And then came the Public Gan party, where I’m the only immigrant. I was shocked to find out that I wouldn’t be allowed to bring my younger daughter with me, but soon learned that this was the standard and had to find a babysitter (shout out to my awesome cousin Adin and his wife Amanda who did a great job). I posted in the Gan whatsapp group about it and many parents (very kindly) explained that this was what was done here and commiserated about how hard it must be to be here without parents to help (my parents do live in Israel, but not close enough to be able to help on a day to day basis and also work). They were all very sweet and understanding but talking to them made me feel...other. And then the actual party itself. The music teacher came and played songs on her keyboard while the Gannenet (teacher) and the kids sang along. They did cute, little dances and it was adorable. And I was surrounded by parents singing along and clapping at the right part and doing the movements along with them while I...did my best to keep up. This time I had no one to joke with it about though and I felt... other.
I made Aliyah in order to come home, and I know that I am home here and most of this time do feel at home. But I still have moments where I feel... other. And those are hard and they are uncomfortable. But it’s just part of being an immigrant, it’s who I am and always will be. My children are native born Israelis and will know these songs and the dances and will be able to sing along at their children’s Gan parties. That makes it all worth it. That and moments like today, where I met a new client who asked where I’m from and when I told him America he said “Oh, wow you must be really Zionist!” And I smiled and told him I am, because it’s who I am and always will be.