Thoughts on My First Aliyahversary

Written by on October 17, 2013 in ,

By Megan Turner

Megan made Aliyah with Nefesh B’Nefesh to Beer Sheva in October 2012.

התמונה שלי

Friends, today marks exactly one year of me being Israeli!  Happy Aliyah-versary to me!  (The word “aliyah” is a specific term for when a Jew immigrates to Israel…it also has other meanings connected to that, but just to keep you in the know.)

What a year it has been.  Let’s do a quick recap so I can wrap my own head around it, how about?

October 2012 – arrived in Israel with dog in tow and my life shoved into four suitcases.  This was, of course, after spending a full day in Manhattan with 8 of my best friends who traveled from Arkansas, Boston, Princeton, Washington DC, and various parts of NYC to see me.  I also met my “Israeli family” on one of the most fun nights of my life.  Shout out to Artur, Meirav, Anat, Noam, and Ricky for loving and taking such good care of me.

November 2012 – heard my first air raid siren the same day I was supposed to start my intensive Hebrew classes, therefore postponing the start of my classes.  Heard another air raid siren.  Met fun friends in Tel Aviv and then had to scramble back to Be’er Sheva to try and escape the impending war, only to be stuck outside for the beginning of the fireworks.

December 2012 – celebrated a yummy Channukah…the first holiday I got to experience in Israel!  Went out A LOT, having a great time with my adopted family and learning the night life of B7.

January 2013 – Cassie came to visit!  My first international visitor.  We tore up the sites…accidentally drove through the West Bank…and both got super sick.  Survived the worst winter in 50 years here…it rained so hard that my living room almost flooded!  Then, I voted in my first Israeli elections.  Very cool to have that experience basically right off the plane!

February 2013 – finished my intensive Hebrew classes, getting a perfect score on my oral exam and an insanely high score on my written exam…and then I just suddenly felt lost because, I didn’t have any school anymore.

March 2013 – my first birthday here in Israel…Tals came to visit, and everyone made me feel extremely special and loved.  Started working at my first Israeli job…in Hebrew.  Was terrified, but hey, jumping in face first is sometimes the way to go.  Applied for grad school.

April 2013 – Passover happened, and I ate more than I ever have in my life.  Thank goodness I also started biking back in March, or I would be one large momma by now…also celebrated my first Israeli Independence Day, something I’ve been waiting to do for YEARS.  It lived up to expectations, for sure.  Also helped open H&M in B7, so that was rather thrilling and exciting to be a part of that whole process…in Hebrew.  Took an exam as the second step in the grad school application process.

May 2013 – Life continued, I started missing home a bit more, continued working, continued loving every minute of it all.

June 2013 – was traumatic.  Pepper, my adorable princess pug who was my strength and support for so long, got sick very suddenly and passed away.  My world was upside down, and I honestly didn’t know how to cope with this loss.  I was very fortunate to have so many beautiful friends who wrapped around me and held me up through this difficult time.  Magically and rather suddenly got accepted to grad school, mid-application process.  Got offered a job teaching English in a fun summer program.  It was quite the month.

July 2013 – started teaching English lessons and even got my first private student!  Let the tide sweep me along with work and going out and having a great time, and BOOM!  I met my amazing, sweet, supportive, charming, handsome, thoughtful, intelligent, talented boyfriend.  Yeah, that was unexpected and totally swept me off my feet.  I’m not complaining…:)

August 2013 – got more private students.  Got really busy.  Work, teach, work, prep for school, somehow continue to take care of myself.  Lol, which I really didn’t take care of myself…Yagel definitely made that happen.  Constantly reminded of how lucky I am.

September 2013 – HOLIDAYS!  I got to experience the High Holidays here in Israel…and it was magical and fun and finally everything I have ever wanted.  Bought a ticket to go home and see my parents in November…because, you know, it’s about time.  Ate more and more…went to the beach some…slipped deeper into exhaustion from so much work and play…

October 2013 – went to orientation for grad school (which starts NEXT WEEK)…started converting my American drivers’ license to an Israeli one…bought concert tickets to Justin Timberlake AND a plane ticket to Amsterdam (going with the best group of people EVER)…am applying for my Israeli passport…and sitting here totally in shock at where my life has gone in the past year.

One year ago today, I stepped off a plane in the desert, not knowing what to expect.  One year later, I can easily and happily say that I am at the best place in my life ever.  My amazing experiences keep continuing, and I keep growing and progressing.  Y’all, I can bank and study and work and survive in Hebrew!  I can take care of myself in a different country…my country.  It’s such a cool thing to be Israeli and to explore the opportunities that I have been given.  And now, I have permission from myself to start writing my book, all about my first year as a young, independent, female moving her entire life to Israel…and how everything just keeps getting better.  As if I’m not busy enough.  Or, for Artur, in honor of Pepper…P;  Sending much love and gratitude to you all.  Here’s to the start of another AMAZING year!

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