Oh my gosh we have made it a whole year. It has been a year since we last saw most f our family and friends. A year since we said good bye to everything that was familiar and expected and packed ourselves off for, what was to us, the adventure of a lifetime. A year since we got on the plane not knowing if we were making the right decision and just hoping and praying that God would be with us in our endeavors. A year since I was a crying sobbing mess who just wanted to get through a day and collapse into a bed and sleep for 100 years.
As we come to the end of of our first year as "olim chadashim" there are a number of things that, along with linking to our original list of things we had learned at the 6 week mark.
1) Never leaves clothes on the drying rack in direct sunlight. Parts will fade to a washed out pastel and you will look like someone who tried to tie dye and sucked at it
2) It is entirely possible to wash a kitchen full of dishes using only a thimble-full of water. Being aware of water levels (and when it is time to draw a new coloured line somewhere) is a part of life.
3) It was not just the Bait Hamikdash that miraculously explaind as needed- any Israeli home has the miraculous ability to expand to fit as many people as it needs, and all their stuff, for however long they need to stay, no matter how little notice you get.
4) In an over saturated market opening a new venue will not split the current clientele so neither store can survive, rather it will just bring new people out of the woodwork.
5) Throwing a bucket of water on your floor and using a squeegy to toss it out the door is a perfectly acceptable method of cleaning your house.
6) Giving tzedakah (within reason) will positively affect your bottom line.
7) ANYTHING can be sold door to door (and you will continue to recieve it indefinitly even if you have not paid for it). Perishables will be left at your front door even if you might be away for a month.
8) When your kid does start speaking Hebrew, it will be better than yours within 15 minutes.
9) Skype and voip lines can sometimes be better than face to face conversation becuase you can do all sorts of things you would never get away with in real life.
10) The only place to buy ant poison is the grocery store.
11) Being able to bring tanach to life and watching your kid connect to thousands of years of history without realizing that for most people ruins and archeology are not a daily event is deeply satisfying on a soul level.
12) A thirsty person can drink more than a thirsty camel.
13) After breaking your teeth and fighting your way through a contract negotiation in Hebrew, you will discover the other party speaks fluent English- and be thrilled you never knew.
14) If you are used to Canadian maps where 2 inches = 200 km, you are going to miss a lot of turn offs.
15) A 5 minute walk really can be too far at some times of day- like say, any time of day between May and October.
16) Rain can be much colder than snow. But it is still nice knowing you are not going to slide down the hill or need to shovel it. You can still go tobagonning though- it just involves a broken box and a muddy hill.
17) Checkpoints make you feel safer- even when when the only guy there is paying more attention to his banana than to the cars. Always watch for tire spikes even when going in the right direction!
18) When your close family is on another landmass, your friends and neighbours become your family. In a country full of immigrants, no one is really alone.
19) Any Anglos without an English accet are "American"
20) If you go to a movie it will have an intermission. Apparently natural born Israeli's have smaller bladders and need to eat more often.
21) Your friends include "crazy settlers", "meshuganah charidim" and "meshuganah crazy charaidi settlers", and yet it is the "normal ones" who are "anti-peace" because they are thinking about closing in their balcony.
22) Setting your air conditioner to 25 degrees for 20 minutes is staying cool.
23) Children can do anything- for between 130-140 shekel a month. Yes there really is a plastacine chug.
24) There are many really cool things that are worth doing once for 10 minutes- conversely there are many once in a lifetime things you will do repeatedly with anyone who comes to visit.
25) "Made in Israel" signs are not necessarily an incentive to look at bad artwork/handcrafts/random product.
26) Test driving a car will turn into an incredible touring experience with a fantastic guide and amazing views.