The Last Blog Post – הבלוג פוסט האחרון

Dear friends and readers, our subscription is coming to a close and we feel like it is time to close down our blog.  We, that is Alli and I, have decided to write one joint farewell post.  My thoughts will come first and then I’ll let her close it off.  Also, for the fun of it, for the challenge of it, and for the friends of ours who speak Hebrew better than English, I decided to write my section in both languages.  I’ll first write in Hebrew and then translate to English.

זה לא יאומן שכמעט עברה שנה ממתי שחזרנו מישראל.  בראשונה, היתה לי תחושה שהייתי בחלום ולא הייתי בטוח מה היה אמיתי.  האם באמת גרתי בארץ לשנתיים?  אז הייתי מסתכל על בתי והייתי יודע שזה לא היה חלום.  סתם, אני שוב בארה”ב, אני גר באותה עיר ואני עובד במכללה כמעט בדיוק באותו מקום שעבדתי לפני כן.  אז עדיין נשארה לי השאלה, חוץ מעדינה מה השתנה?  בשביל מה היה כל הסיפור הזה?  למה עברנו לארץ רק לחזור לארה”ב אם אני הולך לעשות בדיוק אותו דבר שעשיתי קודם?  לאט לאט הבנתי שהדבר שהשתנה הוא היה אני.  אני השתניתי בפנים.  כן, אני שוב מסתכל על אותה שכונה אבל אני מסתכל דרך עיניים שונות.

כל חיי היה לי חלום מטושטש לגדל משפחה ולעשות טוב בעלום, להשתמש את היכולות שלי לעזור אנשים, אבל באיזו צורה החלום הזה יתגשם?  יש מספר כיוונים שבהם אפשר להגשים חלום כזה.  עכשיו שחוויתי משהו שונה וראיתי אפשרויות אחרות אני מבין בדיוק איזה כיוון מתאים לי הכי טוב – גם לטוח קצר וגם לטוח ארוך.  כבר כתבתי פעם על הטוח הארוך אז אעסוק כעת רק במה שאנחנו מתכננים לעשות בשנים הקרובות.  קודם כל, אני עושה הסבה מקצועית.  אני מאוד מעריך את כל המורים שלי ואת כל מה שהם עשו לי ולימדו לי ובנוסף אני ממש נהינתי מהמחקר אבל…מאוד קשה למצוא עבודה באוניברסיטה שגם קרוב למשפחה וגם קרוב לקהילה יהודית.  חוץ מזה, מסתבר שעכשיו שיש לי בת, ובעזרת השם שעוד בן/בת אחד שצפוי באוגוסט, החשק שלי ללמד מוגשם על ידם ואני לא רוצה לעסוק בחינוך ברמה מקצועית.  אז אחרי ששקלתי הכל, החלטתי לרדוף קריירה בפיתוח תוכנה כי אני אוהב לפתור בעיות עם לוגיקה ויש הרבה יותר הזדמנויות בתחום ההי-טק.  כרגע אין לי עבודה, אבל אני לומד יום יום את המקצוע החדש שלי קצת יותר טוב.  התיעצתי כמה אנשים מחברות פיתוח תוכנה ולפיהם סביר לצפות שעד סוף החגים אמצא עבודה יציבה.

בכל מקרה, בכיוון אחר, גם כדאי להזכיר שאליסון ואני מרגישים שחווית ההתגוררות בארץ רק חיזקה את הנישואים שלנו.  בשנים האחרונות, היינו חייבים להתמודד עם כל מיני דברים שעליהם כבר כתבנו ושגרמו אותנו להתבגר גם ברמה אישית וגם בתור זוג.  למשל, עכשיו אנחנו יותר עצמאיים ולרוב סומכים רק על עצמנו לפתור בעיות.  ועוד, יש לנו תחושה כזאת שאנחנו יכולים לעמוד לכל אתגר ונצליח.

לבסוף, אני רוצה להודות כמה אנשים.  קודם כל, המון תודה לתוכנית פולברייט שנתנה לנו את ההזדמנות הזאת.  היה אי אפשר בלי תמיכתם.  שני, תודה רבה לכל הקוראים שלנו.  אתם עודדו אותנו להמשיך לכתוב אף על פי שהיה קשה לפעמים.  אני יודע שכתיבת הבלוג ותיאור כל מה קרה לנו במהלך השנים האחרונות העשיר אותנו.  אני מקווה שגם אתם קיבלתם משהו מזה.  ואחרון אחרון חביב, אמנם שהבלוג מסתיים, אנחנו עדיין רוצים לקיים את יחסינו איתכם.  לכן, תקוותינו היא, שנבלה איתכם במתישהו בשנה הבאה – גם עם הם שקרובים וגם עם הם שרחוקים.

