Step-by-Step: Making Aliyah to Israel

Documenting the very personal process of making Aliyah (immigration to Israel) by one very atypical Israeli-American girl. Aliyah on 17, August, 2005. Roadmap: What do you mean there's no roadmap?! Hang on, we're in for a bumpy ride! Ole!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

B'Bayit!!!

I'm here! I'm half dead but here :) Everything went really smoothly. Nefesh B'Nefesh did a really fantastic job of streamlining everything. Check-in went like a breeze. The kitties did just fine in cargo. Once on th plane I fell into a deep sleep about two hours after take-off. I was awoken by the woman who was there to fill out the name-change papers --I think, but am not sure because I was so out of it when she woke me up, that I mispelled my new name. I have to call tomorrow and find out. Yikes. They served dinner right afterwards and then I dozed fitfully the rest of the night (having a cat where your feet should be leaves something to be desired for comfort in an already tightly packed space!). The plane was completely full of olim and that was a really neat feeling.

When we landed and I walked off the plane I had this incredible and indescribable feeling. Partly it was still a sense of disbelief --I'm really here?! Partly it was happiness and a sense of rightness, a YES. And partly it was a sense of dear G-d what am I doing, am I up to this? I wanted to hug just about everyone I saw and I wanted to hug all those dear to me I left behind.

Everything went very smoothly on this end too. We went with buses from the plane to the old terminal where they had a ceremony for us that was very nice. The one exception was when one of the speakers was talking (he said, "Perhaps if you had come sooner we would not be pulling out of Gaza") and a few other things about the pullout and several people in the crowd (don't know if they were guests or new olim) yelled and booed at him. One guy sitting on the same row with me kept yelling insults loudly at the guy the entire time he was on the platform. I wanted to throttle him because I couldn't hear what was being said and it was just plain rude.

Then it was upstairs to get all my paperwork done and be handed the first installment of my sal klita. I have to pick up my teudat zehut in Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon. Then I collected my luggage and went to wait for the cab that was coming for me. It was a long wait (about an hour). My cats were a very big hit with all the children from the flight and of the guests. I got a bunch of pictures of various groups of kids talking to the cats. I got interviewed by a reporter (oy no telling what I said in my jet-lagged state!) before the ceremony started but I was so tired I didn't ask which organization she was with.

I rode in the cab with another olim -a really nice guy of American-korean descent! His hebrew was incredible. Me, I am sticking with english at the moment because when people speak to me b'ivrit my brain is not processing it at all. I just look at them blankly and think oh my, what? Well, I'm barely thinking in English at the moment.

The hotel did not have me in the reservation book. I had to pull up my gmail account and show him. Thankfully there was a room available but I had to wait until 2 pm to get into it --about 3 hours from when I hit the hotel. The room is tiny and the cats are required to stay in the bathroom. LOl, they barely fit in there. When I finally got into the room I fell into bed and slept for 4 and a half hours. I can see the beach from my balcony. It is hot though, with no airconditioning. Heh, used to that though!

I only just ventured out to get a kitty litter scoop, something to have to drink in the hotel tonight --diet coke! --because I feel extremely dehydrated. My fingers and feet are swollen up like little sausages as usual after a long flight from retaining fluids and yet I always am so very thirsty after flying. I haven't eaten yet today. I need to call Allison :) My phone confuses me -it took me 10 minutes to figure out how to turn it on, heh. And there are all these unmarked buttons that I have no idea what they do. I did finally figure out the 'send' button when I was at the hotel and called Buzz to let him know I was there and safe. He, such a sweetheart, called me back to wake me up from my crash-out because I have no idea where I put the alarm clock --which bag and where?

Tomorrow, first thing, I have got to start looking for an apartment! I need to get a bank account too --don't have any idea what bank I should open one with.

I walked to the net cafe on Dizengoff that I used in November (where I am now) and was just overwhelmed as I walked along. I'm not a visitor anymore. This is my city, my home!! It looks the same as the last time I was here, it feels so different.

Wow, I'm here. Crazy but here :)

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