Bookcases...unpacking boxes...setting up the kitchen...ordering closets (aronot)...all are activities that have puncutated our past few days. I have never been so happy to be so sore in my life!
The weather here is easy to summarize: HOT. We live next to Midbar Yehuda which, as the name suggests, is in fact a desert. We are not crawling around seeing mirages, but it gets plenty hot here. One interesting thing is that on our side of the mountain it is much less windy and dusty, yet as soon as you walk around the curve near our house and go to the other side, the wind could be going at 30 miles per hour! This occurs every single day late-afternoon till early evening.
I found a short-cut today that saves me 10 minutes in walking to the Makolet (grocery store). Each day is a new experience, which is what has made the first two weeks (yes, two weeks, can you believe it??!!) so enjoyable. I actually wrote a short piece about our first two weeks thus far, and it is printed below.
Neighbors: We have such amazing neighbors both in our building and in the neighborhood in general. We feel that we are truly blessed to have found this community.
Not much time to write today as much to do...hope to check in again soon!
(SENT VIA EMAIL TODAY)
Before we made Aliya, we heard all kinds of horror stories of how difficult the transition would be and how impossibly tough all of the red-tape would be to cut through. While it is now two full weeks since our arrival, I am writing to say that (thank G-d) these stories were GROSSLY exaggerated.
Even though there is a very long road ahead of us, our first two weeks have been MOSTLY incident-free and a pleasant experience. After going to all the requisite governmental agencies, getting appliances delivered and installed, starting to get the house set up, learning the ins and outs of the neighborhood, seeking employment and just trying to maintain day-to-day living, I could not be any happier! The visits to the Post Office (where it seems ALL "official" business is transacted), Misrad HaKlitah (Ministry of Absorption) and all other places in between, the response time of all places and the efficiency with which the work was done was outstanding. I had no (bli ayin hara) horror-story- type experiences at all. (This does not preclude them from happening in the future!)
I write this to encourage others. While many people feel the task at hand is too daunting, we are living proof that one CAN take the first few steps after Aliya with confidence that things do indeed work how they are supposed to (but, obviously, not always!) One of the greatest modes of help has been Nefesh B'Nefesh as their having taken care of many things on our behalf (Teudat Zehut etc) definitely smoothed the way! They are always ready, willing and able to help those of us who are post-Aliya and those of you who are PRE-Aliya!
Will everthing be this smooth from here on out? Certainly not! But if we go in with our eyes wide open (I always expect the worst and hope for the best) and not filled with naivete, then things can only get better. Life here is not simple or easy...but it is life in the Land that Hashem has given to US.
As always, I invite ANYONE considering aliya to contact me with any questions or comments. (It is very gratifying to have received FIVE emails since I am here from people telling me that they are now seriously considering aliya!! Keep those cards and letters coming).
Wishing you all a pleasant day and may this period of the Nine Days end with all of us joining in rejoicing ON TISHA B'AV dancing with the Melech HaMashiach in Yerushalyim!
Zev M Shandalov