עד אז…להתראות

אדם

It’s unbelievable that almost a year has passed since we returned from Israel.  At first I had a feeling that I was in a dream and I wasn’t sure what was real.  Did I really live in Israel for two years?  Then I would look at my daughter and I would know that it wasn’t a dream.  Still, I am again in the US, I am living in the same city and I am working in a college that is almost in the same location as before.  So I still had a question, besides Adina, what changed?  What was the purpose of this whole story?  Why did we move to Israel just to come back to the US if I am going to do exactly the same thing that I did before?  Slowly, I understood that the thing that changed was me.  I changed inside.  Yes, I am looking at the same neighborhood, but I am looking through different eyes.

My whole life I had this blurry dream to raise a family and do good in the world, to use my abilities to help people, but in what form will this dream come true?  There are a number of ways to fulfill a dream like this.  Now that I experienced something different and saw other possibilities, I understand exactly which direction fits me best – both in the short term and in the long term.  I already wrote once about the long term so now I will just deal with what we are planning on doing in the next years.  First of all, I am making a career change.  I very much appreciate all my teachers, everything they did for me and taught me, and, in addition, I really enjoyed the research but…it’s very hard to find work at a university that is both close to family and close to a Jewish community.  Besides this, it turns out that now that I have a daughter, and with God’s help that a another son/daughter is expected in August, my desire to teach is fulfilled by them, and I don’t want to engage in education on a professional level.  So after I considered everything, I decided to pursue a career in software development because I like solving problems with logic and there are many more opportunities in the hi-tech field.  For the moment, I don’t have a job, but everyday I am learning my new profession a little better.  I consulted several people from software development companies and according to them it is reasonable to expect that by the end of the holidays I will find stable work.

In any case, in a different direction, it’s also worthwhile to mention that Allison and I feel that the experience of living in Israel just strengthened our marriage.  In recent years, we had to deal with all sorts of things which we have already written about and which caused us to mature on both a personal level and as a couple.  For example, we are now more independent and usually just rely on ourselves to solve problems.  What is more, we have this feeling that we can meet any challenge and we will succeed.

Finally, I want to thank a few people.  First of all, many thanks to the Fulbright program that gave us this opportunity.  It would have been impossible without their support.  Second, thank you very much to all of our readers.  You encouraged us to keep writing even though it was hard sometimes.  I know that writing the blog and describing everything that happened to us throughout the last years enriched us.  I hope that you also got something out of this.  Last but not least, although the blog is ending, we still want to maintain our relationship with you.  Therefore, our hope is that we will hangout with you at some point in the next year – both with those that are close and with those that are far.

Until then…see you soon

Adam

________________________________________________________________

It is amazing that it has almost been a year since we returned to the US. To say that things did not go the way we expected is an understatement, but just because they didn’t go the way we planned doesn’t mean that they haven’t been good. It is times like this that I truly see that things happen for a reason; we just don’t always see it right away.

This year was very tough for us. Not only do we have an amazing and adorable toddler who keeps our every waking moment interesting, Adam and I have been busy with work. For the first time in our marriage, I think Adam was finally able to walk a mile in my shoes as an educator. Late nights planning, hours of grading, and endless e-mails trying to help students reach their potential. And while I still love it with all of my heart, I understand his frustrations and the choice to leave the teaching profession better than most. Education is an all consuming profession and requires a life-work balance that isn’t for everyone. I am very proud of him for admitting this…it is hard to admit that what you were working toward for so long is not the right thing.

Despite the challenges that his long commute and crazy hours added to our life, I have to admit that it was really hard for me when he decided that he was going to change careers. After 10 years of working towards this goal, being so close to it, and knowing that he is an amazing educator, it was hard for me to let go. Plus there is the unknown of what is to come. Yet, as time has passed, we both know that it is the right decision for our family. Adam will have a better work-life balance, we have more freedom to live where we want, which is obviously near family, and Adina gets to have her Abba available on a regular basis. Who could ask for more?

