July 16, 2004

We've Been Replaced

1 year ago and 1 week ago I and my family left our house in NJ and headed for the airport. We were excited, happy, clean and refreshed and at least I was bouncing off the walls. We were headed to Israel; a place I had dreamed I would call home for almost all my life. Almost 24 hrs later, dirt, exhausted, but still excited and happy, we walked up to our new front door, inserted the key, and were home.

There was so much to learn; who everyone was, where everyone and everything was. What the woman who helped bring us to this Yishuv meant by "2 unfinished floors" (no stairs, nothiing but the outer walls, and no floor, just rubble.)

I couldn't believe how far the makolet, grocery store was from us. It seemed miles away! We have to walk about those stairs each day? That hill? Where was the bakery everyone was talking about? The pizza shop? I couldn't even converse with a five year old! HOW WERE WE GOING TO MAKE IT????

But we were home. People showed up at the door with gifts and words of welcome. Two days later I couldn't have told you who they were. But we were home.

In every fiber of my being I felt it; home. Rooted. In the right place at the right time.

I fit.

And I never want to leave here. I want to buy this house, fix it up, and someday cede it to my children or grandchildren. I want to watch it grow and talk about the old days, when it was still relatively young (20 years old). I want to grumble about politics, vote on the council. Grow old here.

This is my place. And I have never been so happy in my life.

Yesterday I met one of the new faces in town. She has 6 children, two of them my daughters age.

She looks tired, confused, and overwhelmed. And incredibly happy. She probably won't remember my name tomorrow, despite our having sat at a bench and talked for 1/2 hr while watching the kids play.

But she is home. I can see it in her face. The satisfaction and the hope, overwhelmed and in utter disbelief that she and her family made it.

I've been replaced; I'm old news. I'm the greeter now.

Welcome home everyone, welcome home.

(and I couldn't leave you without a link, could I?)

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