An honest relative told me, "when I am here (in galutoronto), I want to be There (in Israel). But when i am There, I want to be here."
I understand what she is saying. My family is VERY close-knit. I grew up in walking distance of 3 of my 4 uncle-aunt couples, most of my great-uncle-aunt couples and all my grandparents. Mot of my first cousins on my father's side are in walking distance of their parents and attend the same shul. My parents get together every Motzash with the S siblings for "board meetings". My siblings zoom to my parents for Friday afternoon potato kugel and chicken, and often walk over for Shabbat meals. They can also visit during the week (my mum even babysits). My cousins' children play together.
Til this last trip, I had not seen my parents in almost two years, my grandmother in three.
When my aunt packed my bags for returning to Israel, I felt sad that I won't see her for a few more months; her daughters, who are like sisters to me , and my own sisters and brothers, I do not know when I will next see.
I am lucky in that i don't want to live in golus. I feel very attached to Eretz Yisrael, to the development of a Jewish State, even if my personal contributions are minor. When I visit golus, there is something empty about the air there, even as my relatives are BH very involved in community, hessed and Torah. There is something stagnant in Torah life there - it is missing the vitality of working towards Geula, of helping to develop a Torah Country with all that that implies. Of course, that vitality requires hard work too, a type of hard work and stress that exists only in Eretz Yisrael.
But I can still see on myself that the conveniences of living so close to family are hard to give up. And that those things were harder to give up earlier than they are now, 25 years since my first plane ride. I can see on myself that it is easier for me now to visit galutoronto without even stepping into Zellers, and hitting Baskin-Robbins only once, than it used to be.
For people making Aliya now, and those still within their first few years of Aliya, it is easy to wish you were "there" when you are Here, because "there" is more familiar, it's what you grew up with, it's family. That is the reason Hashem commanded (and gave credit to) Avraham Avinu for each of three elements : mi'artzecha- from what is familar; mi'moladetecha - from what you grew up with; u'mi'beit avicha - from family.
But it does get easier.
Hey, I even prefer Osem ketchup now.
And, as my daughter said, by coming here, we saved our children from having to make those breaks when they would make Aliya.