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!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Kaboom!! Blam! Pow!

Yes, the roommate and I had it out. Majorly. I will preface this little tale by stating that I won. Unequivocably. Hands down. He retreated in defeat and I do mean retreat --as in get your crud outta here. And it is going with him along with it.

This is how the shakedown happened:

I woke up this morning and he was already gone. Still nothing packed at all. Not a single box. I started stressing and grousing and decided to call a friend of mine who is a lawyer to see what my legal options are (can I put his stuff on the street and change the locks?). Left a message but he was not at home. Then Michelle started looking up the legal information online and we were not happy with what we were seeing. Basically, it looked to us like it could take not only several weeks but perhaps even several _months_ before he could be forced from the apartment. I was seriously starting to panick.

Then I had the brilliant idea (if I do say so myself) of calling my slum landlord and asking him if he knew what legal options I have if my roommate refused to move out on Monday. Weeeelllllllll. Bill the landlord answered my somewhat frantic question about what to do with a refusing-to-leave roommate by saying, "Aylam called me earlier this week and told me he is your boyfriend and that he wants to continue the lease after you leave." I was like WHAT? First, where does he get off telling someone he is my boyfriend (hey I may not be able to pick 'em but at least I pick 'em a damn sight better than that!). And second if he can afford to pay 3 times what he is currently paying then he could certainly have afforded to pay his full share of the rent all these months not to mention a full half (rather than a 1/3rd) of the electric and only 1/8th of the dsl. My personal feeling is that he was planning to tell Bill he would take on the lease in September but use this month to find a place and at the last minute tell the slumlord he'd changed his mind. But I also think (and have been thinking for about the last month and a bit) that he has a lot more financial resources than he's let on as well.

I set Bill straight about the boyfriend bit and said, this is interesting because I've been telling him he needed to move out since April and gave him until June 15th. Then because he had an "emergency" (found out it was a well-planned 2 week vacation only after the fact) that he had to go home for I had extended his exodus date until Aug 1st, with a very firm (as in daily reminder) _you must be out out out_ by then at the latest. I also told Bill that he had physically threatened me not long ago when I demanded that he pay on the bills again and gave him only a tiny bit of history on the guy. Bill was like, "really? And he's not your boyfriend?" No way Jose!

So Bill said to tell him to get the hell out and to be out within 48 hours and that if he called him (Bill) he'd tell him the same and that I was fully within my legal rights to do so. He further said that if I had any problems at all, even an inkling of one with the roommate over this, to call him and he'd have the police over to forcibly remove him within 15 minutes. The man may not have doors fixed and so forth but he was highly incensed that a guy could act like this toward a girl. I'll forgive him for the broken door.

Minutes after I hung up, Aylam came home and I asked him what time he would be moving out so that I could plan to be here to supervise the cats. He then smugly informed me that he wasn't moving and that he had talked to Bill and was going to take over the lease in September but would be glad to pay me the 1/3rd of the rent for August as usual or not but he was staying. I said, excuse me, but no. You are going to be out on the 1st. Period, the end. If you want to take over the lease in September fine, move back in then but you are moving out now. That _I'd_ talked to Bill and that he had to be out.

You can imagine the scene that followed. He tried every manipulative argument he could (oh you can see how hard I've tried to find a place, I'm working my ass off and can't find one. Just look at these reams of papers showing all the places I've looked --yes, in the last one week and nothing prior to that, I pointed out. I also pointed out he _had_ found places but they didn't come up to his standards. "But I can't take that one place, it had low ceilings and I'm claustrophobic" --WHAT??! I swear to G-d I nearly fell over laughing at that one). "I can't afford anything that is out there" (so how to you expect to take over a lease that is 3x what you are paying now?), that he has to work fulltime and is in a play that opens in just one month (poor baby, not my problem. You had plenty of time and plenty of warning).

I pointed out that he has had since April to find a place and he was like, "but you can't start looking for a place in April to rent for August!" Yes, quite true, I agreed, but you were supposed to be finding a place for JUNE. He kept saying, why are you suddenly being so mean, and "I know you are not a greedy person, why are acting like this," (after I pointed out that he has stiffed me repeatedly and I wanted him out and that he wasn't going to jeopardize my deposit). He offered to pay me, suddenly and immediately, half the electric and a full half of the rent for the whole summer --hmm, so how do you have this money available all of a sudden? He tried to guilt me by saying how could I do this after his parents had been so nice to me and so on and so on.

I was like, look Buddy, when you threatened to harm me you passed the point of no return and then some as far as my being nice or sympathetic or anything else. Get the hell out.

