Monday, March 30, 2009

Step by Step

Well, its spring break where I teach, which means a week of being able to figure things out for aliyah.  We hope to finish the bulk of our packing, and figure out what we are bringing with us.  Everything electric needs converters, and its hard to figure out what is worth it to bring versus buying in Israel (any thoughts from people whove been there done that?).  the fact that I am pregnant has made things a little crazy... and i want to be all packed (hopefully) long before baby makes its appearance...  

the Nefesh BNefesh flight schedule for the summer came out... and it looks like our options are the 3rd week of August or the first week of September.  Rosh Hashana is early this year, which puts the second flight only about a week before the holidays start.  I like the later flight because the baby will be two weeks older (which may not seem like much, but at that age...), but the earlier flight would mean more time to set up before holiday craziness.  Luckily we have his family to help us set up, so we just have to decide whats best for us.  its all slowly coming into place, just working through everything.

Friday, March 27, 2009

the beginning of things

So we decided to make aliyah.... what was next?  First step for us was the Nefesh BNefesh application.  Its been put online, so that was easy enough, but the amount of information they ask for is crazy!  Not only did I have to prove my Jewishness (luckily my Rabbi wrote me a letter), but I also had to prove that I had been living in the United States (or at least outside of Israel) since 2002).  Easy enough, right?  Just show them your passport!  Since 2002 I have held three (kind of) passports.  My first expired around 2002, so I got a new one in 2004, the first time I went to Israel.  Then I had to get another one when I got married, to change my name.  So I copied all 3 and sent them in.... but they werent good enough, since I had no active passport for a year and a half in that period.

Ok, so how else can I prove my residency?  They didnt seem to believe that the fact that I had no passport meant I couldnt leave the country...  In the end they demanded a letter from my High School that I had actually been enrolled there, and attended.  After all that balagan (craziness) I was happy just to be done...  Ok, so application was in, waiting for my visa... now what?

shipping of course!  Everyone who has ever moved knows that moving your personal belongings can be a pain... and moving them around the world is no different.  There are a lot of rules and fees to be aware of.  We went to a talk on shipping, hosted by the Jewish Agency, which was helpful.  They explained the different sizes of shipments, and some of the rules about what to bring.  As an Olah (new immigrant), I dont have to pay taxes on many things.  I can bring in clothes, kitchen appliances, furniture and many other things.  Certain items have limits.  For instance, I can bring in only ONE TV tax free, the others I will have to pay taxes on.  I can bring in one computer in my shipment, though laptops brought with me through the airport dont count.  rules, rules, more rules... and plenty of ways to "bend" them.  

One man asked for instance, about the law saying that you can only bring indoor furniture tax free.  what if he wanted to bring in lawn furniture? (dont ask me why...)  the answer was simple.  Ship it, mark it "table and chairs" and who will know where you use it?  IF you get opened by customs it may cause a problem... but whose to say you dont like using lawn furniture in your dining room?

All in all its been an eye opening experience so far.  We are mostly packed already (having never really unpacked from LA...) so its not that crazy for us.  In fact, I think the shipping guy was surprised when he came to give us our estimate... we are pretty organized.  It doesnt help that we have a baby due early summer, so I want to get everything organized and done as much as possible before it arrives.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Res Gestae and metamorphoses

So, background into the naming of this blog.  I am a classics major, and a history lover at heart.  The Res Gestae was a text written by Augustus.  Literally meaning "the things done" or "the deeds", i thought it was a fitting title, since I hope that this blog will be a recording of my new adventures...

The metamorphoses....  A text written by Ovid, focusing around the changes that happen when people fall in love and do crazy things.  Although his texts dont show much connection, Ovid always seems to show that even the most rational people are quick to follow their hearts rather than their minds.  While this sometimes makes for crazy scenarios, its a true part of life.  Sometimes its hard to explain why we do things... because there is no true rational explanation behind it.  I can tell everyone the rational reasons for making Aliyah... but in the end I am doing it because I feel like its the right thing to do right now.  And i am hoping that keeping this blog will help explain why that is to others...  or perhaps find a connection with someone who feels the same way.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

First post

The first post is always the hardest to write.  Ive been blogging since High School, but I felt I needed a new venue to document this new phase in my life.  In the last year and a half I have gotten married, gotten pregnant, and made the decision to make aliyah with my Israeli husband.  Its been a whirlwind, and there is so much to discuss about the process.

I dont think anyone makes aliyah without going through the crazy thought process... both self inflicted and through the questions of others.  Its hard to believe that my first visit to Israel was only 5 years ago, and here I am getting ready to make it my home.  I am hoping this blog will be a way to keep my family, friends, and even myself, involved in the crazy process that is moving across the world.