The last time I spent more than three months in Israel, I had a visa. I didn’t need the visa because every time I (an American citizen) left Israel before the three month mark, my “visit” reset. I had the visa because it was advised, since I could have hypothetically remained in the country from July to January.
As a precaution, I visited the Israeli consulate in Boston to get my visa. It was there that I had a panic attack, induced by the blank yellow walls and the temporary severing of my iPhone appendage. But I got the visa, certifying my student status and indicating that regardless of how many times my three months reset, I had a return flight.
This time, I also have a visa. The two inserts in my passport clearly highlight the drastic difference in my hair length, but my shorter curls are not the only change to this new visa. This time, I have upgraded by A/2 to ALIYAH.
While it was unclear when/if I would get my passport back after sending it to the Jewish Agency without any identifying paperwork (oops), Fedex came through nearly an hour before I evacuated for Barry.
In the midst of tropical storm mayhem, I stopped, dropped, and opened my first manila to the news that when I land in Israel, I will be Israeli.
Opening that envelope was real. In my hands I held the tangible proof of a goal I have had consciously and subconsciously for a long while.
This is my last visa to Israel and my first bureaucratic step in my journey as an Israeli.
(That’s pretty cool).