I think if Michelle and my friend Chanel had not been here (lucky they were) he would have become physically violent (and hence I would not have confronted him without having either Bill or the cops here waiting). But since they were, he controlled himself with difficulty.

I gave him the final ultimatum and then said come on girls, we're going out. We left in such a rush I didn't even brush my hair and it was a rat's nest. I figured he would call Bill before we hit the bottom of the stairs and so waited 15 minutes before I called Bill myself. I was right, Bill said Aylam had called and tried to weasel his way into staying despite not even being on the lease and Bill had told him to be OUT.

The girls kept saying, My G-d, you were so mean you were awesome! Our little Katie really stood up for herself and didn't back down a bit! Michelle had stood right next to me the whole time I was listening to his bullsh*t and responding but didn't say a word. She said she was there ready to jump in and jump all over him if I looked like I needed back-up but that there was so no need. I was shaking all over from the adrenalin rush when we finally sat down in a restaurant.

We stayed away until just a little while ago and when we got home we saw that he has been packing like mad with sealed boxes piled high. YES. Good riddence.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Pant, pant, pant. Whew ran around today much more than I thought I would doing a lot of basic things, like bringing books back to the library. I went all over trying to find this stuff called "Dryel" that is supposed to be this marvelous "dry-clean your dry-cleanables yourself in a dryer" stuff. We'll see. I have a ton of things that need to go to the cleaners before being shipped and would definitely rather do it fast (and cheaply) myself. Tomorrow morning I have a date with a laundromat.

I'm at that point in the packing where it seems like I did a lot and then I look around and go, good l-rd, did a single thing move? Pretty much down to the zillions of little things, things that wouldn't fit in previous boxes, and still tons of papers to go through and decide if they are "toss," "file and pack" or "holy cow you need to take this exceedingly important document on the plane!"

The cats btw are noticing that things are moving. Buffy, my sweet little girl, has gone psychotic on me. She is peeing on the rug. Repeatedly. Yesterday and today. The living rooms smells ---well, it smells. The rug has been cleaned and cleaned and rolled up but it is too big to lean upright on the wall and so I suspect she is sneaking back in to, yep. Mischa too is noticing and becoming very cat-aggressive toward the girls. Pandy cries all the time. They seem to know that this is not a "move just across the city" packing up business. They've moved before and never acted like this.

The roommate situation is getting very worrisome. He still hasn't packed a box. Still hasn't found a place to move. He has 2 days. And has intimated that he just might not go. My name is on the lease, his is not. He has to go or I won't get my very hefty deposit back. He has to go. Must. I really do not want to descend into bad-person levels like wishing he'd get hit by a bus. Actually, hmmm if it were a taxi it might not be so bad? I will put his things on the street. I will do it. I'm moving to Israel damnit, he better not cross me now! :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Stress level is beginning to skyrocket again. Damn and so soon after my nice little weekend getaway. Left my apartment before noon to run and get records from doctors, meet with students, see the last of my crazy orthodontist here, and then to my hebrew class. I just got home about 20 minutes ago (just before 11).

Worried about finding an apartment. Actually, I'm even worried about finding out how to find an apartment. What areas to look in, do you really need a lawyer to check the lease (and if so, how do you find one of those --who speaks english). Where do you look for ads or is it better to go through a realtor?

Then we have the question of getting a cellphone --what's a good deal, which company is the most reliable. Nefesh sent some info along about some special deal they have with a cellphone company but, because I have nothing to compare it with, I wouldn't know if it is a good deal if it fell on me.

Worried about whether I'll be packed in time (of course). Worried about the two black beasts going cargo and how they will hold up. Hmm I had a list of at least 30 more things I was worrying about on the subway ride home. Glad, at least, to have misplaced those worries temporarily!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Fun things to do at midnight: Go out onto the streets of New York seeking a store that sells fly swatters. Then after you search for an hour and finally find them, buy a handful. Come home and proceed to spend the next 2 hours chasing down flies in your apartment. Don't stop until you have a body count of more than 100.

Yes, that is how Michelle and I spent our evening last night. We are inundated. Over-run. There are still at least 50 flying around this morning because they are spawning. Uggghhhh. I haven't bitched about my roommate in a long time and so I am over-due. The flies are his fault. The imbecile decided one day about a week ago that simply opening the window in the kitchen would make it cooler in the apartment rather than running the fan in the window (that he keeps turning off). The kitchen window has no screen. In the alley under the window is a large garbage collection point. Enter the flies. There were only about 30 of them when I got home that night and discovered the open window. The window was shut, I bitched, he argued, Michelle screamed, he finally agreed not to open the window again (which I strongly suspect he broke this past weekend because on Friday there were still around 30).

