Six Month Check-In
I’ve been an Israeli citizen for over six months! This feels like an appropriate time to give an update about my progress, building my life here:
At this point, I have completed my bureaucratic to-do list. I have a teudat zehut, an Israeli ID card, I converted my American drivers license into an Israeli drivers license (I keep my American one, but don’t use it here), and I received my Israeli passport. The process took some time, but wasn’t overly complicated. I was especially diligent about converting my drivers license. This is because new Olim only have one year to convert their drivers license, without having to take a written exam and driving test.
Prior to making Aliyah, I booked an Airbnb for 2.5 weeks. During that time, I furiously searched for an apartment, and I moved into my first Israeli apartment on October 1. My lease was until the end of March, which was just far enough away that I didn’t have to think about it for awhile, much to my relief. The timing ended up being perfect–last week, I moved in with my boyfriend! I’m staying with him until just before Passover, when I’m returning to the US for 4.5 months. Since I haven’t bought much in the past 6 months and a decent amount of my stuff was already at my boyfriend’s place, this move was very easy and stress-free. This was the complete opposite of September…
This is everything I took with me when I made Aliyah…
It’s going well! The only issue has been remembering his preferred settings for the washing machine. And the fact that towels must be washed separately from socks and underwear, which must be washed separately from the bed sheets, which must be washed separately from everything else. And that nothing can be washed on the speed cycle. (Whereas I wash all of my stuff together, with cold water, on the 30-40 minute speed cycle, and have never ever had any problems/weird-smelling clothes.)
Good thing there’s a washing machine in the bathroom, and plenty of drying racks!
As I wrote, I finished ulpan! I received a 90% on my oral exam, and am still waiting for the results from my written exam…which I took about a month and a half ago. I only need a 60% to pass, so I’m not worried that I failed the exam, but I’d like to know exactly how awesomely I did. 😉
I qualify for an additional ulpan voucher from a private ulpan, and I plan to check into this in September, when I return to Tel Aviv. I don’t want to take another morning ulpan. Coincidentally, the Ministry of Education doesn’t subsidize any morning ulpanim at my level. There are a few private ulpans that are subsidized. I need to pay upfront, and then I’ll receive the reimbursement in installments, as long as I continue with the class. Since I’ll definitely finish the course, that’s not an issue. My only concern is finding an ulpan at the appropriate level.
I’m very lucky that I’m a relatively healthy person. I’m even luckier that I understand how to use my health insurance provider’s app, so I can order prescription refills online, and pick them up in any pharmacy (Israel: 1, US: 0). It’s so simple, as long as you don’t need to see a specialist, in which case, you might have to wait for months (or visit a private practice and pay more)…
In conclusion, I have no updates in this category.
Israeli elections are April 9! I am registered to vote–I know this because I received a postcard with my polling place’s location. All I have to do is bring the postcard to my polling place, show them my ID, and I can vote. My only “complaint” is that the deadline to update my address passed awhile ago, so my polling place is by my old apartment. It’s a good thing that in Israel, Election Day is a national holiday!
On a side note, there was a women’s only race scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv that evening, and it got postponed to the end of the month, when I’ll already be back in the US…oh well, I guess I’ll have to wait until next year!
I’ve done a decent amount of traveling during the past few months! In addition to a 5-day trip to Amsterdam, I’ve visited Haifa, Jerusalem, the northern Negev (for the Darom Adom festival), the Dead Sea, and Eilat. Almost all of these trips just so happened to coincide with a race…I’m very thankful that running has given me an excuse to leave Tel Aviv and enjoy everything that Israel has to offer!
While the past six months have definitely been a whirlwind of experiences and emotions, I do think that my Aliyah thus far has been very easy and successful, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next six months bring!