Thursday, March 09, 2006

Aliya Diary, Page One

This blog, from the start, was meant to have two very different purposes that I hoped would compliment each other.

The first purpose, the one that has pretty much been what the blog has been about up until now, was a reaction to what I read in the mainstream media that just plain doesn't match reality. I read story after story about Israel that, without proper background information, end up, either deliberately or unintentionally, giving a false impression. Many stories are colored by bias, by lies that have been repeated so many times that even intelligent, honest reporters believe them to be true, by "history" that never happened, and in general stories that paint a picture of Israel that is very different than what I know first hand about the country where so much of my family lives and where I feel so much at home.

The blog, up until now, has been deeply political. It has set out to debunk inaccuracies in the media, use historical background (hopefully with solid references) to put stories into proper context, and to voice my opinions on news regarding Israel and the world's relations with Israel. The blog has been rather impersonal.

The second purpose for this blog, the one that has been neglected up until now, is deeply personal. It is a diary: the diary of my aliya, my long planned move from the United States to Israel. Aliya almost happened many times in my life and probably should have happened on more than one occasion. My parents were serious about it but ultimately my mother decided she didn't want her children to go to war. I first visited a shaliach seriously in Miami in 1985. I did so again after a fall, 1996 trip to Israel. I spoke with yet another shaliach again in 2004 and again last year. Since 1996 it really has been a question of when, not if.

Why has it taken so long? Life keeps getting in the way. There have been health issues, financial obligations that had to be met, a romance that ultimately crashed and burned, and so on. Last fall when I realized that I wasn't going to stay with Red Hat and that a job change was coming I came very close to deciding to move to Israel and look for a job there rather than in the States. While I wasn't as financially prepared as I might have liked I certainly had sufficient resources to make aliya a reasonable, practical choice.

My decision to delay yet one more time had to do with a beloved pet of all things. My ferret Nyssa had been diagnosed with lymphoma, a terminal illness, in November of 2004. Against all odds she was still alive a year later and is still alive today. Her life has been detailed in yet another blog I write. For a year now I've been hearing from her vets that she is in the final stages of the disease yet she keeps fighting and living. To someone who isn't a pet owner this must sound insane. To those who have beloved pets, particularly ferret people who know how intelligent these animals are and how closely bonded they become to each other and to their owners, it actually does make sense. Anyway, with this illness there is no way Nyssa could get the health certificate to travel to Israel and she likely wouldn't survive the trip in any case. I decided to wait until she is gone and, to my great joy, that is taking far longer than expected.

In the meanwhile I moved to Wisconsin for a job that didn't work out. That led to a change in my career direction which, if successful, would mean I could work anywhere in the world with a high speed Internet connection. While it is too early to know how this is working out for certain so far things look very, very good. It is becoming increasingly likely I will be able to move to Israel and retain my work and my income, a great luxury indeed. Making this solid will take a bit more time. I now expect to finally make aliya one way or another no later than next year sometime.

While there have been far too many detours I believe the direction of my life is now clear and I can see how I can make my dream of aliya a reality with far less risk and doubt than the typical olah. Actually that was always true. I have wonderful family support both in the States and in Israel. Still, I like being financially independent and that makes me much more comfortable with what is, after all, a major life change. I really now believe that I simply won't permit more detours, at least not long ones.

So my aliya diary begins. So I begin writing down the steps I take towards making this move a reality. Better late than never.

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Jerusalem Dreams said...

I made the move 26 years ago (from NYC)and have seen the best and worst of times in Israel. It's not for everyone but you will never know until you try it.
Best of luck and success - I look forward to following your Blog to see how things are progressing.

Yael K said...

Hi (from another, previously, Katelyn). I just found your blog from the comments on Shaister's website and first want to say how fantastic it is to hear that you are planning to make aliyah!!

Second, I want to put you in contact with my mom who adopted my ferret Dusty from me years ago and managed miracles in his health for about 4 years longer than any vet would give him (he had lymphoma, got some kind of horrible and generally fatal virus from a 30 minute contact with another ferret that had it, and so forth). She did tons of research on his illness and knows some of the world's best ferret specialists vets that she can put you in contact with.

Caitlyn said...

Thank you both for your words of encouragement. I really do appreciate it.

Yael, I've linked your aliya blog. It is always good to learn from olim and their experiences.

I am blessed with very good ferret vets. Nyssa has lymphoma. Life expectancy after diagnosis is three months. Nyssa is still here and has a good quality of life after 16 months.

What I will need is a good Israeli ferret vet. I did correspond with a ferret owner in Jerusalem a while back and she brought hers with her from the States. I do plan on bringing Ella, Zephyr, and Chin Soon with me if they remain healthy.

Again, that you both for your kind words.