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.
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
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…
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!