Friday, June 09, 2006

Pulling Up Anchor

A Minus: 2 Months, 6 Days

Leaving Walnut Creek is a far more difficult experience than I thought it would be. I've seen countless Israelis who leave Israel for America for a couple of years to make a little bit of extra money. It's a perfectly reasonable thing to do considering the unaffordable housing costs and tiny salaries in Israel. "Od shanah achat. Just one more year," they always tell themselves. Which turns into two years. And before they know it, they've been here 30 years, and have become so acculturated and hooked on the prosperity of America that they wouldn't be able to go back even if they wanted to.

I promised myself I wouldn't let that happen, that I would do my best not to grow addicted to the ease of life here. It wasn't such a challenge, and I have no issues about leaving the prosperity I found in Walnut Creek. Well, that's not true, I'll definitely feel the loss, but the burden is not insurmountable. My student loans are almost paid off, but I can still hear the little voice in my head, "Ephraim, now that you're out of debt, you have an excellent credit rating. Why not buy a house? Just as an investment for a year. Think how much better off you'll be when you finally do go. Od shanah achat." But the voice doesn't sway me.

For the last few years, I've been quietly planning my aliyah. I figured that when my moment finally came, I would be ecstatic. But, while I am happy, my emotions are mixed. What I didn't expect was to become so close to a community. I sit at the Shabbes table, look around at my friends, and wonder which ones I won't see again after two months. What will happen to my little kinderlach at the Hebrew School? Who will buy the sodas for the shul? Lift the heavy boxes of siddurim? Wolf down the leftover cheesecake from Shavuos?
But when I think of staying, my mind retches at the prospect. How am I going to meet someone and start a family way out here? What future do I really have here, besides work, work, and more work? No, I have to go.

And Gabi is going. He was never an "Od shanah achat" Israeli. Having left Israel 25 years ago, he made no promises of impending return. But then he decided to move to Florida. Mishane makom mishane mazal. A change of place brings a change of fortune. Well, as long as he was moving, why not bring his stuff to Florida, set up there, and go visit Israel for a few months. Pretty soon, Florida was just somewhere to store stuff, and he's now moving back full-time to Tel Aviv. We celebrated his aliyah with a barbecue last night (see attached pictures.)
And my own aliyah approaches rapidly.

My aliyah visa finally arrived from the Israeli consulate yesterday. This will allow me to land and immediately declare citizenship. It's actually an amusing piece of work. For those who read Hebrew, notice they spell San Francisco as San Frantzisco. Thought that was cute. Less cute was the fact that they misspelled my middle name.

Selling stuff has been going well now that I've found a successful strategy. I simply post everything I have for sale, all 150 items, on Craigslist on Friday afternoon, telling them to come by on Sunday morning at 10AM. Motzei Shabbat (Saturday night), I check email and answer any questions people have. Usually I have about 40 messages waiting for me, all of them signed by people promising to be there at 10 AM sharp, pleading with me to please hold their favorite item as they just can't live without it. Of these 40 people, probably five will actually show up. Of the five, maybe three buy things. I typically bring work home with me so I can have something to do (and build up extra hours) while I'm sitting around waiting. Then, I repost everything Monday morning, and Wednesday morning, to keep the ads current. Little by little, I've sold quite a bit over the last three weeks. It's to the point where I'm starting to move things into boxes. My apartment feels lonely without my stuff in it, but I think that really it's just exposing an emptiness that was already there.


Emah S said...

You call it pulling up the anchor, to me it has been like peeling the layers of an onion. We had our HUGE planned garage sale rid of so much and all that remains in the house right now are the things that will be going on our lift, which will be picked up on the 20th! It's a surreal feeling, you're right.

As for the friends thing, we have realized as it gets down to the wire, who are REAL friends are...amazing how people show their true colors.

Anyway, enough about me! We're under the 4 week mark ourselves!

great post.....take care, sus

Yael K said...

Wow, it is really starting to get feel-it close now! It is surprisingly hard to say good-bye but there are always visits. I found it deadly hard to say goodbye but once I got here the thought of even going back for a visit feels too hard --I'd miss being here too much!