Friday, November 4, 2011

Winding Down One Life to Start Another

I have noticed that the older we get, the more deeply entrenched and enmeshed we can become in the matrix of life. As the wag said, "if you think no one cares about you, just try missing a car payment or two!" In the past two years we've been planning to make Aliyah, we have done the following:
  • Paid off both of our cars and sold one of them;
  • Decluttered to the degree that would make Niecy Nash of "Clean House" beam with pride;
  • Gotten our names off umpteen mailing lists;
  • Gotten out of ALL credit card debt--woo-hoo!
  • Rented out our upside-down house, which we left in the real estate vortex that is Southern Nevada.
Believe me, we would not feel comfortable in making Aliyah if we were still in debt, had car payments to make, and hadn't rented out our house. When trying to start a new life, it is very important that you have paid for your past before you try to spring for a brand-new future.

Of course, I'm talking about the mechanics of setting up a "new" life by moving overseas and into a new culture, as opposed to going into the Witness Protection Program and disappearing! While extricating oneself from payment plans, possessions, property, and so on can be a large job indeed, the most difficult thing is not leaving stuff behind, but  leaving people behind. For example, we were asked about this in our interviews with Jewish Agency and Nefesh B'Nefesh officials. It's good they ask this of prospective olim. It's easy to get caught up in the exciting dream of making Aliyah; so much so that some people fail to deeply consider the ramifications of being far away from their family and friends. In my case, I responded that I have lived far away from my mother for most of my adult life. At this stage of the game, she doesn't really care what airport I'm flying in from, as long as I'm flying in to the airport where she lives!

As a side note, every day I thank my lucky stars that I'm alive and well during the age of the internet. I did a great deal of travelling when I was younger, and "back in the olden days" (!) you could meet amazing people and only get their name, and if you were lucky an address and phone number. But I was meeting young people who were rolling around the planet as much as I was. Addresses and phone numbers became useless quite quickly. I am still searching, in fact, for a dear friend in London whom I haven't heard from since 1995. Nowadays, we are practicing using Skype with Elul's mother and her caregiver. My own mother is seriously wired, so Skype won't be a problem for her--she posts photos of her quilts on Facebook! Nothing can be as good as being in the physical presence of a loved one, and of course we can bemoan the lost art of writing and mailing letters on paper. But being able to see a talking, smiling, laughing video image of a family member, for free, is fantastic!

Apartment Hunting Update: Elul and I seem to be in the final throes of negotiations involving the rental of an apartment in Nahariya. This is great news! I say "Elul and I" as if I've actually participated in the negotiations myself, but that's not true--Elul has done all the work, really. It has taken literally hours and hours of Skype "phone" calls between Elul and our wonderful real estate agent, Yoram, to go over the apartment by close scrutiny of photographs, and back-and-forthing between the landlord, Yoram, Elul, and the landlord's lawyer. Just before leaving for my blogging class (which I'm attending now as I write this), Elul worked out some final details regarding the "who pays for what kind of insurance?" question. The apartment is very nicely furnished, but we will have our own things as well, including a stove and dishwasher we'll need to buy. So the question is, who pays for the contents insurance? I think the question was settled between Elul and the landlady, and it just may be the last thing to cover...I hope!

I have restrained myself from posting the many pictures we have of this apartment. This for two reasons. First, we haven't signed the lease yet, and I don't want to end up with egg on my face if it doesn't work out. Second, this is only my second night of my blogging class, and I haven't figured out how to post photographs yet. I suspect it is ridiculously easy, but even if we learn how to do it in class, I don't have access to my home computer here. But I am itching to show them to you--they are so cool!

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