Monday, 13 July 2015

One year on...

Well here I am, one year on. It's my official aliyaversary - as of today, I've been here a year! And what better way to celebrate than with my take on the nonevent recent Gaza 'flotilla'?

I remember how I felt at this point last year, sitting in my parents' kitchen and drafting the post that would become 'All Loose Ends Tied'. I was feeling so excited, and terrified, and certain, but also sad at what I'd be leaving behind, my friends, my dogs, my cat and more. I did with sorting out these hangers.

It was difficult, making aliya, not to mention making aliya in the middle of a war. Yet here I am, on the other side having battled and won against hitherto unknown entities, like the Misrad Hapnim (Interior Ministry), Iriya (local council), the Doar (the Post Office) and the Misrad Harishui (Licensing Ministry) - and got through it intact.

 I've managed to settle myself down not once, not twice, but soon to be three times - in three different cities. I've fended for myself and battled my way to the top when the circumstances (and some people, let's face it) have tried to prevent me or take advantage of me.

Tigger the kitty
Meshugana the beautiful
I'm the happiest I've ever been - finally, I feel that that hole I had always felt, but not really understood back in England has been filled! - and have everything I never thought possible. I really did it, and made it - I live my life partially in another language, in the one place I've always felt was the dearest to my heart, if not the most comfortable or easy of places. I've met some wonderful people, alongside the bad, and even picked up not one, but two kitties - Meshugana and Tigger, one of my foster babies who we've decided to keep.

Yes, life can be scary here - I still run whenever I hear alarms, thanks to the azakot of last summer - al-Nusra is knocking on the northern border, while ISIS await in the south, with Hezbollah and Hamas, and a million other lunatics besides surround us - but which country can't say the same of such an insidious threat? At least here we all know where we stand.

Going back to my old self one year ago, sitting in my parent's kitchen, waiting for Daisy, Imran and Shane to bring the pizza over, I wonder, if my present, one-year-older-self walked in and sat down, and told Past Fliss all about the horrors of the ulpan (which come to think of it now, boils down to a bad group of people, disgusting living conditions and boredom), the mysterious machinations of the Doar, what would be awaiting her with Sigal, or about the amounts of cats that she would see die (sometimes while holding them), would she still want to get on that plane (which would end up circling over Ben Gurion airport for quite some time, due to rocket fire) and change her life forever? Would she go for it?

Past Fliss would laugh nervously but still do it. Present Fliss would not only do it all again ten times over, but do it even better, just to feel a piece of what I feel now.

It takes a lot of balls, guts and more to want to change your life, and even more to change yourself as a person. Moving to Israel, I've done both, and in such a short space of time.

Because I am a different person, and July 13th will always be one of the most important days in my personal calendar, more so than my birthday. It's the day that I finally became who I am, and getting nearer to who I always wanted to be.

Yes, my hair doesn't remember how to be straight or flat; I've developed a disgusting habit of talking with my mouth full of food; right now I'm stressed off my face, which incidentally is covered in insect bites. I went to two iriyot (local councils) back to back last week, when I also had a massive and last minute work project. Two of the cats I was fostering needed urgent and very expensive vet treatments, and went to a new home to recover and be nurtured, as I work long hours and didn't have the time to look after them properly. On top of all that, I'm moving, which is a whole other subject in itself.

But it's still all worth it, just to be here, and be doing what I'm doing, with the people (and cats) I'm doing it with. Had I stayed in London one more year, it wouldn't have been...pretty. In fact, it would have been pretty damn awful.

Happy one year aliyaversary to me. And here's to many, many more!

...many, many more with this naughty kitty, at any rate.