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I just got home from taking my sister to the airport. Her visit, which had me both excited and nervous, ended up being really really great. She was significantly more easy-going and relaxed than I expected her to be and she seemed to really enjoy getting to see Israel, my life, and meeting my friends. I really couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Sure, there were little things here and there that annoyed me, but we’re sisters and all that is normal. The bottom line is that the trip was so good and it was much-needed spending such positive quality time with her.

My sister’s being here brought up some unexpected emotions in me. People tell me how brave I am for moving to this “foreign” country all alone without any family. I never agree with them, because in my mind it doesn’t require bravery to make the right decision for yourself. Now that I’ve had family here for the last 10 days, for the first time in two years, I am beginning to understand that deep down, I really do miss my family. It was so nice having someone here who already knows everything about me, the way family does. Someone who, despite being so different from me, understands me on a level only siblings can achieve. Now that she’s gone, I’m feeling the absence of family and it hurts more than I thought it would.

But, as much as I want to ball up and cry, I can’t bring myself to. I tear up, my bottom lip starts to quiver, then I take a deep breath, blink back the tears, and push the sadness aside. I feel like I have to be so strong, so tough.

I have amazing friends here, and even my sister commented on the quality of those closest to me. Specifically, Ben, Ben’s brother, and my friend who lives in the North. She remarked on more than one occasion about what good people my friends are and how happy she is that they are in my life. She went so far as to say that to her, they seem like my family here. And she’s right, to a certain extent. But sometimes, even with them, after being sad for a brief moment I feel like I need to push the sadness aside and move forward. I don’t want anyone feeling like they need to take care of me and that’s what sadness elicits.

I just want to cry, but I can’t. So I make a statement that covers my general feeling and then I change the subject. It’s a flaw of mine, being too guarded, but family is who you turn to when you are feeling vulnerable and I don’t have any family here. Not yet, anyway.