Feels Like Home / Erica Mitchell, Yahel Social Change Program Participant

View from Backyard of Yahel House

It’s another bright and beautiful morning here in Gedera. It is November 4th (my birthday) and it feels like summer. Luckily, summer is my favorite season so I have nothing to complain about. My roommates have also taken it upon themselves to continue the tradition (starting with Samantha’s

Walking down the stairs to Shapira, a route taken at least 3 times a day

birthday) of buying breakfast pastries from the local bakery…again, not complaining! Having only been in Gedera (and Israel in my case) for a little over a month it might sound strange to already use the word “tradition”, but Gedera has already began to feel like my long time home. No matter where I travel, whether it’s a big (party) city like Tel Aviv, a cultural and historical city like Jerusalem, or a beautiful beach town like Hof Dor, at the end of the day: it feels good to be home.

Our cat, Hatool. Side note: cat in Hebrew is pronounced “chatool” not to be confused with the American pronunciation “hatool” which is her name.

Following a long and fun filled weekend of travel, pulling in towards the shawarma places that line the highway in Gedera just feels good. The good feeling does not only stem from the fact that I love shawarma or that grabbing one straight from the bus is convenient, although both are true, but these landmarks have become images of home to me. Seeing the familiar streets lined with well-known shops I am able to unwind and recognize this feeling as homecoming. After being away from Gedera all I want to do is get back to my tiny cot in my eight-person house and see our adopted (yet outdoor) cat, Hatool (had to throw Hatool into the blog). The feeling of being home is a nice feeling and I am happy to say that I feel that here.

David leading the way to the shawarma spots

Walking through Gedera, and more specifically the Shapira neighborhood, has started to feel comfortable. I see people I know and I finally (for the most part) know my way around. Everyone greets each other with a friendly “Shalom, Manish Ma” and is genuinely interested in making that communal connection. I have friends in Shapira and coming home to them is exciting.I have responsibilities that I value and a place within the day-to-day life that feels uniquely mine. I have a life here now and it is one I miss when I travel.

 

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