Isaac and Fred and Tomar and Ezra and Mahmoush and Steve and Amitai and Jon and on and on and on... Why is it that every time I get comfortable and relaxed in a setting, that setting gets pulled apart? I blogged maybe overly emotionally about my friend David leaving the yeshiva I was studying at when I made aliyah in September of 2007 - yet another pulling apart. Without the late night discussions David and I had about the meaning of life and religion, his support of my decision to move to Israel, assuring me that the first month would be the hardest (and indeed it was), without all that I would absolutely not have made it. That first month sucked, and David got me through it.
Isaac and the guys, all but one English speaker, got me through the initial jitters and fears of joining the Israeli Army. Without going in the very first day with Jon, and then randomly seeing some guy named Isaac hug his family goodbye and notice that they were the most stereotypically American Jewish family ever, I would have run from the army meeting spot, caught a bus down to Eilat in the south, crossed the border to Egypt, gotten a bus to Cairo, and then flown back to Virginia on my good ole American passport.
I just couldn't have done it without having some Americans and English speakers around me. And now they're all gone, dispersed throughout the military. I suppose it's a good thing that now I'm going to be fully immersed, without the support network of Americans to fall back on - but that transition is hard no matter what. It may be good for me, and it may even be exactly what I want (and it is), but it is hard no matter what.
My mom constantly reminds me that beginnings are always scary, and that it's never as bad as we think it'll be, and she's right, but there's nothing like going into a beginning with someone just like you to smooth things out. If anyone out there is reading this and is thinking of joining the Israeli army, plan it with a friend.