So what does this all mean for us? We are staying where we are for a while. I was thankful that Adam had a one-year position at Mt. Holyoke because it allowed him to get a taste of real academic life with a realistic commute for a family that needs to live in a Jewish community. It allowed me to work part-time in Southington which is what I needed as we transitioned back to America, while I tried to figure how to balance my time with Adina and my work, and while I incubate Adina’s sibling. Next year I will be full-time at Southington, which is a true blessing. I get to work with people that I know and with a curriculum that I helped write. Things will be pretty crazy as I take on a new course, AP Environmental Science, but if life wasn’t crazy I’m not sure I would know what to do with all the free time (sleep I know).

Next year will be tough as my work-life balance changes, and Adam G-d-willing starts a new job. Until that starts, however, we are trying to enjoy every moment of what we have now. We have the summer to prepare for the next step in our journey and for our newest arrival who will add all sorts of joy, happiness, and sleep-deprivation. Who could ask for more?

As we close the blog, I feel a sense of sadness and guilt. It is hard to feel like we are bring to a close this part of our life, but the truth is that we aren’t. Our experiences on the Fulbright and in Israel have made us grow in ways that we never could have if we never left the comfort of Connecticut. We are stronger individuals, a stronger family, and no matter what happens, nothing can take that away from us. Sometimes I worry that I am losing some of the strength and independence that I gained while in Israel, but I am working to maintain who I have become. As Adam pointed out, by coming back to where we were before, it is easy to fall back into old habits. And while there was nothing wrong with who I was before Israel, I would rather be who I was after.

My sense of guilt comes from the promise we made to continue this blog in order to write about our adjustment back to the United States, which we very much failed at. While we have had and continue to have conversations about the difference between Israel and America all the time, we just can’t seem to find the time to sit down and write. As we speak, I have about 5 drafts that I started but never finished. Of course, if anyone would ever like to hear what I was going to say, it would be a good opportunity to chat with you all. And that is something I have to remember. Just because we aren’t going to be writing, doesn’t mean we won’t be connected. We hope to continue our relationships with everyone both near and far because you matter so much to us. It takes effort of course, and we hope to do better with staying in touch with everyone in the future.

So I think that covers everything. Like Adam, I would like to thank you all for sharing our Fulbright experience with us. We hope that you have enjoyed watching us navigate through things and grow as a family. We are so thankful for this experience, and we hope that our journey will help future Israel Fulbrighters. We want them to know how lucky they are to have this opportunity.

Thank you to the Fulbright program for giving us this opportunity to explore the world and ourselves. Thank you to our friends and family in America for supporting us on our journey. We know it was not easy having us so far away for so long. Thank you to all of our friends and family in Israel for helping make our time there everything that it was. Thank you for investing in us even though you knew it was temporary. We hope to visit you in the near future.

Sadly there is no next time…
Allison

P.S. Adina wishes you all well. She is talking up a storm, has lots of opinions to share, and is a very active little girl. She hopes to see everyone soon!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Winter Wonderland

As we continue our way through February, New England continues to get pounded with snow. I can’t even tell you how much we have at this point, but with each new storm, including today’s, the snow is piled so high that it comes up to Adina’s head. There is more to come too as temperatures continue to be in the single digits or below zero, Fahrenheit.

Winter in Israel was miserable for me. The apartment was so cold at times that I could see my breath. I would walk around indoors wearing three or four layers, trying to minimize our use of the heat because electricity can get expensive. Our second year, we eventually figured things out with the plastic wrap over the windows, basically living in one room of the apartment with good comforters and a heater running, and lots of layers. Even then, I was always wishing we were back in America where there was heat and insulation that kept everything at a constant and comfortable temperature of 68-70°F (20-21°C). Let me tell you, the grass is always greener on the other side.

With subfreezing temperatures a constant, I still find myself walking around the apartment and heading to work wearing three to four layers. Often I keep my hat on when I first get home because it keeps me warmer. Despite the fact that the heat is set to that comfortable 68°F, there is always a chill in the air. We even started putting plastic wrap over the windows to help provide an extra layer of insulation.

Going outside is no picnic. There is the quick run to the car with Adina when it is ridiculously cold while trying to get her to keep her hat and mittens on. Despite her compulsion to take the mittens off, even she has learned that there is a point where it is cold enough to make it worth while to keep them on. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer the agonizing 10 minutes of freezing cold while I try to get the car warm to the walks to the grocery store in 40°F rain. Yet, things are not as warm and cozy as I remember them.

