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Posted on Oct 15, 2011

International American Dreams

International American Dreams

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Once upon a time, I woke up and realized that I have had a pretty transformational journey towards, around, over, and through the American Dream. Unlike most of the Americans around me; I am a naturalized citizen to the United States of America. It was not my born right to live the life of privilege that I did. My American Dream began in 1975 when my parents came to the land where “money grows on trees”. We had an eventful roller coaster of being rich with a private plane, pool, and live-maid to declaring bankruptcy.  Maybe I had to taste the world of  materialism and consumerism  (My parents’ American Dream) to reach my own dream?

Like most first generation immigrants to a new land; my parents had to go through the growing pains that come with instantly becoming a ‘foreigner’. They neither spoke the language nor understood the culture; and as children, we always felt bitter that our parents couldn’t help us with homework, and spoke so funny and different than all those around us. I attended a special ‘foreigners’ kindergarden with classmates Chazad from India, Andre from Argentina, and MooMoo from Nigeria. In elementary school, I was the only Jew. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good, it was just me feeling like a didn’t belong.

My American Dream was to belong, to feel complete. So, right after high school I moved to Israel, my home land, and there, felt like the “American”. The world of dual-citizenship has taught me (and for the large part pushed me) towards finding my own American Dream, which for me means a- belonging to myself and my family and b- means belonging to the world. As a nomadic family, it has helped me see how we are all both foreigners and locals, don’t belong and do belong.  As we settle down in each community for a couple of months, I DO BELONG, until I move on. But, I know my place in this world now- wherever I unload my backpack there’s me.

American Dream meant that Kobi and I could return to the US for one season of selling ice cream out of ice cream trucks and pay for an amazing Central America backpack adventure. The American Dream meant that Kobi and I could end up staying in Houston, and without a penny to our name, work hard and not only buy 5 ice cream trucks, but pay our way through college and university, and save for a down-payment for our first home in Israel. The American Dream meant we both qualified for student aid and federal funding and we both appreciate all that our degrees have brought us. The American Dream meant we both got Federal funded student loans which enabled us to get the education two young kids so badly wanted.The American Dream meant I could dream and decide that I wanted to raise my kids in Israel, near Kobi’s family and in the heart of breath-taking nature. As my sister and I left prosperous lives in the US to raise our children in Israel, our International American Dream came full circle. Our generation “undid” if you will what our parents’ generation did; and who knows, where our kids will end up in following their truths.

And now, My International American Dream means not letting society’s norms and expectations decide how I spend my hard-earned money. My American Dream means that we can ditch our lives back in Northern Israel; ditch the job, the home, the routine; ditch a really good life which we dearly loved to pursue another dream.

For me, American Dream meant
(as a child) learning from others what ‘the dream’ is;
(as a young adult)  appreciating and benefiting from the systems in place giving me access to education  which I otherwise could not afford and then;
(as me today, the mom/wife/writer) breaking free and redefining ‘the dream’ in my own terms.

Here are some of the American Dream reflections by my fellow travel blogging families. I feel so remarkably blessed to be a part of this tribe, this community of people who also said, “No way will someone else dictate my dreams,” and took the bold and crazy steps towards their own truth. I love being a part of that. Enjoy their articles. Each is unique, reflective, and flavored by its own God-kissed light:

New Life on the Road – Living the Australian Dream 

Family on Bikes – What is the American Dream? 

Around the World in Easy Ways – An American Dream Fairy Tale

A King’s Life – Redefining an American Dream

Bohemian Mom-The Illusion of the American Dream

A King’s Life -Livin’ the not-so-American Dream

The Great Family Escape -The Real American Dream

Melissa from Break Out of Bushwick – Good Morning, America, Let’s Occupy Wall Street!

Livin On The Road – To dream a little dream of … travel


  1. I guess I take Scotland for granted – I love my country, and have never had the issue of wondering where I belong. On the other hand, my partner Chris was born in Tunisia, as the middle child of missionarys. He moved around until they sent him to boarding school in Wales. He saw little of them, and was sent to guardians for the school holiday – guardians who he hardly knew!! He has a lot of bother when folk say "where do you come from" as he has no answer.
    I am really enjoying your blogs 🙂
    Safety and blessings go with you and your family
    Wendy xox

  2. OH wow you have come full circle – how amazing that you have lived the American Dream, and then discovered you wanted a different dream 🙂

    You have had the rich lifestyle, and then the other side of the lifestyle. I was curious….did you feel more happy with the rich lifestyle, or did you feel more happy being who you wanted, and living your dream your way?


  3. lisa, i remember being pretty miserable when we had the businesses, the private plane, the maid; For years I associated money with misery, business with misery; but then i realized it was family stuff, and maybe we would have been like that also if we were less wealthy. i have never felt happier since i made the best decision on my life-marrying Kobi. that has led to cleaning my soul and being happy (and not the nomadic family dream) and money… it just sort of has a way of working out, it comes to us when we require it, and i bless the Universe, money, and Kobi, and all the angels that help us along the way, for that.

    cheers right back at you. thanks for adding me to the list.


  4. i just read your post about reading your emails twice and three times before you send them out and ironically i see a typo in the commment above that makes a difference. i wrote "and not the nomadic family dream) where i meant to write "and now the nomadic family dream)! ha ha. lol

    much love


  5. Thanks for sharing…I feel like I got a quick update on who you are, and what you are up to! I find it very interesting to hear about your parents immigrating and the ups and downs of that. Also, how that experience redefined your goals and dreams! It also encourages me to become fluent in Spanish so that my children aren't also annoyed at my inability to communicate as well as they can in a foreign language! 🙂 I was also part of this group project…but my link didn't make it on your list! 🙁 Oh, well! 🙂


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