Monday, August 8, 2011

Where is Home?, Part II

I define home as “the place I lose my cell phone.” I think that’s because I lose my cell phone in places that I am comfortable in—I just put it down…and eventually find it again (which is why I almost always have my phone on the loudest ring, because that way I’ll hear it when I am trying to find it).

As an olah, I have had the opportunity to acquire a few new living spaces over the past year and a half. The first was where I went straight from the airport when I made aliyah. The next was my apartment (dorm) in ulpan, and the third is the apartment I currently live in. Home is where I can go and I don’t have to give any explanations of why I’m holed up in my room and just go out to get something from the kitchen or go to the bathroom. Home is where I can go over to my family members/roommates and say, “I need a hug.” Or “I just need to be alone.” Or don’t necessarily have to say anything, but they just understand.

Home is where I go when I need to be with family, either biological or adopted.

Home is also a country, a city.

I’m American, and more than that, I’m a New Yorker, a Bronxite. I am a Yankee fan by heritage/birth, and Brooklyn is the enemy. Staten Island is closer to New Jersey than to me, and it’s not New Jersey, it’s just “Jersey.” The city, meaning Manhattan, is always “downtown,” and when I go back to the Bronx I go “uptown.” And, no, I don’t know “Jenny from the block.” My neighborhood is not bad—while the entire Bronx may have the reputation of the South Bronx, it is not the entirety of the borough and I do not fear my life when I walk out of my house. The MTA manages to screw up half of the subway lines on a weekly basis, and does unbelievably stupid things with trains that run on the same lines, such as not running one of the trains "due to track work." Or running a shuttle 5 train from the first stop to a transfer stop, then a train from the transfer stop to another large stop where they're running the 5 train (please note, the train that is between the shuttle and the second large stop runs on the same tracks as the 5).

I’m Israeli, a Jerusalemite. I live in “the bitzah” with my roommates, and most of the people that I know in my area are Anglos. I speak fluent Hebrish and reply in whatever language I am addressed in. My TZ says I live over the green line, and I’m not scared to take 443 despite Egged not having normal bus service there. I know that the people around me want to kill me—what’s new? I am not scared to take the buses, nor to walk around my neighborhood at 2 am. At sunset I understand what “Jerusalem of gold” means and watch the orange-yellow light on the buildings as the sky gets dark. I hate the expensive prices on everything including food staples, the lack of really affordable housing, and the light rail that has managed to make congestion even worse. I love seeing signs in Hebrew (and the transliterated from English) and the sales (and jacking up of prices) of relevant products at holidays. And, of course, the holidays greetings on the packages and the buses—and they’re my holidays!

So where is home? Home is NYC. Home is Israel. Home is VV. Home is where you make it.

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