From the Holy Land to the Eternal City: Our Journey from Israel to Rome

From the Holy Land to the Eternal City: Our Journey from Israel to Rome


The decision to accept orders to move from Israel to Rome was not an easy one. THis may seem crazy to some since the country is at war.  This country was our temporary home and our community was tight, strong and supportive like we have not felt since living in Japan.  On top of the community and sense of belonging that we felt the land contains sites of immense religious and historical significance, like the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre that we had just begun to explore and understand.  


However, when Mike was offered an exciting job opportunity with NATO in Rome, we knew I couldn't pass it up. While bittersweet, we were ready to get back to life. Living in a war zone was like our 2.5 years of COVID in Japan and Hawaii, where many people were living life and we were locked into a small town with a LARGE home.  We had already lost 2 years of our lives inside our house, we knew we could not do that for another year.  If you did not experience COVID in Japan or Hawaii you will probably not understand what years of lockdown is like.  You only get one life, and I was not born to be shut in. 

As we loaded the SUV there was no need to pause our lives and rush to a bomb shelter amidst rocket sirens. Instead, we locked the door to our beautiful home for the final time and headed to the airport, filled more with excitement and optimism than fear.

We were taken to the Tel Aviv airport in an armored SUV at 230 in the morning.  It felt a little like we were running away under the cover of darkness.  We were helped immensely by the US Embassy and Airport staff in getting all 10 bags, 2 cats, 4 people and 2 surf boards checked in.  If you get the opportunity to serve in Israel in the future as a member of the US foreign service or the United States Department of Defense DO IT.  Living in Tel Aviv is amazing.  The Embassy gives new meaning to servant leaders and they take care of the families like nothing I have ever experienced in 21 years with the USMC.  If you have children looking for an exciting career I highly recommend the Foreign Service and State Department as a community to call to come for a full-filling career. There was no tearful goodbye with  friends, as most of them had departed under the embassy departure weeks prior. Before we knew it, we were seated on the plane as the captain announced our imminent departure for Rome.

As the plane took off into the skies over the Mediterranean coastline below us, we said goodbye to the golden beaches, the rocket sires, the curfews, the humming cities, the armed guards everywhere and historic sites of Israel that had been our home for 104 days.  While we will miss Israel dearly, we are ready for our next chapter in the Eternal City.

The 4 hour flight went smoothly, and before we knew it, the plane was landing at Rome's Fiumicino Airport. Stepping off the plane, the warm Italian air and lively hum of the terminal felt at once foreign and inviting. 

Israel and Palestine are a challenging dynamic that I do not think you can fully comprehend from abroad.  I do not know what the future holds as a solution to the situation but I know it is unlikely to make both sides happy.  I have learned a lot in a short period of time about a dynamic land and culture that I knew little to nothing about when we arrived. Even as a Christian I can understand why so many Jewish families from around the world flock to Israel and settle.  There is a sense of belonging in Israel that is different from anywhere else.  They share a culture of Holidays and Shabbat that is not seen in other parts of the world.   My kids have a perspective of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza that will shape them and their views for the rest of their lives.  

In December I will tell you all about getting settled in Rome during the Christian Holidays with a tour of our old world apartment in Laurentina.




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