Sunday, September 27, 2009

Coming up on Y"K

Coming up on Yom Kippur.
Last year I thought the chagim were going to be the last ones here before I moved. Turns out I'm here still.

I know why I'm moving. Because my eyes tear up every time I see a video of Israel, I feel like I should be there.

I'm sort of dreading leaving. I'm excited, as we all know, but I also know that it's going to be hard at the airport, and I'm (most likely) going to be crying and so will my parents and Lis-- Lis, kind of ish. I don't know if my Bubby and Zaidy will be able to come. Andrea and Yoni and Squishy will be in Israel-- and will be getting ready for the wedding when I get in and therefore will not be coming to the airport to greet me. Rita and Dov and I'm not sure who else are coming, maybe also Oren and Tanya. Don't know who else. It's going to be more emotional on the NY side probably. I'll be choked up when I get there, but I don't think the full impact of making aliyah is going to hit me until I have my teudat zehut and am doing all sort of day-to-day things that I use my teudat zehut for.
It's almost 3 months until I leave. Three months and 3 days, if you look at the calendar, but that doesn't take into account flight times and such. But I'm calling just about 3 months.

I feel like I should be more...I don't know...feel more something. I'm excited, but it feels tempered, like I'm at the anti-climax almost. Like there should be more of an overt excitement. It's's been a long time coming and it's been a long journey, even though the decision to make aliyah came about 15 months ago.

I don't know...I just...I feel like this should be some huge deal, and I should be really excited about it, even 3 months in advance. It's only 3 months, after all, and I am moving across an ocean.

Maybe as it gets closer I'm becoming more aware of the full impact this is having and is going to have on my family here. Andrea said to me today that she looks forward to talking to me an hour or two before Shabbos. I told her that we can still speak to each other erev Shabbos, and she said we can, but it won't be the same. It's true.

There's a lot that I'm going to miss-- my family and friends and all the "little things." It's calling an hour or two before Shabbos. It's talking every day. It's being able to just...take a bus or train to see my family and friends. Calling my Bubby and Zaidy and having to try all 3 numbers before I get them, followed by my Zaidy going, "I'm in the middle of __________. Can you call me back later?" I might not be able to do that any more. It's going to take a lot more coordination to be able to talk to them. Right now I use so many Verizon minutes; I won't be doing that when I'm in Israel. There's a time difference. My non-grandparents family will be easier to coordinate. But there will still be that time difference and it's going to be hard. And Fat Tush. I might have to fly out to Chicago for, literally, a day to say bye to her. I miss her. I need to get a dog when I'm there. My parents, Andrea (Yoni, Squishy), Elissa-- I don't even want to think about it. Lis and I get crazy when we haven't seen each other for a week, let alone 6+ months. And when I don't come back for a year or more? Um... My parents. I'm going to miss them. My mom is kind of funny about this. Not funny-haha, but funny-odd. She wants me to stop thinking/talking about raiding the kitchen-- but then she says, "Oh, here, do you want this?" She tells people on the phone, "I don't want her to go alone; it's going to be lonely, but what can I do? I can't tie her up and tell her to say here, she's a grown-up." My dad doesn't really talk about it but I know that he's okay with it. I really don't know what my mom is going to do-- she says they'll manage, and I know they will, but there are a lot of little things-- schlepping, taking care of random things around the house, helping's also going to be hard for me because I know that I'm not there to do those things, and I was and I feel like I should.
Sara, Chari, VV people, Heights people, Einstein people. Some people in the neighborhood. It's just...I'm going to miss the get-togethers and the random hanging out and just being able to call them up pretty much any time. That is going to suck.

I know I'll make more friends, and be able to spend time with my friends in Israel, but it's not the same. It's not that I don't think I'll be happy there, but it's really starting to get me. Like a slow-motion, really heavy-looking...something. I'm not quite sure what I'm thinking or feeling.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The next step

Went down to the Jewish Agency and gave in my passport, passport photos (see previous post for passport photo how-to), visa application, oleh declaration, and health declaration. It usually takes about 2 weeks to get a visa, but it's the chagim so it might take longer. This is why I did it early-- because things will go wrong.
I also have to mail in my grant contract to NBN, passport photos (again, see previous post), and the flight ticket processing fee ($50).