Imagine sitting down at your computer and within seconds there are at least 10 flies trying to land on you and the screen. Yuck, yuck, yuck!!!!

He still hasn't found an apartment. He has to be out of this apartment by the end of this weekend. He hasn't packed a box. I swear to G-d, on the 1st if he hasn't moved his crud out somewhere I am moving it out on the street and changing the locks.

Monday, July 25, 2005

What a lovely weekend! Sun, fun, shopping (of the window variety in my case), and air-conditioning. Doesn't get much better than that!

I got sunburned. Of course. And yes, Savta Dotty I did remember to bring my sunscreen! LOL, I just forgot to apply it to my feets! Ouch :) It is actually pretty funny looking because you can see the nice white extending down along the top of my ankle in little finger trails where I got the sunscreen and then little trails of bright red where I didn't, extending into bright RED on the top of the feet. Got a bad bathing suit line too on my chest and arms where the sunscreen came off while I was swimming and splashing about. Yes, it was so hot that I ventured into the freezing water (I had no idea that water on the east coast is nearly as cold as water on the west coast. I'm a southern gulf-coast girl and am used to my ocean being like a bathtub darnit!). --Note to my mother if you're dsl is in and you are reading this, there was a lifeguard and I didn't go out over my head. LOL.

I slept. Ohhhh lovely, lovely uninterrupted sleep from midnight until 9 a.m. in frosty cold air-conditioned air. I am back more relaxed and more on a normal schedule now. We had to come back early yesterday morning because my friend got called back to see patients (the poor man was plagued by calls from them all weekend and at all hours of the day and night and was very frustrated because we came back ahead of time for something that he said turned out to be "so not an emergency").

I have a fun souvenir shirt from the Hamptons now that Buzz got me at a little store along the main street: it says "Hebrew School Drop-Out" on it. Giggle. I'm wearing it to my hebrew class tomorrow night :) I have some pictures I might post up later.

Today: back to your regularly scheduled packing (and heat!)

Friday, July 22, 2005

I'm going to the Hamptons for the weekend, Dahling. This will be my first time. My friend Buzz, who goes regularly and has a summer house there for weekends, called tonight and asked if I'd like to get away to the beach. Ohhhhhhh yes! The words, "the house has air-conditioning" were the magic ones, although beaches of any size, shape or description are instant magnets for me. Other friends, Michelle and maybe Sonia, will also come along.

Tried on the bathing suit I got a couple of years ago. Well, I've definitely gained some significant weight. It used to be big on me with my stomach looking concave (I was too skinny then) and now, while it theoretically fits, I look, as was helpfully and honestly pointed out "like you're in your second trimester --when's it due again?" So much for the two piece. Damn thing is orange anyway. I'm hoping one of the one-pieces will not be such a disaster but I don't plan to try either of them on beforehand in case they are. If they are and I haven't, the lure of the beach will overcome any vanity that is lingering and I'll just avoid any mirrors :) Ignorance in this case = beach bliss. It certainly doesn't help that I'm hanging out with a man who would consider the 60s (70s?) model Twiggy to be seriously overweight.

Rocked on the packing yesterday, despite the heat. Got 5 more boxes packed and two big bags of papers recycled from my filing/packing/sorting efforts. My goal is that by the end of next week there will be nothing unpacked in my apartment outside of what I am shoving in my two allotted suitcases and the glassware that the movers will pack themselves.

Monday, July 18, 2005

A wee science experiment:

Take a two-liter bottle and fill it with water. Put it into your freezer until the water is frozen completely solid. Then remove the frozen bottle and place on a desk in your house or apartment at 3:40 a.m. Do not touch it after that. How long does it take for the ice in the bottle to completely melt and the bottle to become lukewarm?

In my house: approximately 50 minutes (error of plus or minus 2 minutes).

In another experiment I discovered that it is definitely the heat that is making me feel so ill. I took a break from working on syllabus #2 (I finished and sent the first one off, thank g-d) because there was a fire down the street and our electricity went out or got turned off as a result. Nice forced break :) We went to a nice cool restaurant and after an hour in the cool I started to feel immensely better --so much so that I got ravenous and actually consumed food and felt just fine and happy. That is, until I got home and walked into the furnace, oh, I mean my apartment. Happily the electricity was back on. Unhappily, within two hours I was minus one dinner. Now, even with the heat that rapidly melts a large, frozen block of ice, it is cool in comparison to earlier and I am feeling well enough to work on syllabus #2 again. It is going to be a day late (Israel is like half a day ahead timewise) but can't be helped.

