I have a photo of my husband and boys kitted out in snorkelling gear. They look like they are having the time of their life on a yellow sandy beach, with a beautiful blue sea behind them. I have to laugh here because you would never guess that they were on the crappiest snorkelling beach in Eilat. We had no idea being Eilat newbies that there are much prettier, more accessible and child friendly snorkelling spots by the Red Sea than the one we chose. (The hotel recommended it.) This picture made me think about pictures and the actual experience behind the picture. Picture perfect is not life perfect.

There is no such thing as perfect, besides the Rasberry Cronut at Kadosh (a must go to for the best French pastries in Jerusalem) We can make things perfect in our mind; the perfect Eilat holiday – ice skating, socialising with a lovely Jerusalem crowd, mingling with dolphins, decadent omelettes at The Dan’s massive buffet breakfast. Forgetting the hilarious falls on the ice, searching for a simple, kosher cafe on the promenade (there aren’t enough), kids fighting (as per usual), broken dreidels, missing children (and found again), a dangerous snorkelling situation, windy weather, twelve hour drive back (don’t even ask).

The Ying and Yang of life is that there will be the pleasant and the not so pleasant. The cigarette smoke from a neighbouring table that ruins your perfect coffee. That’s life.

Aliyah is no different. The weather in Jerusalem has turned. It’s ice skating cold on the street. Chanuka is over but the bakeries are mercifully still churning out their gourmet suvganyot. Roladin’s Irish Bailey donut is a must. The sugar highs make up for daily lows.

What are the downers? The language difference is a major downer. Bureaucratic procedures, figuring out how I ordered myself a credit card without realising it and getting daily calls from Bank Leumi to activate it. School emails, class messages, all which requires concentration and time, which are things that are becoming increasingly rare and pricey commodities in my life. It’s much simpler to wash the dishes, than speak my immigrant, pigeon Hebrew.

Having no one to hold your hand is hard, because there is no one to hold your hand, and meanwhile having to hold the hands of your spouse and children is difficult. It means continually smiling and having victory dances over the children’s daily small conquests. (An idea of a friend of mine which I’ve adopted and I’ve implemented – it really works at raising morale.)

Creating a community. The Jerusalem community is one of the best in the world. Yet people complain that there is no community here. Which funnily enough is also true. You need to create your own community here. Find people you like and invite them for a coffee, a Shabbat meal and begin your friendship. It takes time, it takes effort.

I’d love to be able to project the Facebook perfect image of Aliyah. But I can’t pretend ‘perfect’ anything. However behind the effort and work is the satisfaction of learning a language, making friends and building a new life. Everyone says Aliyah is hard. Everyone knows it. It’s another thing to do it. To accept that there’s no such thing as perfect, and that’s okay.photo