There are a few benefits to winter here compared to Israel and some benefits to winter in Israel compared to here. First, the hot water situation is much better here in Connecticut. There is no need to plan 30 minutes in advance to make enough hot water to get you through that 5 minute shower. The hot water is there, almost instantly, and it seems very plentiful. Snow days are great when you can stay inside all day, getting work done or playing with your adorable child. Plus, playing in snow is way more fun than playing in the rain. Skiing and snow shoeing continue to be favorite activities for our family. We haven’t gone as much as we would like because as educators our weekends are always filled with grading and planning, but the little that we have done so far has been great. Adina has also learned the wonders of snow. She loves to dig her mittened-hands right into it and toss it on the ground or in the air. She loves being pulled around in her toddler sled and we have built a number of snowpeople at this point. She likes them better when they are around her size, which is cute. Plus, there is nothing like a cup of hot chocolate after a good play in the snow.

The main benefit of an Israeli winter is that it is shorter. We are already up to 6 snow days and there is probably another one this week. Despite the equinox in late March that marks the beginning of spring, this wintery weather could last all the way into April. Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish celebration of the trees which fell on February 4th this year, was marked in Israel by blooming almond trees and the return of growth throughout the country. In New England, the trees sparkle with icicles, but there are no flowers or buds anywhere in site. It makes it more challenging to bring meaning to this awesome holiday. We did our best though because it is important.

I have also learned that snow is more fun when you are a kid, and that the cold rain of Israeli winters is preferable as an adult who has to drive a car to get places. We have spent hours getting the snow and ice off our cars, and I have had many hours of worry as Adam has to venture out on icy or partially plowed roads because classes at his job haven’t been cancelled. It could be worse though. Our landlord has someone plow the driveway so at least we don’t have to shovel all that snow.

So the reality is, no matter where you live, winter is cold and dreary, but an important season because it makes you more appreciative of the warmer, sunnier parts of the year. 🙂

Until next time…
Allison

A few pictures just for fun!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Hello world (again)

It’s been so long since I last wrote a blog post that I felt like the title of this post was appropriate.  So what has happened since that last post in July?  Well, in some sense a lot and in some sense very little.  I’ll try to explain.

July and August were big transition months for us from a technical, logistical standpoint, but also from an emotional standpoint.  During those months, we visited with family a lot, brought everything out of storage and moved it into our new apartment, we received our shipment from Israel, started our new jobs, I went to a conference in San Francisco for a week and Adina started gan (daycare).  In case we forgot to mention it, Alli returned part-time to her job at Southington High School while I have a one-year position at Mount Holyoke College.  This was a lot to juggle, and to be honest, we’re still only about 80% unpacked and set-up since once the school year started for us, very little got done.

Emotionally, this period was very charged for us for many reasons.  We were happy to see our family, we missed our home in Yerushalayim, Israel was in the midst of a war and we felt like we should be there in support, Adina was beginning to walk and she was starting to go to daycare (both of which were bittersweet), we were excited by our new jobs, but missed our old ones.  It was a constant back and forth.

Then the semester started and it’s been basically a day-to-day struggle to just get through each day.  From about 4 weeks into the semester and until the end, the goal became survival.  What do I mean?  Well, I normally have a lot of interests outside of work such as family, friends, running, learning Torah, learning Hebrew, sometimes reading a book or watching some TV or a movie.  From that point in the semester onwards, basically my only time off would be Shabbat or holidays.  I did the absolute minimum of everything else so that I would be able to do my job.  This meant I cut down running from 5 times a week to twice, almost all reading had to serve multiple purposes so most of the reading I did was studying Jewish texts in Hebrew, TV watching was mostly reserved for an hour on Saturday nights, and I visited with friends and family on Shabbat and holidays (and hardly ever outside of that).  I refused, however, to give up the 1.5 hours a day I had with Adina, and this became my break-time.  If Alli was full-time, I have no idea how we’d manage.  Even though it is really hard, the good thing was that my colleagues and students are really top notch, friendly, engaged and energetic.  I’ve been especially impressed by both the level and character of the students.  When I didn’t think I could keep going, having such good students prevented me from giving up.

