Earlier this year when Gil Drory and his wife Anat were granted visas to come to Australia from Israel, it was a dream come true.
The pair were searching for a more relaxed lifestyle for themselves and their two children. So in March, Mr Drory moved to Tasmania with plans for his family to follow about a month later.
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But, soon after Mr Drory arrived Australia closed its borders, shops began to shut and he found himself stuck thousands of kilometres away from his family while the world came to terms with the COVID-19 pandemic.
What was meant to be a one-month absence turned into a five-month separation.
"When COVID hit it seemed like it was going to get worse and worse but, we were lucky enough to receive exemptions for them to travel," Mr Drory said.
Finally, after a 38-hour flight and two stints of quarantine, the Drory family was reunited. The children Yoni, 6, and Shyli, 10, both had birthdays while separated from their dad. But, now the whole family is experiencing their first Australian Christmas together.
Israel is a predominately Jewish country and as such Hanukkah, which takes place about two weeks before Christmas, is the traditional holiday celebration.
The Drory's still celebrated Hanukkah this year but decided to embrace Christmas as well.
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"We feel that the kids deserve to celebrate with the community. They see all their friends and everybody talks about it. Christmas in schools is a big subject and they have never really experienced it," Mr Drory said.
"Even the songs and the jingles and father Christmas, it is just nothing they have ever been taught. We thought it would be important for them to, you know, get into the groove."
The new holiday celebration is not the only part of living in Australia that the Drory's are embracing. Their move to Australia was inspired by a desire for a better work-life balance and they seem to have found it.
Mr Drory works at the Country Club and Casino in Launceston as a room division manager. His love for hospitality stems back to time living in England.
After completing a mandatory three-year stint in the Israeli Defence Force Mr Drory moved to London to study performing arts. He started working in a hotel on the outskirts of London and fell in love with the work.
"I was looking for a place to get my own and find out what I want to do with life," he said.
While the Drory's love Israel they are happy to now call Australia home. "Israel is a fantastic country but it is aggressive in every way. Even family and friends are aggressively family and friends," he said. "Here is a lot more relaxed ... everybody is happy to be here."
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