When my husband mentioned the possibility of overseas living, I reacted in a cool, calm and collected manner. The idea of it sinking in and the reality of it still feeling fake. What would it be like living there? Would I feel uncomfortable being overseas alone when he travels for work? Will the water make my baby sick? As a born and raised American, I was sheltered and controlled through media to view the living conditions in a foreign country as scary.
As these explicit thoughts ran through my head I chose to meet them with the intrinsic determination to be positive. This positive foundation propelled me to view our move in light of the blessing it truly is rather than the inconvenience it could become. To use this as an opportunity to grow and challenge my ideologies. With all that being said, I have discovered so much about myself moving here already and look forward to gaining deeper perspective for the next few months.
Learning has become such a constant theme in my life currently. I’ve been obsessed with soaking in every piece of knowledge when I can. That brings me to my first point of discussion which is:
We aren’t made to live with everything at our fingertips
If you know me well, being a mom has made me a Postmates and Amazon Prime master. I know just when to order something right before I run out. I used to analyze the cost-benefit ratio between ordering diapers online or putting my kid in a car seat in the rain. That’s how I made life work when I “just wasn’t feeling it”. Unlike living in Houston or Los Angeles, Tel Aviv sure did burst my bubble of accessible living.
I now live in an extremely charming neighborhood that I just have fallen in complete love with. Everything is in walking distance and the weather here is pleasant. Our usual routine is to get groceries every other day so they are fresh. We have juice stands, amazing cafes, every kind of restaurant you can think of within walking distance to our building.
My new way of living challenged me to reconsider the ways in which I would go about living in the States. Like prioritizing emails and online shopping over fresh air and exercise. I was altogether lazy in my eyes and I’m so thankful that I no longer make a choice to live as such anymore.
One thing about living here that is annoying but has brought me a new level of discipline is:
Washer machines and dryers are significantly smaller than what I’m used to
When I say small I really do mean it. I’m that person that would take two days out of my week and go to town on laundry. And within those two days was able to finish laundry for the whole family. With the size washer I now have, it takes me FOUR DAYS to finish all our laundry. That may sound extreme but with Tarik’s schedule, he can sometimes wear three outfits a day.
On top of that, the dryers get extremely hot and filter your clothing differently. Every time I finish a load I have to clean the normal lint filter and then proceed to clean the jug of water that collects in the dryer. If you don’t empty the water, your clothes won’t dry. This MAY be also a thing that exists in the States so correct me if you know..
That I think has been my most challenging hurdle living over here because I’m a neat freak already as it is. I have to be way more intentional about doing laundry.
It’s extremely hard to find the right products for my hair and my normal skincare
Israel isn’t totally barren of American product but the things they do have, they’re taxed heavily. I was able to find a few things that work for me but all my choice product was nowhere to be found. I found a store near my building that’s similar to a Whole Foods type of deal. They have natural products that you can find in the states as well as local health products.
Curiosity led to desperation and I finally went and tried some of the hair and facial products they had. I was pleased with all the baby things they carried. Israel has a very dry climate which we weren’t used to. When I got here I quickly began to realize not only was it affecting my skin, but also Na’im’s. He began to get extremely dry skin patches on his body and face. Before we moved here I was using CeraVe baby on him which is a gel-based wash with no fragrance. I decided to switch him to a cream instead so I did my research and began using Weleda Gentle Baby.
Na’im has been loving the cream wash and his skin looks so much better! However, mama is still struggling with her skin. I was using a ton of product that worked for me in a more humid climate so moving to Israel made my skin suffer. I’m now using more heavy serums and increasing my water intake. If you want me to do a whole post on skin and dry climates comment so I will know.
Shabbat shuts life down
Shabbat is an amazing time of the week which families get together and have a time of fellowship and eating. They make a whole feast for everyone to enjoy. Shops shut down and people slow down and appreciate life and family. At first, this was an adjustment for most supermarkets and malls to shut down. Now I prepare ahead of the curve and I actually enjoy having a moment with no real “to-do” list. It’s taught me to be present where I am and how important true rest is. Rest to me is spending time reading, talking to God and journaling, taking Na’im to the park and cooking dinner for my family. Taking time to truly rest is something I look forward to keeping as a boundary for my life and my family.
Overall this experience thus far has caused me to be more conscious of myself and the choices I make daily. I look forward to more transformation mentally, spiritually and emotionally.