We landed in Israel in 1999.
We lived in the old Jaffa gate in Jerusalem. right in front of our hostel was the king David’s castle! He actually lived there once how crazy.
It took us 2 years living illegally in Israel to get our citizenship.
A few years after we settled in we found out my sister has epilepsy.
I was the closest to her and we shared a room so It was my responsibility to check on her every night and when she had a ceseaer I would have to take care of her.
There were horrifying nights and scenes I will never forget but that’s ok It made us stronger as a family.
Moving to Israel was a total shock for all of us. We didn’t know how to get around, we had no family living here and very little money to survive.
After a year living in Jaffa which is loaded with Arabs (you would think else wise moving to Israel but no) we saved up enough to move to an apartment in a city called bat yam which is more towards the center next to Tel Aviv.
We stayed there for about 2 years and still were home schooled cause my parents refused to send us to a public school.
Home school in Israel
We got a letter from the government saying they must send us to school (by then my older brothers were about to join the army which is also mandatory leaving my sister myself and younger brother to go to school).
My sister was sent to middle school, I was sent to second grade and my younger brother to kindergarten.
I remember my sister coming home from school crying being harrast by kids beating her up and laughing at how our parents used to make us dress. My parents still had the mentality of living on a farm with the Mennonites and Amish.
DISCOVERING THE WORLD
I didn’t like it anymore and once I hit my teens I wanted to discover “the world” and feel like all the other kids.
I started asking questions, why did we move here, why did we leave everything we had in America, how come I never heard of or met my grandparents or cousins??? Are they even alive?
I went through a phase of rebellion (I’m sure we all did) and was sent to a boarding school where I finished high school with good grades.
By that time I left the faith that I grew up with and wanted to find my own path.
I also asked my parents why they never talked about their family’s.
My mom was born and raised in Canada into a very hard and poor family. Her dad died from a heart attack and her brother and sister from too much drinking. She is one out of 7 kids. She moved out to travel the world when she was 14 and became a heavy alcoholic (till this day).
She got pregnant at 18 and sent her baby girl for adoption.
We couldn’t find her till this day.
At one point she became a born again christians and was preaching the gospel on the streets of san Fransisco where she met my dad.
My dad was born and raised in san Fransisco into a jewish family.
When they met they decided too disconnected from all of their family’s and joined a cult that forbade them of any contact with them.
So I grew up thinking my only family are my siblings and parents.
Thank God for the internet, I looked up everyone that was still alive and contacted them.
Imagine Getting a message from a random Israeli girl saying hey I’m your cousin lets meet up, sounds a little funny but that’s exactly what happened.
I saved up money and waited to finish my army service to go find out who these people are.
As you can tell my parents liked to move around a lot.
We moved every 3 years.
I lived in more than 10 cities in Israel.
That’s why I call it a house and not a home. living like that made me feel comfortable no matter where I was at, I could blend in easily.
When I hit 18 I was drafted into the IDF (Israeli defense force).
It’s mandatory for everyone that lives in Israel (2 years for girls and 3 for guys). I was waiting for that day since I was a little girl.
We also grew up in a very zionist home. Wanting to serve our country in anyway possible.
I remember seeing my brothers return home with their guns and army stories. I couldn’t wait for it to be my turn.
When I drafted I had to go through many tests to see where they think I fit in the most, and because my parents used to move around a lot they saw me as an unstable person.
They gave me a very low score meaning I won’t be able to get a combat position. They sent me to an easy bootcamp with girls that were whining ,crying and just wanted to go home.
That’s not what I signed up for!! I was pissed!!!
In the IDF once they give you your position, a miracle has to happen if you want to be moved. All I knew is that Im going to give it my everything to get the position I wanted no matter what it costs me.
I did everything, and when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING in my ability to stand out. When we were done bootcamp we stood 150 girls
waiting for our commanders to call out our name and tell us what unit we were going to be sent to.
I was terrified that I won’t go a to combat unit cause there was no positions like that being given out.
I waited and waited while all the other girls were being sent on busses to their new base and I was the last out of 150 girls to be called to the main commander. And she took me to the side and said “ we don’t usually do this but you don’t belong here, you proved yourself worthy to be sent off to a combat unit” I was so happy I cried my eyes out!
They gave me the option to pick from being a tank instructor or a gun instructor for infantry units.
You all know what I picked 😉
To be continued ….