About six months ago I was talking to a random stranger and when I told her where we lived she remarked, "That's my favorite street in Tel Aviv!"
At the time, the comment struck me as a little odd. I didn't see anything out of the ordinary that made our street worthy of favoritism; it was just another street. But that comment then made me more attentive, and through that I realized that it really is a pretty cool street.
The trees are huge and shade-bearing, which I have an extra-special appreciation for in the heat of August with two dogs to walk. The apartments range from super old to very new, and they're all unique and quirky. There's a school on the corner, our vet is across the street, and three mini marts and cafes within a five minute walk from us. We are pretty centralized within the city; I can get to the beach in 12 minutes if I speed walk, 5 if I ride my bike. It truly is a really great street.
Today is our one year anniversary of living in Israel.
It. has. flown. Even when it felt like it was dragging and days were repeating and things weren't getting easier - none of that was true.
I did stupid stuff, a lot of typical tourist mistakes, yet it felt a little extra painful because I wasn't a tourist. I tried to pay for a coffee with the equivalent of ten cents, I consistently bought the wrong foods. Which still happens by the way, just yesterday I tried to buy seasoning for fish instead of chicken and the (this is a rarity) kind lady at the check-out pointed out my error.
These past 365 days have been honestly nothing I ever thought I would see or experience in my lifetime. If you would have told me when I first met Andrew at age 18 that ten years later we would be living in Israel together, well... I might have believed you, but I'm not sure I would have been enthused about it.
It's been hard, beautiful, painful, confusing, enlightening, refreshing, exhausting, and that's just scratching the surface.
And we have days where it's still really hard. Or at least we think it is, relative to first world problems. We knew going in that it was a feat in itself moving ourselves thousands of miles across an ocean - away from our closest family and friends - ripping our support system out from under us like an unneeded band-aid that actually wasn't ready to come off.
Yet what happened more easily than I predicted, was that we also quickly got adopted into new families here. From other Americans who had also been transplanted out here, to our gracious gym community, we are eternally grateful for each and every person who has come alongside us the past year. And I mean that.
So to bring this full circle... my goal this next year is to be more intentional. And for it to not take 8 months to finally realize that we live on a beautiful street. I like to think that I've got most of "it down" now; our schedules, where to go for what, a handful of words I need to know, when jellyfish season is, when certain produce is in season,
Easier said than done of course. In the 'go go go' of the Monday-Friday, little appreciations are too easily overlooked. My bike commute to work/the gym in the humid afternoon heat, with my shirt clinging to my back and my quads burning is annoying at first thought, but I know one day I will deeply miss riding/walking/running along the Med every single day.
So I'll try. Here's to the next 365 days, and seeing more good. Even the ones that feel crappy.
Thanks for following along with us and supporting us. To to our Western Hemisphere friends for dealing with the excessive time differences, and to our Israel friends for dealing with our pretty much non-existent Hebrew.