Oh, and I emailed my supervisor. She did not respond yet.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The not-so-joys of passport photos and the joys of the Internet

I need lots of passport photos. Two for the Jewish Agency and three (four?) for NBN. Passport photos are very expensive-- $8 ($9? I don't remember which, but I think $8) for two. Since I need six and two come per set, that's 3 sets (Sara, aren't you proud of me? I'm doing math!). 3x$8 = $24-- for six photos. Really? Even Costco is what-- $5? But that's still $15 AND I have to get (read: drive 20-30 minutes) to Costco, whereas Rite-Aid, CVS, and Walgreens are within walking distance. I could print them myself, since my mom has a photo printer-- but it standardly prints 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, or a standard sheet of paper. Note how none of those are 2"x2" required for US passport photos or 35 mm by 45 mm required for the NBN photos.

Enter which is a wonderful website that lets you make passport photo-sized prints. You follow the requirements for a passport photo (see the US government guide here or the NBN guidelines here), upload the picture you've taken to the site, follow the instructions, download the picture (or they can print it for you/send it to Walgreens for printing), and bring it to anywhere that prints pictures and it's something like $0.18 or $0.20 per print. And you get 5 US or 7 Israeli photos per print. That would be known as a helluvalot cheaper. And if you sign up for their photo club or whatever you get free prints. And it's even cheaper like that! All you pay is tax!

I know how I'm printing my passport photos. (MLIA.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"One more star! One more stripe!"

Or one more checkmark. That might be more appropriate.

I got an email today from Ulpan Etzion that I am registered for the January session.
Once I get my visa and confirmation on my flight I will email my supervisor. Let the nail-biting commence (but not really because I'm trying to stop that).


I found this other blog, My Shrapnel, in the wonderful Blogosphere. And guess what? There is a stitch'n'bitch group in Jerusalem (I think. Or at least somewhere in Israel)! Yay! Social things that don't revolve around singles or MDA! And I'll meet people I don't know, which hopefully will help in the whole klita thing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Time's moving way too fast, I want to make it last"

In the past three days I have gotten:
-Aliyah approval (verbal and written)
-Instructions for getting my oleh visa
-Verbal confirmation of Ulpan Etzion registration
-Winter Charter flight info (after being told it won't be available until after October 1st-- yesterday) (NBN Charter flight, leaving JFK Dec. 29 afternoon and getting into TLV Dec. 30 morning. Exact info to follow. And of course, this could change-- last year's charter flight turned into a few group flights instead)

This is very overwhelming.
And this is actually feels very, very weird. Just about 3.5 months and...I don't think it's actually hit me that I'm LEAVING. Like-- actually going, for good. Yeah, I'll be back...but for me, it's not just moving somewhere else, it's leaving my parent's house. And also-- I've been waiting for this and it all just happened at once-- in 3 days I got aliyah approval, confirmation from my shaliach that I'm registered at Etzion (even though they don't send out the acceptance info and all that apparently until 2 months before), and NBN flight info-- I think this is the fastest things have ever happened in Israel.

Sara got a notebook for people to write to me in-- like a very long plane letter in a lot of parts. That notebook is going to go around the Heights-- it might go other places also, but it's primarily going to be in the Heights. I'm excited.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

becoming a student. again.

because I am registered at Ulpan Etzion for January.

Now all I have to do is get the letter about how to get my visa. And hear back from NBN.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

::stamp:: Approved!

I have been approved for aliyah! Here's how the conversation went:

Me: Hello?
Shai*: Lauren? Shai. You're approved for aliyah.
Me: Really? Yay!
Shai: Did you think you weren't going to be?
Me: No, but it's still exciting!
Shai: Get ready, it's just the beginning.
*FYI- Shai is my shaliach from the Jewish Agency aka the Sochnut

I should find out in the next few days about Ulpan Etzion. I really, really hope I get in because it would really suck if I didn't...I'm going and going straight into Ulpan ("straight" being within 2-ish weeks). I am not going to go, spend 5 months there, and THEN go to Ulpan. No. So I am waiting to hear back.

It's really starting to hit me...

It's really starting to hit me that I'm leaving in 4 (just under, but I'm calling it 4) months. Really leaving, and in a short time. Um...right?