We landed in Israel a few days ago, greeted by unbearable heat. As soon as I set foot in Ben Gurion airport, a dreadful realization sank in: we're now homeless and have left everything that is familiar with free-fall into the complete opposite culture, climate and lifestyle.
Nothing remains the same in our life, except for miss T's breakfasts and tea rituals, and my insistence of making it to the beach once a day, if at all possible. Hiking (or even walking) has become unbearable a by the 3rd day after our arrival. The vicious desert winds from the east set in an apocalyptic mood and bring a heat wave that makes even walking the 50 meters to my mom's house next door rather intimidating.
Plus, I won't bore you with the details of Canadian customs regulations about liquids and anything fragrance related; nor Canadian insurance companies' reluctance to cover anything going into a country considered. I'll just say that as I anticipatead, this is going to be a wild ride and we may be without a home or our belongings for quite some times. I packed accordingly, which is to say not particularly light - with 2 small carry-on suitcases and 3 large ones (one of them entirely dedicated to perfume stock, so that my customers can continue shopping online as usual and receive their orders without delay). So suffice to say - my apocalyptic approach to packing those 5 pieces of luggage, although seemed to have lack some coherence at the time will come handy. We have clothes and footwear to take us into winter, and have plenty of paperwork and books to keep us busy for a few months. Mark my word: If you have a perfume business, don't move it. Ever.
We traded in our comfortable city lifestyle, and what I consider perfect weather (all in all, I always liked rain), our backyard rainforest and next door beach for dusty olive groves, unbearable heat, and village life off-the-grid (although thankfully my family has set up wi-fi in all three household on the "ranch", which makes that transition much easier at least from business and communication point of view). But all those opposites aside, the one winning reason for being here is not lost on me. I'm most grateful for having our free-fall cushioned by a loving and warm family and being surrounded by so much love and support. Their encouragement through this very rough transition is a proof that when tough things are going to happen in life (as they tend to be) I won't be there all on my own like I had to be before. Not to mention, if I were to do this 20 years from now, it would have been a thousand times harder.
The beauty of this country (not that this is why I came here) lies in small, hidden things. Stunning wild flowers in unexpected places, like these pure-white beach lilies (which smell much like hyacinths, by the way). People seem utterly impatient, vulgar and uncourteous at first glance but if you look past the few loud shroud voices that squeak too much you discover true kindness and generosity, openness and compassion.
And speaking of flowers: I've already started collecting bulbs of fragrant flowers (with the help of my gardener brother) so that I can start the mini perfumer's botanical garden that I've been dreaming about as part of the new location of my perfumery and perfume school. I've gotten a number of narcissi, hyacinths and Easter lilies to start the garden, and will also get some rhizomes of Iris germanica from my other brother's garden. I've got my seeds of Parma violets and shiso, and there's already jasmine and rose in my garden and some citrus trees in the orchard. But that's just the beginning. Come spring it will become a very happy place.