[Originally written on 5/10/16 between 5:00PM and 12:50AM EST]
I am sitting here in this airport and a mixture of emotions are sitting in my stomach and my throat. They’re all blending together, becoming indiscernible in their shapes and colors. This will be the first time in a decade that I will be going back to my old home. I’m filled with excitement but it’s diluted by anxiousness.
Since booking my tickets to this trip about a month ago, I’ve come to realize that I see my old self in Israel as a completely different person than the person that I am today. Of course, my self today is built on top of the deep foundation of my self back then.. but in my mind, there is a stark break between the two —a concrete break in my timeline.
I believe this is because when moved to the US at the age of 15, I knew that going back will take time, and that I left a lot behind, many people I love and loved. And now that I think about it, a big part of me still feels like my family has let my grandparents down. They risked their lives, and left everything behind in order to come to Israel, a new country, so their families will be free in a land that is their own. Then my parents immigrated to the US for those exact same reasons yet left family 5000 miles away.
And so, instead of keeping up with the sadness of distance, the frustration of disconnect, and the shame of this supposed letdown, I just broke away. On top of that there was also the challenge of figuring out the US —moving presented my with all sort of questions about my identity and personality that were extremely difficult to overcome. So, I took a plunge into the deep end of the pool, head first. I fully embraced my American experience, immersed myself in red white and blue, and blended in quickly and quietly. I I didn’t want to think about the past, but rather focus on where I was and where I was going.. I created a new me, because living as my old self in a new country was just too painful.
I did not think that in this very moment I would be flying at 560 miles an hour back to my homeland, and my brain and heart are still trying to process all that this means. With that, however, I know that I want to make this a meaningful trip. I don’t want to get caught up in insignificant details, I want to embrace this opportunity and set myself the intention to connect with my heritage, my culture, my family, my self. I hope that reconnecting with all these elements will help me become a more complete, authentic person.
Right now, over the Atlantic the sky is black and perhaps it’s the lack of light pollution or the fact that there is no ground under me, the stars seem shine so bright in a way I have never witnessed. Their coalescing brings out shimmers of white, baby blues, and gold into the lush blackness. Soon, daylight will rise and I will meet the sun again. The same sun I left in the US will comet to greet me in Israel, reminding me that it’s time to get reacquainted.