During our very long 9 week stay in America someone asked me , “Are you happy to be back home in America?” I responded by saying, “I am not home- Israel is my home.” The conversation continued, “But how could that be? You lived in America all your life- and for only one year in Israel. How is it possible that it could be your home so quickly?”
My explanation went something like this:
When you are born into something or somewhere, that is your home- because it just is. You were born there with no choice. You exist there. You may love it, or you may yearn for something more. I was very happy in America. I was very comfortable there. But I felt like something more was missing. So this past year, in a very quick 10 months- I actively made a new home for my family:
Together, we learned the language, the system, the culture, the routines.
We learned very quickly about Shaot Menucha- rest hours- that you may not make noise outside or the neighbors might yell at you from their porches.
We learned about the shopping carts that sway from side to side- and always in the direction you don’t want to go in.
I learned all the names of the store owners that I frequent on a daily basis, so that now when I walk in they all greet me by name.
We learned the bus routes- because we have yet to need a car in Jerusalem. My kids would beg to differ- but I’m loving the walking all over- especially after spending my summer driving for hours every day.
Most importantly, we all made new friends.
While we were in America- we truly enjoyed our time- with friends and family. We loved going out almost every night- but definitely didn’t enjoy paying for the exhaustion the next day. I loved knowing my way around without thinking about it. I loved that returning clothing to any store was not a hassle.
But, even with all the comfort that America has, in my heart, I missed my home- I missed what we created in such a short time. Because we created it- we worked hard for it.
It took weeks to figure out the supermarkets and the bus routes.
It took months to figure out the kids homework and feel comfortable with it.
It took time to get used to the metric system-figuring out the cost in shkalim by kilo!
It took time to figure out how to cook in small tins because my oven only holds the equivalent of two 9×13 pans at a time.
But that’s just it- we worked hard to make it work. To make it a home.
Do you know who else missed their home? Our children! They actually wanted to return! I was so nervous before the trip that they would be devastated to leave America again. But they felt just like I did. Ok, maybe it was also because they wanted a 5 shekel Coffix ice coffee. But even so, they willingly wanted to come back to Israel!
So that is why even in such a short time, Israel is our home. Truth is- it was my home before too, I just hadn’t lived here yet. And my friend might have been sorry she asked me what she thought would be a simple question. But I think she understood.
Happy One Year Moving-To-Israel Anniversary to us! Happy to be home!