Me with Shimon Peres
Are you crazy? Why would you ever move here? What's better Israel or the USA?
These are the usual questions I encounter on a daily basis when I'm interacting with taxi drivers, bank managers, check out girls or men trying to hit on me. My answers have changed only slightly since I made aliyah 2.5 years ago.
I always saw myself living in a foreign country for an extended period of time. Being a Spanish literature major the choices were either a Spanish speaking country or perhaps Israel due to my ingrained connection to the state. When I graduated from college six years ago, I went to Israel to volunteer for 10 months on a wonderful program called OTZMA.There, we were living and volunteering in peripheral towns and areas that most tourists and even Israelis never get to. It solidified a love for the goodness and the potential that I saw in this country.
Afterwards I decided that I wanted to make aliyah, but on my own terms. I was not coming to bring peace to the Middle East, rather I saw Israel as a place that I could flourish in and enjoy. After working and saving money, I settled in Tel Aviv and started the slow ascent to making myself comfortable in my new surroundings. My job in the beginning was to learn Hebrew and make friends.
Now 2.5 years later, I am quite proficient in Hebrew, have a job that I am satisfied with, dear friends who I consider family, and the freedom to do what I please.
Making aliyah is a personal choice and does not make one a martyr. I came here because I wanted to and I can leave here when I choose— a situation that most people are not as fortunate to have.
Am I crazy? Yes, a little bit. Why would I ever move here? Because I love the energy of this country, the weather, and I was bit with that Zionist bug a long time ago that makes me believe in a Jewish state. What's better, Israel or the USA? Well it's like comparing McIntosh apples and Jaffa oranges. Each has its own flavor and its own pros and cons.
Try explaining that to your Israeli cab driver…