In Between Home and Home
By: Juan Martinez, Summer Fellow, Pennsylvania State University
I checked my phone last night when I got a notification from Delta Airlines telling me that my flight from Tel Aviv to New York City was departing in less than 7 days. It hit me, in that moment, the one thought I have been avoiding all summer, hit my head like a big, fat wooden bat: the Fellowship and my time in Israel are quickly coming to an end. From dancing bars, crowded clubs and start up work in Tel Aviv, to Druze villages, Christian towns and meeting amazing Arab entrepreneurs, these past nine weeks have been the best of my life.
I read an article my freshman year about the downsides of studying abroad, obviously as an international student, it piqued my interest. It didn’t really click back then, but as time swiftly passes by, it is starting to make more and more sense. The article read: it is hard to come back home, after so many experiences, memories, and people you’ve met during your time away; how can you come back after you made the place where you spent what will be the greatest times of your life- your new home. That is the price you pay for living. You leave a piece of your heart everywhere you go, in every place, with every person, making all these places home, and making home never fully home again.
I have felt my heart pounding many times this summer, with excitement, curiosity, melancholy, even some sadness, but mostly love. Israel has given me new friends, old friends, beach days, raunchy parties, Ben Kriegsman’s writing – which I will most certainly read on long rides back home to get a good laugh – and a new place I can call home. Home will indeed never be home again, not in Ecuador, not in State College, because every person that I’ve met, every place that I visited, in what I can confidently say might be the best country in the world, has a piece of my heart. Home is here now and I will always be somewhere in between homes.