Several people have asked me if Mount Holyoke College is better or worse than Hebrew University.  That’s really a difficult thing to assess.  It’s sort of like comparing apples and oranges.  Hebrew University is one of the premier research universities, especially for mathematics, in the world.  Mount Holyoke College is an elite liberal arts college for women.  The focus of Hebrew U is on producing high level research papers while the focus of Mount Holyoke College is on teaching at an elite level to elite undergraduates and in particular, for providing support and opportunities for women in academics.  This isn’t to say that people at Hebrew U don’t care about teaching or don’t teach well or don’t support female students and vice versa, that Mount Holyoke College doesn’t want us to do research; it’s just their main agendas are completely different.  More specifically, when I was at Hebrew U, I had no teaching responsibilities at all.  The only thing I was supposed to do was mathematics.  At Mount Holyoke, my main objective is to be an excellent educator.  They do give me some travel funds to support research, but no one I spoke to had any time to actually do research during the semester.

Although the past few months have been somewhat difficult, there were a few highlights: visiting and hiking with Yehuda (one of our friends and neighbors from Israel), Rosh Hashana with our family, Thanksgiving with our family, developing good relationships with my students in general and with my abstract algebra class in particular, skiing in New Hampshire with my in-laws, and last but not least, Adina.

Throughout it all, Adina has been amazing.  She adapts so quickly to everything we throw at her.  It seems to take her about one or two days and then she’s figured out the new schedule or whatever the new twist is in what we’re doing.  She’s the best thing in our lives and, for the most part, she keeps us centered.

Adam

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

From A Distance

If you haven’t heard, today there was another terror attack in Israel. Two men entered a synagogue this morning with meat cleavers, an ax, and guns. They killed five people and injured countless others. This is just another one of many attacks that have occurred in the past few weeks that have shaken us to the core. It is so hard to watch this happen from here.

NERWe landed in America on July 6th. On July 7th, Operation Protective Edge began in Gaza. Rockets had been raining down on southern Israel prior to this operation, but things intensified as Israel began to protect its citizens. Everyday was a challenge as we read about what was happening to our friends and family from here. Everyday we would check the news numerous times and Facebook became a constant source of information about the safety of our friends. We felt so awful being here and not there even though our presence wouldn’t make it better. So naturally when people asked us “aren’t you so glad you are back here where it is safe,” our answer was “no,” which of course shocked many people. Why would we want to be in a dangerous place?

As the number of terrorist attacks have started to increase, we once again function with heavy hearts. While we are thankful to not have to run for shelter with Adina and to not have to fear getting run over by a car while waiting for the bus, we feel like we should be with our friends who are dealing with this fear. Us being there won’t make things better, but we wouldn’t feel so helpless as we do here.

This morning’s attack struck harder than most. Every morning Adam wakes up and davens before getting his day started. As often as he can, he will go to synagogue to daven. Whenever he goes, he kisses us goodbye with the intention of returning when he finishes or after work. The men killed this morning had the same intention. They kissed their families goodbye, not realizing that they would never get a chance to be together again. And why? Because they were Jewish. It was a massacre that could rob any of us of our husbands, our children, our friends.

While the people in Gaza and the families of these men celebrated the murders they committed and government officials made politically correct statements that encouraged both sides to reduce the tensions, Israelis tried to determine if they should send their kids to school, if they should travel by bus to work, or if they could possibly focus enough to get their work done. If they don’t continue with their lives, then the terrorists win, but it isn’t easy to go about your daily business when any car can be a weapon, stones can be thrown, or a siren could send you running to the closest shelter. It makes the everyday concerns we have here seem petty and stupid.

One of the greatest changes that occurred within us by living in Israel for two years was a new perspective on life. We are much more aware of those “first world problems” and more concerned about the safety and health of our loved ones. We try very hard not to fall back into old habits. Keeping this perspective is important to us since it makes us appreciate the things that are really important.

I titled this post, From a Distance, because of our struggles of watching what is happening from here. As I write, the song From a Distance by Bette Midler runs through my head. Ironically this song is about peace and harmony. If you don’t remember it, it goes something like this:

From a distance the world looks blue and green
And the snow capped mountains white
From a distance the ocean meets the stream
And the eagle takes to flight

From a distance, there is harmony
And it echoes through the land
It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace
It’s the voice of every man

From a distance we all have enough
And no one is in need
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease
No hungry mouths to feed

From a distance we are instruments
Marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace
They’re the songs of every man

God is watching us, God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance

From a distance you look like my friend
Even though we are at war
From a distance I just cannot comprehend
What all this fighting for

From a distance there is harmony
And it echoes through the land
it’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves
It’s the heart of every man
(Every man)

It’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves
This is the song of every man

And God is watching us, God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance
Oh, God is watching us, God is watching
God is watching us from a distance

It is sad that these words don’t ring true at the moment. So today I prayed that Hashem watched over the souls of those who were killed and their families. I prayed that Hashem will grant them comfort, and as I do everyday, I pray that Hashem will grant Israel peace.

