Two of my favorite things to do together are read a good book while crunching on a crisp apple. Today I was settling into our comfie chair with both the book and the apple. (Alas, there are no Mcintosh Apples here in the Holy Land...) As I was munching I noticed something strange, something I had not yet seen on an Israeli apple: those little stickers with the number and name of the apple. (In the states I would peel the sticker off the apple and stick it on the cover of the book. Sometimes I returned the book to the library with 5 or 6 stickers on it). I hated those stickers in the states, but I was delighted to find one today. As I peeled this sticker off the apple, I thought of Home.
I struggle with the word "home". Israel is my home now, and I have dreamed of it being my home for a long time. It is my "homeland", the place where it all began for us. And I believe in the return to this homeland of ours so much. I believe in it with all my heart.
But the word "home"....A few weeks ago I was talking to an old friend with whom I am getting reacquainted. She made aliyah about 20 years ago. She said, in casual conversation, "Sometimes, when I go home, I...."
I stopped her. "Wait a minute. You still think of America as home?" I was incredulous.
"Of course", she said. "It's where I grew up. It's where my parents and siblings are".
I was amazed. Until then, I made a conscious effort not to say the word "home" when I referred to America. I live here now, this is my home. But it takes a long time to make a place feel like home. To find your place in a town and become part of a community. The truth is America is in my blood. How could it not be? It is old and familiar to me, while Israel is strange and exciting.
I have two homes now, I think. I love them both, for different reasons. I yearn for them both, for different reasons.
And I guess that's okay.
8 Years and Counting
9 months ago