July 4th is coming to an end and it was all-too-much of a regular day for me. Lately my days in Nahariya have consisted of either waking up, running then going to the beach, or waking up, going to the beach, then running. Today it was the latter, with a bit of baking thrown in there. I wanted to bake something because I felt that is what I would be doing if I were back in the states on the fourth, gearing up to go to a BBQ of some sort. Instead of making an American flag cake I made and apple coffee cake, but it was still baking. I also listened to Born in the USA multiple times throughout the day. I missed my would-be 11th annual Rexhame beach/Shanahan 3rd of July party with my friends from home, and I missed a frisbee tournament in Philly with a bunch of BC friends. (Sidenote: When I'm here my high school friends and BC friends area all "friends from home," it was funny to differentiate between them) Anyway, maybe it's good because I would have been so torn on which to do anyway! Last night I called Erin's beach house and talked to all my friends there, and I just got off the phone with all my frisbee friends who are now at a Pirates game in Philly waiting for their flight back to Boston. No too shabby, talked to about 15 people in two phone calls!
I have always found it a bit ironic (since my first visit to Israel in 2007) that being here makes me more thankful to be American than I ever was when I lived in the states. It is true that I am now also Israeli, but I know I will never lose my American-ness, either. I am aware that all of the privileges that I grew up with lead me to where I am today, and had I been born somewhere else I certainly may not be so lucky. All of the rights and freedoms that I was able to experience growing up have helped me to become the person I am, and have shaped many beliefs that I have as well. For these reasons and more I feel especially connected to the USA on this Independence Day, probably more so than all of the July 4th's I had before I left the country.
Lastly, whenever I use the term "home" or something of the like, my Israeli friends, particularly Daniel, like to remind me that I live here now, and that Israel is my home. I am well aware, and I do feel that Israel is my home, but I finally decided to try and describe how I feel about Boston/Whitman to him this weekend. It's where I grew up, spent 21 years of my life, where so many of my friends are, and maybe most importantly, where Momma and Danielle are. It's really hard to be away from friends, and I love and miss them a lot, but I came down to one thing specifically surrounding the word "home"...Wherever my momma is, that will always be my home. I think it's best to say that I have two homes, because that is truly how I feel. Momma, Allie, and Dani made me a great photo book before I left and on the front there is a picture of my house, 13 Jacob Lane, Whitman MA, surrounded by the quote "Home is where you love, home where your feet may leave, but never your heart." So Whitman, and Boston, don't worry, you'll always be my home.
Happy Independence Day USA, and thank you to all of those who have fought and are still fighting to protect all of our rights and freedoms...you're part of the reason why I am here today, ironically, and I truly appreciate it.