Friday, July 6, 2012

Dear Home (Day 72),

Shalom Y'all! Samaech Fourth of July! Here's my little ode to the irony of this day.

Today was my first Independence Day outside the good old U.S.ofA. Quite a different experience for me, although all of the guys were used to it. haha I did miss my family traditions, but being here was actually more special than I thought it would be. Appreciating your country's celebration of nationality more when you leave it? Point #1 for irony.

Thanks to my excellent and thoughtful mother, the center felt festive with a little bit of decoration.

We had class...which was weird... :) but then I headed off to the Rockefeller Museum with my Hannah and my Natalie. Great fun; a pretty tiled courtyard fit for a princess; ancient rocks. Not exactly in the spirit of anything American...but the title of the museum is pretty deceiving, eh? At least we didn't go to the government building like we were contemplating...
          We wondered, as we ventured away from our little mooring, what situation we might be putting ourselves in by wearing outfits of red, white, and blue into a city seeping with politically and socially intense culture. Then, a women passed us and said, "Happy 4th! That is...if you're American.." Hannah's first reaction was: "An esoteric passerby!" I love my life.
          My favorite item there was an ancient 5th century mosiac with a "peace into Israel" blessing from Psalms 125 & 128. O Jerusalem and all your complexity...
         Also: a resurgence of love for Hannah welled inside me today. She's simple: meaning she doesn't need a lot of fluff in her world: she is happy and that's what is important to her. I love what she thinks of when she lets her mind wander, and also the instantaneous happy-thoughts she jumps into in the midst of my sentence. I love her attitude and unselfishness. I love that when I complain/contemplate that artifacts from certain sites are scattered all over the world, her first thought is, "Yeah, so everyone gets to see them even if they can't come all the way here!" Oh how much I still have to learn...

The three of us were going to be so productive in the realm of homework............until we found the Ludlows. (Shout out to Nat for her unselfish-volunteering-example. :) Thanks, girl!) Amazing people. Like always. Today was my second time into their apartment and I loved it because it feels like home.  The pictures of their family and church-things all over the place. Michael Buble playing while we chatted. Hannah harmonizing to "Homeward Bound" as we cooked. I love the Ludlows for their willingness to hangout with us and their welcoming attitude. It's still so cool to me to be so close to my professors and their families. Their two little girls are the cutest things ever. Gotta love my Luds-bonding time.

Next was our very own Fourth-of-July-BBQ! Last time Achman made us burgers, they were.................more like Israeli burgers then American burgers, so we were all a bit nervous. But the kitchen staff pulled through with tasty hamburgers, potatoes, apple pie, and ice cream. :) It was comforting to have our American food again, and picnic-style nonetheless.

:) We couldn't resist the great photo opp...
attempting to spell "USA" on the grass

John entertaining us.
Brianne...well...I'm not exactly sure what she's doing...


...and david being david

 Then it was time for some truly American fun: Minute to Win It game night. :) I loved great, crazy faces and willing, silly actions that game nights bring out. I think that classiness means getting your hands dirty on account of good, clean fun. :) 

To wrap up the night, we ate the cakes that Sister Ludlow made us. We sang the national anthem and for the first, I was hit very powerfully with a sense of awe in relation to that song. Why me? Why am I allowed to be here celebrating with this group of collage-aged kids in this little haven of the world? Why was I born in the land of the free and the home of the brave? Why was my government SO organized and wonderful? Why was my life so peaceful? I walked away with a true sense of gratitude for my homeland. And as much as I love this place, I'm proud to be called an American. It's very interesting that I came all the way here to feel that.

NEVERTHELESS, the most intense irony that weighed upon me today was the thought that this is home. And home is home. And I'm leaving home to come home soon. And I'll miss my home when I do.
Hannah and Alicia and I waited for the usual, nightly fireworks to be heard from the city. We were guessing that of course this would be the one night people didn't light them...but I think I heard one big boom as I made my way to our deep life discussion, before sleep overwhelmed us.

God bless America.......and pray for the people in this ארץ הקודש.   -Chloé


  1. i love this. i'm so glad you had a fun fourth of july :) home is where you're with people you love. so i think we have more homes then we even realize. just love people and home will be where ever you may wander. but you already knew that. love you a million and more!

  2. Love this post. You are so grateful - Thank you. We just read it to the boys and they started laughing at the end and said they were glad your "fireworks" weren't missiles! Love you!