As we reach our last two weeks, people have begun to ask us how we feel about our time in Israel. These questions have made both Adam and I reflect on our time here and assess how we feel about the past two years. Thinking about all the things we have done, we have very few regrets.
In terms of Adam’s position, things were successful. He has two papers that were accepted for publication, and a third one in progress that he is working on with a colleague. He has met some amazing mathematicians, one of which he is working with on another project. We are also great friends with this colleague’s wife, so the working relationship will help us maintain our friendship as well.
In terms of my work, I really loved what I did while in Israel. For someone who came to Israel expecting to sit on the couch counting down the 22 months until we left, I didn’t have too much downtime. Babysitting was wonderful, not only because I got to play with two amazing and adorable children, but because we formed a deep connection with the family. Even though I stopped babysitting when Adina was born, we still have visited with them for Shabbat and Passover. One of my regrets is that we won’t get to see them more before we leave Israel. Life is busy for every one, but we hope to see them whenever they visit the US and whenever we visit Israel. Plus with technology, we will hopefully get to see each other despite the distance.
And then there is TRY…there is too much to say about how much TRY has meant to me and how much it has changed my life for this post. It is special enough to get its own…so stay tuned.
Other successes…I have a connection to Israel that I never really felt before. It is part of my life now and always will be. While in Israel, missing my family has always made me feel like my heart is in two places. When we first arrived, I assumed that when we returned to the US, my heart would feel whole again. That just won’t be the case, however. Leaving behind this amazing country and all the wonderful people that we have met, my heart will always be divided.
We also feel successful in our Fulbright mission to interact with people in Israel. We have made so many friends here and our presence has obviously affected their lives a small bit since there is a constant feeling of guilt for leaving. We are thankful that so many people were willing to get to know us even though they knew we were temporary. With Facebook, Skype, visits to the US for them, and visits to Israel for us, we hope to continue strengthening these relationships. 🙂
And of course, our greatest success is Adina. She is growing well and has made even more friends than we have. How can anyone resist her adorable face? Not only have we been able to be decent parents without the help of our families, but we were able to get through pregnancy, birth, and the first year of our baby’s life in a foreign country. Even though Israel is so comfortable for us, it is still difficult to navigate the health care system, especially when you are not a citizen on the national health plan.
So what about our regrets? Both Adam and I have the same regret, which is that we did not learn Hebrew as well as we wanted. Both of us have improved greatly from when we arrived, but there are many days were it seems so challenging because we don’t have a strong command of the language. We had to make a choice between our work and studying Hebrew. Studying a new language takes a large amount of time and if you don’t make aliyah, it is pretty expensive. Neither of us regret our decision to put work ahead of ulpan, but we wish we could have spent more time learning Hebrew. We hope to use free time and future visits to improve since it is important to us to learn the language better.
We feel so blessed to leave Israel with so few regrets.
Until next time…