Most Olim with kids make Aliyah in the summer. It's an easy transition time for schooling, and NBN sends the majority of their flights then. For those of you who missed it on FaceBook, here's a Nefesh B'Nefesh video I posted recently. (We had a meeting for parents of all children in ulpan and there was a great speaker (forgot her name). She said when she made aliyah and the day to day got tough, she used to watch old NBN videos and cry, and it would remind her that she'd done a great thing by moving her family here, no matter what the hardships! )
So, for those who come in the summer, there is a catch-phrase that gets passed around, "By Chanukah..."
By Chanuka, the kids will be speaking Hebrew!
By Chanuka, all the boxes will be unpacked!
By Chanuka, you'll be well adjusted, skinny! And things will be perfect!
Well, let's face it; Chanuka is VERY early this year, a good month earlier than usual, but that said, in our house we've still only got 0/3, and it's not a very good ratio. :(
However, there is some truth in all of this "By Chanukah" business. Although the kids are not yet speaking Hebrew, they are understanding lots and lots and speaking some. The don't shy away from the Israeli kids, because during this time of miracles, there is no longer a language barrier. Although not ALL the boxes are unpacked, ALMOST all the boxes are unpacked, and those that aren't, probably won't be any time soon. And, although things are NOT perfect, we are, BH feeling much more well adjusted by now, and some of us have even lost a few pounds with all the walking.
Chanuka is the first real vacation time home together since the wild chagim at the beginning of the year. It's a time for the family to regroup and reflect on the past few months. To compare old schools to new ones, far friends to close ones. To talk to each other and realize just how far we've come in 6 short months.
By Chanuka, when you meet fellow new olim in the streets gone is the wild look their eye, replaced however by a calmer (if not more haggard) expression. By Chanuka, done are the frantic phone calls from one new oleh to the other ("Where am I supposed to be? WHEN is that meeting? WHO am I, again?"). By Chanuka, the kids have good, solid new friendships in place. By Chanuka, the house is set up, guests are back on shabbos. By Chanuka, we can look around and finally take a deep breath, and realize that everything is going to be ok.