An Observation

I kept getting asked, “Are you excited?” “Are you scared?” “Why did you decide to do this?” “Whats your plan?”
And then it was ” Mazol Tov!” and “You are so inspiring” and “You’re so strong!”
And it was nice.
And it was fine.

It’s coming up on four months of me being Israeli, and I can’t help but notice that people have stopped asking. Have stopped congratulating.
Of course they would. Nothing is new forever.
The novelty wore off.
For them at least.
And realizing that made me begin to wonder – has it worn off for me too?
When I look at my Teudat Zehut, when I wake up every morning and go to work, when I go grocery shopping.
Is it less magical? Has it lost its spark?

I want to preface my answer with this:
I am hopelessly homesick. I want to go home. To my parents and siblings, to by grandparents.
To the snow. To my bed. To my car and my street and my language and I haven’t stopped crying in approximately a week.

So with that being said, the answer is this: Yes.
But not in the way that you might think.
When you first get here the prospect of buying bananas is mind blowing. It is magic. It has the spark. Because you don’t go grocery shopping on vacation – this is more than that.
Everything – the hard and the horrible and even the paperwork is just fine with me.
But four months in? Less so.
That spark, that magic, has left the produce isle.
But the thing is the answer doesn’t end there.

Not to long ago, as I strolled along – very lost in the streets of Tzfat – I felt a wild sense of “How did I GET HERE?!” mixed to a smooth blend with “It’s so good to have a home like this.”
There is no magic left in bananas. No more spark in bureaucracy.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s gone. It’s just shifted.
I no longer feel it in the places that I used to. Rather, I find it creeping its way into the air I breathe and I begin to realize that the magic of “living here” isn’t in the “living” part, but in the “here.”
The one thing that never changes. No matter what it is I might be doing.
The here part is the only thing guaranteed.
I miss home. And I often wonder what it would be like if I were to move back.
I know that there might even be that spark.
But in the “living”, not in the “here”, and when that fades, what do you have left?

About the Author
Jennifer Brenis currently lives in Kiryat Shmoneh where she is doing Sherut Leumi. She made Aliyah this past summer and plans to study at Bar Ilan next year.
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