I guess it’s pretty cheesy and cliche to do a post reflecting on my year, especially when this blog is only four months old. But it’s been a packed year, full of surprises and transitions. If you’d asked me a year ago if I thought I’d ever live in Israel I would have looked at you like you were nuts. Of course, I think I assumed I would still be in New York. Why would I ever leave?
While I’m a big planner in my every day life (what are we eating for dinner every night this week, what are the vacation details) I’ve never been good at planning my future. Even as a kid I had trouble answering the persistent conversation piece of all adults, “So,what do you want to be when you grow up?” I decided fairly early on not to stress too much about it, and to take every worthwhile opportunity that came my way. It’s taken me on a windy road, but not one I’d ever change. And it brought me here, to Israel.
So here we go, my year in review. It’s been a good one, maybe my best yet. A year ago I had hit my stride in my new career. I got a raise, I stopped accruing new credit card debt, and I was traveling at least once a month for a week of crazed eating and drinking. The biggest benefit was being able to see my West Coast friends and family, normally so far beyond reach. I feel fortunate that the past two years have been big ones for reconnecting with family. The constant travel was exhausting, and I’m glad it’s over, but it was awesome.
Bacon was getting old but still ended up in everything. The recession was visible on the plate everywhere, with comfort food and re-imagined classics more the norm than a trend. Beer got big and cocktails got bigger. And hot damn if there wasn’t good wine available for cheap.
And then Evan got into med school. In Israel. We were at Frank restaurant in the East Village when he told me, and I screamed and cried and we drank Prosecco. I think it probably looked like we’d just gotten engaged. There wasn’t a question in my mind that I’d go; I’ve always wanted to live abroad. I gave my job four months notice, and they screamed and cried too but there was no Prosecco. Evan left in July, we celebrated two years of marriage half a world apart, I moved out of our tiny apartment into Evan’s parents’, and spent what may have been the longest two months of my life thanklessly working my butt off.
And then, finally, I was here. Evan was picking me up at Ben Gurion airport, guiding the simultaneously bright eyed, tired, and confused me home. My first week in Be’er Sheva was Sukkhot and everyone was on vacation; I was nervous I’d moved to a ghost town (the following week it became clear that I hadn’t). Since those first days of being led around the city I’ve made it my business to learn Be’er Sheva in and out; I’m not there yet, but it’s hard to believe I haven’t been here forever.
Perhaps the most exciting development of the whole year has been proving that Evan and I can both follow our dreams and be in the same place, around the world, taking risks and being happy. I’ve had consistent work as a freelance food writer, and it’s been exciting to have excuses to jet off to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem in pursuit of a story.
Sure, it was scary to leave the comfort of our city, our families and friends, stable jobs. But in a few short months we’ve built a life here. And it proves that most risks are worth taking. Opportunities are there if you’re willing to take them. I’ve never been one for new year’s resolutions, but I do have a number of goals for 2011. They range from personal to professional and mostly have to do with taking full advantage of everything I have right here.