When I was in my early and mid-twenties I worked for a wonderful family in Israel. The first time I ventured to very distant shores (and my first time on a plane and out of NZ) was in 1985. The opportunity sort of fell into my lap. I was working at a restaurant and the owner, Sue, just happened to have spent many years as a nanny abroad and had a family contact her in search of someone to help following the arrival of their new baby. Well, you didn't have to ask me twice!

I had left the nursing training I loved after not being able to take off the time to have another op and recovery time on my knee. It was one of the last hospital-based intakes and I couldn’t complete the required training if I had the op. Similarly, I couldn’t complete the training if I didn't have the op. So, the worst scenario happened, and I had to leave.

So about 6 months later there I was presented with the golden opportunity to travel to a far-flung country, that I really had no idea about.

From the first moment I arrived I just seemed to 'fit'. Michael, Marsha and the boys made me feel so welcomed and I just slotted into the lifestyle and got on with it. It provided me with an escape from the only life I knew. Nobody knew me and I felt the freedom of being able to be myself, or at least discovering how to be myself, for the first time ever.

The entire experience was magical for me - the culture, the noise, the foreignness of it all, though best of all was the wonderful family I lived with. The treated me as a part of their family and I was to learn what it meant to be a part of loving, functional family unit. So much so that I didn't hesitate to return four years later in 1989 and do it all over again, with the addition of a gorgeous wee girl to the family.

The lessons I learned stayed with me over the years and when I fell pregnant with my gorgeous Tahl (her name translates to morning dew in Hebrew), I knew that I wanted to be nothing but the best mum I could be to her.

Life was to throw us a few curve balls, though the foundations I had embedded while in Israel stayed with me. I had always told Tahl that one day I would take her to Israel to meet my family there. I didn't know how that would happen I just knew that one day it would. Well, as it transpired, losing Tahl when she was 18 didn't allow that dream to become a reality - well not quite anyway.

Over the years I had moved around a lot and lost touch with my dear Israeli family. They had never left my heart though. I had tried several times to get in touch following Tahl's accident, however, nothing came to fruition. That was, until the day Tahl was to turn 21. I found this a difficult day and didn't want to be around anyone. The weather was cold and lousy, so I decided to go through a box of 'stuff' I had amassed over years relating to Tahl - photos, reports, certificates and so on. in amongst all of this I found a contact number for Michael and Marsha and on the off chance rang it. Who should answer but Michael! My heart was pounding, and he was in as much disbelief at hearing my voice as I was hearing his. 

After finishing that wonderful yet heart breaking call I just knew I had to find a way back. A few weeks later Michael and Marsha solved that dilemma for me by paying for my trip. I was humbled, excited, grateful - the whole gamut of emotions. Most of all I was beside myself to know I would finally be 'going home'.

Anyone who knows me well, knows the special place Israel has in my heart. My love for this family and what they allowed me to experience definitely impacted my life and allowed me to be the best mum and parent I could be to Tahl, mistakes and all, so when she left, I had no regrets.

When I walked through that door mid-December, I simply knew I was home. It was like 30+ years had vanished, and I picked up where I left off. However, this time around I had a bit more maturity and wasn't carrying so much baggage. I felt their instant love and friendship. I had the most wonderful three weeks reconnecting with everyone and getting to know all the new additions. I was in heaven and my heart was overflowing!

Quite simply my dream came true… thanks to Tahl and my treasured Israeli family x

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