Ok, when I get to Israel I plan to live roommateless (levad, levad!) and with an airconditioner or two or three... Note to self: find jobs #2 and 3 to afford roommateless, airconditioned paradise.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

I hate being sick and of all the kinds of feeling sick I hate the most, nausea is the worst. Two full days now of unrelenting yuckiness. I can't function like this. I haven't been able to work. I tried working on the syllabi all day yesterday but everytime I sat at the computer for more than 10 minutes I found myself needing to lie back down again. Lying down is not much better than sitting up, however. I don't know if I have picked up a summer virus or if it is just the unrelenting heat. Maybe it is the news I'm reading. Oh oy.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is definitely worth giving a miss. I like Johnny Depp but I'm not wild about Michael Jackson and basically it was like watching an almost more creeped-out version of Jackson than already exists for the length of the film. Not impressed. Rent it if ya gotta see it.

My night and daytime schedules have really gotten turned upside down. I'm something of an insomniac at any rate but the incredible heat in my apartment has furthered that along exponentially. Basically it is too hot to even think about trying to sleep before about 4:30 a.m. at the very earliest. This puts me into either complete sleep deprivation if I get up at a normal time (like at 8) or, I'm sleeping in later and waking up to air that feels like a blow-dryer on high (the fan blowing hot air about) and that you could stand a popsicle stick up straight in, which results in that awful, muzzy, slept-too-late feeling. Plus, if you sleep later then you have wasted a huge part of your useable day (forget getting all those errands in!). Unfortunately, the latter has been happening more often than not this week.

I had planned to go in early tomorrow and completely or almost completely pack my office (I've already done one of the four lab rooms and half of the project room). I got an email, however, asking that I send along very detailed syllabi and bibliographies to the IDC for the two classes I'll be teaching. They need them by Sunday so tomorrow everything gets put on hold while I put those together.

Hmm, haloscan really seems to be having problems lately. I just noticed that it is saying that there are zero comments on all my posts again but the comments are there when you click on it.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

One month. Just one month. 34 little days. That's all I ask, and I don't think it is too much to ask, but, obviously, it is and was. My little cellphone has gone to wherever faulty electronic devices go prior to my pitching them out of second storey windows. UGGGHHH. So now I have no phone at all. I will have one in a week when the one I ordered from virgin something-or-other (also known as 'we have super cheap phone and no contract place) arrives. I need a phone darn it.

My cat Buffy is totally and completely healthy. I paid $125 today to be told that, "you just brought in a totally healthy cat who only appeared to your over-concerned mother's eye to be on the verge of possible death." Well let me tell you madame vet, prior to arriving at the vet hospital she did a good imitation of being on death's door. Her symptoms tell it all: Very hot and very dry nose (yes, I know it is nearly 100 F in my apt but still), lethargy, getting under the bed (possibly because Michelle and I kept trying to touch said hot and dry nose to see errr if it was still hot and dry), not eating much and womiting what she et. Well and last night womiting something that looked like it might be blood --but turns out it was just the laxatone I had given her a couple hours before. And, to top it all off, when I attempted to palpitate her tummy she, in a most un-Buffy-like way, wreeoooolllled and tried to bite me.

She didn't wreeoll or bite when the vet palpitated her tummy. She was the model of decorum. However, when the vet took her temp she bit the living crap out of my hand. Twice. Chomp, chomp. It was give-backs for the cross-town cab ride from hell. Even Michelle was looking green from that journey.

The bright spot was that at the vet hospital I met a nice Israeli woman with a really terrific cat aptly named Tiger (looked exactly like a miniature tiger!) who was 20 years old and who had been 25 pounds until quite recently (BIG cat but not a fat one). Recognizing the accent, as we both stood waiting for our darlings to be called in, I complimented her cat and asked her b'ivrit where she was from. Took her a second and then she asked, "b'eretz?" I nodded cheerfully and she told me and then asked, "ve at?" So I told her well here but that I am making aliyah in august and she smiled and said, "really? I thought you were already israelit." Whheeeeeeeeeeee :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

"The largest number of North American new immigrants ever to arrive in a single day touched down at Ben-Gurion Airport on Wednesday morning, as some 500 Jews from the United States and Canada emerged almost
simultaneously from two chartered El Al airplanes to begin their new lives in Israel" Read all about it!.

