My new life in Israel began after my repatriation to Maale Adumim, a small cosy town near Jerusalem. I arrived in a hurry, having bought a ticket as soon as I received my repatriate visa. I had no idea where I was going or what to expect. I had never been to Israel before repatriation and had only a vague idea of the country from a YouTube video.
I arrived at the beginning of October. As it turns out, this is when Sukkot is celebrated in Israel, and essentially Israelis have the rest of the month off. Everything was complicated by the fact that I flew myself without Sohnut, and even on holidays, and Russian bank cards were not accepted at AirBnb and Booking because of sanctions. I thought it would be easy to find accommodation on the spot, so I didn’t make arrangements with anyone in advance.
It was only at Ben-Gurion airport that I realized that because of the holidays and the inability to pay for accommodation online, we literally had nowhere to go. It was good that we found some kind people who knew us, who took us to Ma’ale Adumim for a couple of days while we frantically searched for a room.
I found accommodation in Rishon LeZion, where I lived my first month in Israel and processed my documents. Every day and every step is recorded on videos, which are published on the YouTube channel “Israel 🌞 Cultural Code” ( https://youtube.com/ieroglif ). The realization of what is happening did not come immediately, as initially one feels the culture shock of living in a new country, bureaucracy, climate, etc.
Starting from scratch is not easy, but it is very interesting. It is like being born again, learning to speak and understand what is going on around you.
This is a very unusual experience in my life, because I came to Israel – I had no relatives, no friends, I didn’t know Hebrew, I didn’t have a job, I had nowhere to live and I had no idea which city in Israel I would go to.
Through a series of random events, the thread of life led me across the country from Eilat to Metula, I moved dozens of times from city to city to realize where I liked to live, to find my place in Israel.
And I found it – my place, my business, my hobby, my new home. I met wonderful people, lived in dozens of different flats and houses, understood the rental market and learnt Israeli money-saving tips.
I wrote down every step of repatriation in my memo paper — all the tricks so that I could go through the bureaucratic steps faster and more efficiently, apply for documents and benefits, do most things online and not have to go to the ministries unnecessarily.
Tell us how did your new life in Israel begin? When was your first day as an immigrant and what did you remember about it?