I am a 27-year-old Southern born and bred gal living in the beautiful country of Israel with my husband and precious pooch. Besides chronicling my adventures abroad on my blog www.abrideinthedesert.blogspot.com, I volunteer with Save A Child’s Heart, an organization dedicated to providing heart surgery to children from developing countries, and attend a language immersion class (ulpan) learning Hebrew.
My husband and I moved to Tel Aviv, Israel in September 2010 after many years of discussion and planning. Our reasons for moving vary from personal to professional to educational and everything in between. As we frequently tell those who ask: All roads lead us to Israel.What challenges did you face during the move?
A move of this size is stressful for multiple reasons, but our biggest challenge was dealing with the emotions that come with moving so far away from home to a place whose culture and language is completely different from your own. Also, dealing with the bureaucracy of obtaining visas is not a walk in the park either!
How did you find somewhere to live?
We looked at several apartments in different areas of the city before settling on our lovely 1 and a half bedroom apartment located a little north of the city. We perused the typical apartment hunting websites like Craigslist and Yad2 during our search. Our renters only speak Hebrew so my husband and mother-in-law were largely in charge of negotiations. It was hard feeling out of the loop, but all parties involved tried very hard to translate and include me in as much of the process as possible.
Are there many other expats in your area?
There are expats from all over the world in Israel and English is widely spoken. It is actually quite fun to trade stories and experiences with fellow expats. In my language class, we have students hailing from Mongolia, the United States, Russia, France, Japan, Holland and Australia (just to name a few!)
What is your relationship like with the locals?
Israelis are warm, friendly and really funny. I love the Israeli humor and culture. It is not an odd occurrence to be invited over for Shabbat dinner (Jewish Sabbath) by someone you just met, your bank teller, your grocery clerk or your cab driver!
What do you like about life where you are?
I love the closeness of Israeli society and the experience of living in a culture so different from my own.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
The language barrier can be overwhelming and living so far away from my friends and family is difficult.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Research, research, research! You can never be too prepared to move abroad. If the language of your prospective host country is different from your own, start learning now!
What are your plans for the future?
My husband and I are and have always been “fly by the seat of our pants” kind of people. We put no expectations on this move nor the future. We shall see where the next road leads us.
You can contact me at TheBrideInIsrael@gmail.com