Until next time…
Allison

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Time Flies

It has been 4 months since we returned from Israel. A lot has been going on in that time, hence the reduction in blog posts. As I stated recently, I started a bunch of them but never got the time to finish them. I hope to do that soon since things feel a bit more under control at this point, but we will have to wait and see.

Rather than start with one of those posts, which are some of our reflections on returning to America, I thought you all would appreciate a general update on what has been keeping us so busy over the last few months. The short answer is work, but I don’t think you will find that answer satisfying.

The first month we returned was filled with family time and moving. Even though we had our apartment as of July 1st, when we arrived in America on July 6th, we decided to use those first few weeks to be with family. We stayed with our respective parents which gave them lots of Adina time and helped us get reoriented. Adam started work at the college before we even left Israel, so he had to hit the ground running. I knew that I had a time limit given that school was set to start at the end of August so I tried to use as much of that time as I could to deal with paperwork, etc. Then it was time to move into our apartment.

At this point we had our first readjustment issue. We scheduled a mover to help us take our stuff out of storage for a Monday, and they told us that they would call to confirm the day before to set a time. The Sunday before we waited to hear from them, but no call came. We tried to call but no one answered. On Monday, we contacted them and they told us that they tried to call on Friday but our voice mail wasn’t set up so they weren’t going to be able to come. We forgot that Sunday isn’t a work day here. When they said the day before, they meant one business day before which was Friday. Oops! They said they would try to squeeze it in, but we decided to get a Uhaul and do it ourselves. It actually took one week, two Uhaul trucks and one Uhaul van to get it all into the apartment, but we did it! With help of course. Adam’s dad gave us a hand which was fantastic, and the last truck load we hired moving helpers who did most of the work. We did a lot of it though, which made us feel pretty accomplished. Moving is exhausting!

With boxes everywhere we entered the month of August. The chaos of it all drove me crazy so I tried to use nap times and bedtime to unpack as much as I could. Adina loved all the boxes though. She liked taking things out of boxes, put things into boxes, and climbing on boxes. Her favorite game was to rip the labels off the boxes which made it more difficult to know what we were unpacking. With assistance from my mom, we got the house pretty much set up so that it was liveable within a few weeks. There are still boxes that we have to unpack even at this point, but we are pretty much settled. Those will get unpacked as the need arises.

August was filled with family time as well. Adina turned one and experienced her first piece of cake. She enjoyed the experience very much! She also started walking which was amazing to see. Now she is an experienced walker. Adam had a conference for a week toward the end of August, and I had to go to new teacher orientation for Southington so that was really the beginning of the stress. In case you didn’t know, I got a part-time teaching job where I was working before we moved to Israel. Even after 5 years teaching there, they said I had to go to new teacher orientation. So I went and Adina stayed with my mom. It was good practice for daycare! We made it through!

School started the next week as well as daycare. Adina loves daycare and did fantastic those first few days. It was much harder for us to deal with her going than it was for her. The ease at which she transitioned made it concrete that she is growing up so fast. I had the song “Let it go” running through my head a lot in the beginning of the school year. I had to let go of my baby girl a bit as she became a toddler. She continues to grow and develop. It is very clear that she understands a lot more and now she points and says a few words. She has opinions which she gladly states in her own way. Adam and I are slowly learning to speak Adina. Wonderfully, she continues to be her easy-going, happy self. Everyday is a wonderful adventure with her!

School started for Adam right after Labor day. He works long days and has a long commute. I work less than I used to but still find my days filled with planning and grading. It is amazing how full time part-time teaching can be. The days are long for me too, but as always we get through them. September and October was filled with holidays and simchas which gave us lots of family time. The holidays made work pretty stressful but we survived. (More on that in another post.) Now we have finally recovered from the holidays and have seemed to found our routine. The days are still long but we are figuring out how to balance it all.

We still miss Israel a lot and are still working to stay connected while we put down roots here. As we settle in we are starting to see how much we have been changed by our experience in Israel. We are definitely not the same people as we were before we left. For better, I think, since our perspectives are a bit more diverse now.

