13. Keep your eyes on the prize. Whatever it is about aliya that made you want to be here, remember it. Write it down. Everyone has their breakdown moment, or two, or fifty. You’ll get yelled at in the store one time too many, or your kid will lose his hasaa again, or you’ll have no idea what all those piece of paper you just signed in the bank were. Take the piece of paper out, listen to the Eitan Katz CD, watch that Come Back video one more time.
14. Jet lag with children: Two weeks. Seriously. I’m sorry, but this is true.
15. Think way ahead of time about how much luggage you’ll have with you (100-170 lb per person, plus car seats/strollers) and how you will get everything to the airport. A friend with a minivan will not do it. Two friends with minivans will also not do it. We needed a friend with a minivan and another friend with a U-Haul.
16. Try really hard to maintain your sense of humor and not take things out on your spouse/kids. My husband wasn’t around for any of the pre-aliya planning because he was simply not home; he worked every day including Sundays and was out of the house from 8 am till 10 pm most weekdays. He brought things to work to scan/copy/email, but that was it. He did not deal with any of the logistics, packing, planning, hauling, loading, etc. because he really couldn’t. So when a week in it transpired that he did not know the difference between Misrad Haklita, Misrad Hapanim, and Bituach Leumi, I should not have blown up at him.
I'm sure there will be other things. It's only been 7 months. I still worry, a lot. Will we have jobs, will we find a place to live, will we be poor, will we be happy here, will the kids be happy here, and always, in the back of my mind, when will there next be a war, and what will happen to us in it? Because in Israel it's always "when" and not "if." But l'at l'at, as they say, slowly slowly, we are settling in, feeling more comfortable, feeling more glad to be here--to be home.