Ask where I’m a local

One rare video that I could totally related to. My forging of identity didn’t depend on my parents, since they never had any wish to move to another city or country, neither my identity was forged by copying other people’s life styles–say, everyone in China who is considered a good student should have some sort of studying aboard experience, it is rather from books I read, and what’s more important, my own choices.

The video reminds me one specific place I could call myself a local: Herzliya. Starting from the big black Herzl up to the hill, the city Herzliya begins. Divided into Herzliya Pituach and Herzliya the City, modern or conservative is easy to tell. When people heard Herzliya, they say, woah, you are rich. But I don’t live in Herzliya Pituach where the residence of all kinds of embassies are. Tel Aviv is not far, so its bubble-sized shade completely violates Herzliya’s existence. There is IDC, Interdisciplinary Center, where the most Americans come to study in this over priced private college. All the offices are using Mac, teaching is considered top notch. All kinds of figures made from green landscape are spotted in every round-about in Herzliya. I heard it’s because of a female major. I already like her!

There is my favorite restaurant, Asian as always, due to my ultimate love to noodles. It’s hard to think about those days that I had to make decision of leaving, leaving for good. Because one small tiny thing that I will miss is: when I walk into ChinaClass, Shahar the waiter will already started to put my order — seaweed salad, fried calamari, and 6 shrimps. That’s what makes one a local. At the last day, I got a free salad as the gift. Bitter Sweet.

I can never relate myself to Tel Aviv. It was the place I worked, but I always return to Herzliya. Maybe I don’t get enough chance to know the famous Tel Aviv night life at 2 a.m., but WE got Dolly Parton! The best Schwarm place is called Jamal, where decade ago it was bombed by terrorist. The shop is red, still tons of people go there, bombs do not scare people away. Israel is a very tiny country, where it gives you the illusion of knowing every big city: Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem etc. Later on I realized, it will always be Herzliya.

In the first “conflict” in 2012, I only ran to the shelter once in Tel Aviv University. That was sort of ok. I felt safe at home. But in 2014, during the 50 days “conflict”, my whole world was shaken, one of the reasons was I have to run to the shelter in Herzliya, many many times, in the city I lived. There is one 6 a.m., one 6 p.m., and numerous I don’t even remember. That’s the feeling of getting attacked at home. O, Herzliya was like my home.

The rainbow beach, the empty-yet-full highway on Yom Kipurr, the beauty salon downstairs, the quiet Shabbat, the storm that breaks umbrella, the Sokolov and Ben Gurion.

One day, on my way to work, I finally had the chance to take a photo of that elderly lady. She’s always ahead of me, with a parrot on her left shoulder. 7a.m. in the morning, that’s all what I expected. Life goes on. When I was young, I had a whole family of parrots, green father, blue mother, they had five kids — four green, the youngest was blue. I saw how they knocked their lives out of the shell, I saw how they developed four different birsonalities. Then, life goes on. I don’t feel like a local any more in my hometown, and it is me who has changed. But memory lives on, stories pass on, childhood continues on.


Here are some quotes from the video.

  1. You can take away my passport, but you can’t take away my experience.That I carry within me. Where I’m from comes wherever I go.
  2. We can never go back to a place and find it exactly where we left it. Something, somewhere will always have changed, most of all, ourselves. People.
  3. Finally, what we’re talking about is human experience, this notoriously and gloriously disorderly affair. In creative writing, locality bespeaks humanity. The more we know about where a story is set, the more local color and texture, the more human the characters start to feel, the more relatable, not less. The myth of national identity and the vocabulary of coming from confuses us into placing ourselves into mutually exclusive categories. In fact, all of us are multi — multi-local, multi-layered.