usually, my Aliyah anniversary brings about a wave of emotions. Year one saw me seated at Shuk Machane Yehuda surrounded by new faces doing lehaims until the bartender cut us off. I was so amazed that I had stuck around a whole year, it seemed surreal.
Anniversary year two, three, and four shared similar themes. Yes, the alcohol consumption decreased as my liver got older and I slowly transformed from student to functioning member of society, but the sentiment was there- WOW, you’ve done another year.
But last month, June 28th came and went like any other day. I woke up, went to work, and was snuggled in bed by 11 pm. It was only when Facebook alerted me of my memories the next morning that it dawned on me- five years baby!
Over-emotional Aliyah sob stories used to be my soup of the day, just look at my Times of Israel blog which got me tons of random Shabbat invitations. But I like to think I’ve grown out of that (not that there’s anything wrong with inspiring Aliyah stories, I just abused that privilege a few too many times.)
So, this is going to be an UN-inspiring, UN-emotional look at the last five years that’s landed me at this point: forgetting my Aliyah-anniversary
Over the past five years, there have been struggles...sitting through Philosophy courses in Hebrew when I could barely read a street sign. Moving apartments with my twiggy arms seven times in four years. heartbreak and loneliness without a mother’s arms to fall into at the end of the day…. Yeah, it can suck.
There have been adventures... Camping in the middle of the desert looking at the freckled skies. Getting stranded in the West Bank and baking bread with the charming residents who helped us get home. Celebrating birthdays as sirens raged on in the background and hiking from one side of the country to another with nothing but a backpack double my size.
And there have been oh so many Joys. Birthdays, weddings, graduations, engagements, creating memories with friends who are my family.
So, when I lay in bed the morning after June 28th, with my beautiful fiancé still sleeping next to me, in an apartment that I’m proud of, with a job I am excited to get too, I feel a sense of relief that I did not celebrate this year’s Aliyah anniversary,
Maybe, just maybe that means something has shifted. Maybe that means I am finally settled and that, on its own, is a celebration.