No matter how exciting it is to move to a new place, no matter how much of an adventure it is, you will always have things that you miss from home.
Being with my family
There is an old Jewish proverb, “You don’t choose your family”. No matter how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ your family members are, your family is your family, and you don’t get to choose them.
When you are in your home country, you may not see your family on a daily basis, but you always know they are there; easy to reach and by your side in a moment’s notice. Having your family close by helps you to feel secure. Moving to another country brings emotions I didn’t know I’d have to light. When I was in Romania, I knew that I could get to them easily, now I need to take a plane in order to taste my grandmother’s cooking.
I had no idea how badly I missed my family, until I realized how often they were showing up in my dreams. When I sleep, I’m able to be with them – whether it’s in my childhood home, or walking around places in the neighborhood I grew up in. It’s like walking down memory lane without ever leaving my bed. The best part is I get to do this in my mother tongue, Romanian.
I miss the way my parents would nag me to put on a scarf, or I’d do anything to hear my parents tell me to stop talking on the phone for hours, or to take my vitamins when the season change.
Most of all, I miss spending weekends with my family – all of us getting together to have meals as a family, or watching movies late at night in the living room. I have fond memories of waking up late, eating breakfast with my sister, and then her and me spending hours and hours in front of the TV, drinking cup of coffee, after cup of coffee.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my life now and I am very lucky to have the life I have; however sometimes when I open my eyes in the morning, I wish that I was waking up in my old bedroom in Romania, with the smells of breakfast coming up from the kitchen.
Hanging out with my friends
I’ve made a lot of new friends since I’ve moved to Israel. I’ve met many wonderful people who make my life brighter, and sometimes even act as my family now. For this, I will always cherish each and every one of them. However, nothing can really compare to friends, which you’ve had since grammar school.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s those friends who you used to play with in front of your house and who you used to test the boundaries of your parents with. The people who know you since you were a child, and who bring out the child in you whenever you get together. They are those friends with whom you feel safe to take off your mask and to stop any phony role-play routine that you do every day to get by in front of strangers. You can be just yourself – the kid sitting in the 4th row of the classroom, with big green eyes, a ginormous curiosity, an immense love for life.
My grandmother’s food
I’m fine with admitting that I’m crazy about food! I like to try new restaurants all the time, but nothing comes even remotely close to the food my Grandma cooks.
I won’t make you drool over a list of her most famous courses, but instead I’ll tell you what I miss the most.
It’s not only the food; it’s the whole experience of eating her cooking. The smell coming out from the kitchen, the energy of having all the family members together, the way the table was set… Mostly I miss her smile, and the joy I could see in her eyes when everyone would tell her how amazing the meal was.
If you make me name one food that I miss the most from my Grandmother’s menu, it is for sure, her BIRTHDAY CAKES! The fruitcake and chocolate cake are from another world! We have a tradition that has been going on for almost 30 years! My Grandma makes both cakes for my birthday and my sister’s birthday, every year. Thank God our birthdays are really close to each other, so sometimes we got away with only one cake!
The spirit of the holidays – national and religious
I am lucky to be home for the winter holidays, but apart from that, I miss most of the important celebrations.
I am not only referring to the religious holidays. I’m mostly talking about national events like: the 1st day of school – when all streets are flooded with parents holding their children’s hand in one hand and flowers for the teacher in the other; the New Year’s Eve fireworks with champagne (unfortunately in Israel, New Year’s Eve is just a regular night which comes to an end at about 1 am); the 1st of March special pins or the flowers that all women receive on March 8th.
Also I miss that Romanians celebrate a lot of name days! Almost everybody has a birthday and a name day, so double the gifts, double the parties!
Speaking in my mother tongue
First off, I recommend that each of you reads “Lost in Translation”. This book is a deep and lovely one, which describes the feeling of living in a language, which is not your own, better than I ever could. Eva Hoffman manages to capture the very essence of the feeling of exile, in beautifully human terms.
…”The words I learn now don’t stand for things in the same unquestioned way they did in my native tongue. “River” in Polish was a vital sound, energized with the essence of riverhood, of rivers, of my being immersed in rivers. “River” in English is cold – a word without an aura. It has no accumulated associations for me, and it does not give off the radiating haze of connotation. It does not evoke.
The worst losses come at night […] I wait for that spontaneous flow of inner language, which used to be my nighttime talk with myself, my way of informing the ego where the id had been. Nothing comes. Polish, in a short time, has atrophied, shriveled from sheer uselessness. Its words don’t apply to my new experiences; they’re not coeval with any of the objects, or faces, or the very air I breathe in the daytime. In English, words have not penetrated to those layers of my psyche from which a private conversation could proceed. This interval before sleep used to be the time when my mind became both receptive and alert, when images and words rose up to consciousness, reiterating what had happened during the day, adding the day’s experiences to those already stored there, spinning out the thread of my personal story”.
I also miss the smell of snow, the autumn smell of cold and fog, the loud voices of children playing outside in front of my apartment, and last but not least, just the simple feeling that you are home.