34 more days til it is "me too!"

Netanya. We knew it couldn't last, wouldn't last, the respite in the senseless attacks. I think we all have known deep down that pulling out from Gaza will not result in peace. But I think that all of us, even those who are firmly anti-disengagement, still had hopes that if we go forward with the pullout that maybe, maybe there will be a chance for it. I feel so very sad.

I did find something to celebrate though and I have gone back several times today just to look at this beautiful little muffin -- Baby Boy Ellis just entered the world and will soon be an aliyah baby. Mazel tov to the Ellis family!

In other news, my mother informed me that she has started to attend services at a reform synagogue and has signed up for hebrew classes that will begin this fall. Thud. Ya coulda knocked me down with a feather. Why is she doing this? She is thinking Aliyah. Thud.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Oh. G-d. Stop the music. The Christian music that is. Last night I spent a good one hour frantically trying to get "Ri-ise, and shi-ine, and give G-d your glory glory" out of my mind so that I could go to sleep. I wasn't counting sheep but rather an entire zoo --"the animals they ca-ame, they came in by twosies twosies." Now it is back. Tormenting me. Michelle's life is going to be in danger if it doesn't go away. She has been singing that damn song for a week to her boyfriend on the phone, making him and me both insane. That is, of course, why she is singing it. He can hang up, I have no escape! I thought about singing her some hebrew summer camp songs in revenge but it wouldn't quite have the same effect since a foreign language is not going to get stuck in her tiny little brain and keep her awake nights. Of course, the sound of my singing might just make her leap from the window...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

My thoughts and best wishes are going out to the people of London and the UK. Those who conducted these despiscable acts are really the absolute dregs of humanity. London rocked by terrorist explosions. I can't collect my thoughts.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Happy July 4th everyone! This is my first independence day in the States in 8 years and so in honour of the occasion I not only took pics but learned (I hope) how to upload them. If you click on the pic you should get a larger image :)

The fantastic fireworks display as seen from the rooftop of my friend Buzz's apartment building.

Me and Michelle (Euuwww those braces just have got to go!)

Fulfilling Savta Dotty's request, here is a pic of the super ugly blanket-to-be (it does look like a skirt!) with my cat Buffy beind the chair. She is trying to look like she isn't sitting on the yellow yarn ball she knocked off and attacked but nobody's buying it Buffy girl :)

And, not to be left out, here is Mischa (on the left) and Pandy, my two fat, black monsters :)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Gooooooooo Sabra and Banana!! They have arrived safely and Sabra's put up a post about her arrival experience. Wish I was there to bring her some chicken soup but, on second thought, since I can't cook to save my life any soup I brought her might just do her in completely!

Shoshanna is just an amazingly kewl person. She is the fellow olah-to-be that I met with yesterday. Two hours of constant chatting went by in a flash and we suddenly looked at the time and realized that I was going to be late for my hebrew class and so I had to fly. Making aliya gives you something in common to talk about but I had no idea just how much in common we shared. We are both very liberal left-leaning kinda gals and one of the most interesting components of our conversation was sharing our shock and disbelief (leading to a sense of disillusionment and alienation) at the position taken by the left in general and our many left-leaning friends in particular on the whole Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Shoshanna made a very interesting point, as we were discussing how it could be that these normally intelligent and informed people had come to have such slanted views that are not based on actual facts. Indeed, they have no real knowledge or understanding of the hard facts --I'm not talking about anything that is open to interpretation here. I often want to scream "look people, go and read the U.N. resolution, the newspaper articles (on both sides) etc that were written at the time and before Israel was declared a nation." Rather they spout off various revisionist-versions and often have absolutely no clue of even the most basic facts(for instance, we both know very educated people who are convinced that the Palestinians actually had an official world-recognized country right where Israel is sitting and that their country was taken away by force). Well, to get back to her interesting point, she mentioned how she once received two very long, detailed and complex pieces of literature on a particular topic: one from a major corporation and another from the environmental group that was opposing that corporation. Because she made the immediate assumption that the environmental group would have all of the 'real facts' she read theirs closely and didn't even bother to read the literature on the subject from the corporation (assuming that it would be completely biased, based on lies, pushing their own agenda, and thus completely without merit). Then, at the time, she considered herself to have made an informed opinion on the issue. At the time, she didn't consider that the environmental group might be doing the same thing in their presentation of the 'facts' or that the truth might lie somewhere in-between, or that the corporation might actually be right in this particular instance --she couldn't know because she didn't bother to read the other side's position or to do any independent research on the issue. This, I think is what all too often happens.