As some of you may know, I’m flying to the United States in a week. I’m extremely eager for this trip, which, of course, makes the time move all the slower. I’ve been obsessing, planning and re-planning, mentally packing and making lists for days now – and with all that came the comparisons between here and NOT here. In musing about the differences between a country fraught with chaos, namely Israel, and a country fraught with a different sort of chaos, namely the US, I stumbled upon a very small but fundamental difference between the places. It’s something I almost never remember until I’m actually in the US.
When most of you walk into a grocery store, a theater, a mall, a cafe or any other public place – you just walk in. You open the door, and walk in. Here, it is not so. Here, there will be a guard. There is always a guard. There will forever be a guard. No matter what public place you enter here, you will have to surrender your bag, purse or back-pack to a guard’s cursory glance, their hands feeling inside it or weighing it to see how heavy it is. In places like the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, you’ll have to go so far as to pass your things through a metal detector. At the entrance to most malls, you yourself have to go through a metal-detector.
After being used to handing over your belongings everywhere you go, I’m always struck by how odd it feels in the US, or anywhere else for that matter, where you don’t have to do that. You can just… walk in. Incredible.
Whenever I hear an airplane buzz above my house these days, I turn my face to the sky and smile. Whenever I’m at work and have to answer customers’ questions about their purchases abroad, I smile as I read them the data. Whenever I look at the calendar and realize it’s the middle of March already, I skip over to April and smile some more. In two weeks to a month I will be on an airplane and I will be bored half to death on the long, long, long flight, but ultimately, the flight will end. I’ll get off the airplane and breath the (slightly) better airport air. I’ll walk to passport control, have my passport stamped, and then I’ll hear those words that they say every time my mom and I reach the US. They’ll say “Welcome home.”
I do love my home here. I do love my friends, and my tiny city, and Tel Aviv just a few minutes away with its beaches and cafes. I do love taking the ride up to cold Jerusalem, and I do love my time there with Sir B. F. I might sound as if I’m wild to begone from this mad country – that’s not entirely true. I just need a vacation. I wish I could take everyone I love with me, though.
I apologize for the very “bloggy” quality of this post – my mother and I are starting to plan dates, and so my mind is abuzz with the thoughts of open days in colleges and hotel prices and the fact that I’ll get to see New York for the first time ever. Plus, and almost more importantly than the college-scoping, I’ll get to go to BARNES AND NOBLES.
Oh yes. Book shopping and baggage-overweight -fees, here I come.