From the moment I arrived almost 9 years ago, I was aware of the different reasons why we make Aliyah. Amongst my first friends in Ulpan, L was here for love, D for adventure and J was looking to find himself. We formed an important part of each other's initial network; they are all back in England now; L didn't find what she was looking for; D completed his mission; J went on to look for something else.
Scrolling through my phone book, I have plenty more Ds, Ls and Js who are still here, happily making their way in Israeli society.....for now.
We come to Israel for our many different reasons, build relationships, hope that things will turn out for the best - but inevitably sometimes they don't. Tonight we said goodbye to two friends who are going back; the process, from the moment they announced their decision, has been a wrench for us both as we are very close to them. A hole will be left in our lives - but the nature of our social circle means that we are used to making transient friends; whether they end up leaving for Modi'in or Ra'anana, London or New York. These ones will be more difficult but we'll get over it. Seeing them since they've made the decision, it's clearly the right move for them; she has a job lined up already and the difference in her demeanour is palpable.
In an early episode of the sitcom "Roseanne", DJ, the snotty little boy asks his Mom "When did you decide that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with Dad?" She thinks and answers "I haven't decided that yet". Aliyah is like a marriage - you make the commitment out of love, try your damnedest to make it work but you never know what the future holds.