So that’s our life in a nutshell. More to come on our reflections on settling back down in America!

Until next time…
Allison

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Thanks for Your Patience!

A few posts ago, I proudly stated that we would be continuing this blog as we resettle in America. And then…silence. I had every intention of being diligent and in fact, I have started 3 or 4 blog posts in the last few months, but every time I sit down to write, I realize that there are other more pressing things to do, such as grading, planning, and chasing after a fully mobile (walking) Adina. So they sit and wait to be written. They sit and wait to be published. Hopefully soon.

The past three months have been a whirlwind. With unpacking, getting ready for the school year, adjusting to new routines, figuring out daycare, spending time with family, and the usual insane loads of work that come with being an educator, we barely feel like we have had time to breathe most days. Don’t get me wrong, it is nothing that we can’t handle, it is just sometimes hard to find time to write down a lot of the reflections and emotions that we are experiencing right now. The day-to-day craziness not surprisingly takes precedence. Most days I am amazed at how well we kept up with the blog while in Israel since we felt equally busy. Where did the time come from? Why can’t we seem to find it now? Our hope, as we enter this new year, is to be better about keeping everyone updated about how we are doing and what we are experiencing as we continue our journey back in the US. Unfortunately, we need a few more weeks to get settled into our newest routine, which wonderfully is being disrupted by many three-day holidays. Ordered chaos will eventually return to the Gamzon household, and then we will have time to write.

Until then, we want you to know that we are all doing well although two out of three of us are a bit (otherwise known as very) sleep deprived. I bet you can’t guess which two! To all our friends in Israel, please know that miss you so much and that we feel terrible that we haven’t been able to keep a steady communication going with you all. We think about you all the time and wish we could see you and spend time with you. To all of our friends and family in the US, we feel blessed to be so close to you all and to have the opportunity to see you more frequently. For those we still need to see, we have high hopes to get together sooner rather than later. We just need a little more time to get things together.

Thank you for your patience!

Until next time…
Allison

By the way, Adina says hello. Here she is standing tall and proud after her first chocolate, covered pretzel courtesy of the Crown Market.

IMG_3780

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Possibilities

I know for a fact that Adam’s most recent post has shocked many of our friends and family. He wrote strong words about his commitment to Israel and his want to make aliyah because as we transition back to the US, these are the feelings that overwhelm him. Since our return, we have spent a lot of time discussing how we are feeling, and while those discussions have helped Adam sort through his conflicting emotions, he didn’t feel better until he shared that post. He didn’t mean to raise concerns that we are headed back to Israel in the immediate future. We are not making aliyah right now, nor do we plan to any time soon. We need to be with our family.

I have always highlighted the difference between wants and needs in my classes. It is often challenging to differentiate between the two, especially when you are a fourteen year old kid in Earth Science class. Do you want a new pair of shoes or do you need them? Do you want a car to drive your friends to school when you live a block a way or do you need it? Part of living a more sustainable life is taking the time to distinguish between want and need to make sure that you aren’t wasting resources on things that are not necessary in your life. It is a good lesson to teach and a good lesson to follow.

One thing that I never talk about in these discussions is the importance of want. The things we want are important when it comes to making decisions, even if you may never get it. For example, I want to get my Ph.D at some point in time. Will it happen? Maybe. There are lots of other considerations that will determine whether or not this want will ever come to fruition. Yet, as long as I want it, Adam and I will make decisions that will always keep my return to higher education a possibility. If I didn’t want to go back, then our decisions wouldn’t take that into account, and most likely the possibility of me going back to school would disappear.

So by having wants, which can in larger cases be called dreams, our lives take a certain path even if we never achieve them. By having wants, doors remain open. We create possibilities for ourselves. Our wants are important even though our needs must outweigh them in many cases.

The want to make aliyah doesn’t mean that we will make aliyah. It just means that the choices we make as we settle back in the US will help us maintain the possibility if we ever want it some time way, way, way, way far down the road. These choices include maintaining the connection we built during our Fulbright adventure, which is achieved through visits to Israel, trying to learn more conversational Hebrew, and most importantly, maintaining the friendships we created while living in Israel. It is always important to remember that just because there is a want, doesn’t mean that it will happen. We have many things to consider and those considerations will constantly change over time. Major life decisions are never easy to make, and we certainly don’t make them on a whim.

Until next time…
Allison

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment