In the early summer of 2007, I got a call from my husband, Ido, about a New York City relocation opportunity at his company. I don't know why, but I immediately said yes.
Two minutes later, I couldn't figure out why I said yes so quickly. We had great jobs, an amazing apartment in the heart of Israel's great city, Tel Aviv, and we were five minutes walking distance from the beach. In addition, we were planning our wedding, I was already in the middle of my PhD, and we had good friends and a large, close family who were all supporting us and were an integral part of our lives.
How could we cross the Atlantic Ocean and leave everything behind?
We sat that evening in and started talking about our future American adventure. It was obvious for both of us why we were eager to jump on this unexpected offer -- we wanted kids! We were three months shy of being married, but we were already thinking babies. Since we knew that surrogacy is legal in the U.S. (in Israel it was, and still is, only legal to married straight couples), we thought that it was a sign! We needed to pack our bags, go to the land of the free, and have lots of babies. That was our main focus, and we knew that we would figure out the rest as long as we fulfilled our dreams to be parents.
Fast forward seven years, a beautiful wedding and two amazing daughters later, we found ourselves with a question that takes more than two seconds (actually, even more than a year) to answer: Are we staying or going back? We accomplished the goals we set for ourselves when we decided to move to America. We were married, we had kids, and we developed ourselves professionally. So why are we staying?
Our kids can literally be called the "Skype kids" since they interact with their grandparents through Skype on a weekly basis. We celebrate the holidays by ourselves or with some friends we encountered during our NYC years, yet we are practically alone. We had to figure out what the added value was for staying here. What do we have here that could be compared to living in our birth country with our longtime friends and extraordinary family?
As immigrants, we are supposed to relate to "Living the American Dream"and seize whatever the "Land of Opportunity" has to offer. As cliché as it sounds, it is somewhat true, only now we had to have a new set of goals to reach for in order to have a reason to stay.
Ido mentioned during Connected episode 12, "Ready for the Adventure," that the private education system may have a big impact on our decision to stay in the U.S. or go back to Israel. While there is nothing wrong with the education system in Israel (and I have a lot of good things to say about it), when you live in an expensive and one of the world's greatest cities, you want to not just bite the Big Apple, but to try to eat it all.
Getting accepted to one of the best private schools in the U.S., which is definitely not an easy task, meant a lot to us. It felt like we, as a family, won the lottery. Parents always think about what is best for their children. Our daughters were born in America and they know nothing else. We are fortunate enough to have family visiting all year long, and we see our immediate family constantly. Even though I miss Israel, I got used to the great life I have built here. And as long as my girls and husband are happy, and we get to make our dreams come true here, I will see America as my home. Home is not only where the heart is... home is also where you make it.