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Little Pieces of Home

I love markets. You name it, I love it. Farmers markets, Shuk markolits in Israel, even supermarkets are some of my favorite places, but I fancy flea markets most of all. When I heard the Community Service Office would be holding its biannual flea market on campus, I talked my roommate and another friend into attending with me. At the sound of my alarm that Sunday morning, I sprang straight up in bed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to see what was in store.

Upon arrival to the market, I was pleasantly surprised by how many people were already there. The flea market is a community wide event which helps to raise money for both local businesses and for ongoing service projects at Arcadia. It started at 10 a.m., and by the time we arrived around 10:15, there was already a sea of people milling around what seemed like hundreds of different vendors. I was ecstatic! I live for these things.

I made a beeline for the closest table that looked like it had some good merchandise and began my adventure. I immediately found a beautiful set of silver spoons and a cute wall ornament with Marilyn Monroe on it, but when I remembered that I’m living in a dorm and not in my own home or apartment, I reluctantly put them back. I continued wandering around a bit aimlessly at first, but once I hit my purchasing stride, there was no stopping me.

My first purchase was a set of Frank Sinatra books. I grew up listening to Sinatra, often hearing his melodic voice drift into my bedroom through our drafty hallways as my dad played his music while doing the dishes. I knew all the words to “My Funny Valentine” by the time I was nine years old, and my love for him has not dwindled. The kind vendor offered the books to me for a whopping total of $5 (have I mentioned I love flea markets?), and I was on my way.

I was pretty much on a roll for the remainder of my time at the market. I got a stellar army jacket for $3 (yes, three dollars), two shirts, and my favorite purchase of all: a beautiful leather bag from Israel.

I had decided after some good deals and a long morning that I was done shopping when I happened upon a chestnut messenger bag with a long shoulder strap and a main compartment just big enough for my laptop. I picked it up and the little voice in my heart said, “Buy it!” but the louder voice in my head said, “You bought a bag yesterday.” Just as I was about to put it down, the seller came over and remarked that the former owner had bought this bag in Israel.

I spent a month in Israel the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. I fell in love with the culture, the language, the land, the history, everything, and in that month, Israel became home to me. You often find little pieces of home following you everywhere, as soon as you stop looking for them. Sure enough, I peeked into the bag and saw the tag inside was written in Hebrew. The fates had spoken. I gave the guy a ten dollar bill and walked away possibly the happiest flea market goer of the day. I’m already excited for the next market coming up in the spring. In the meantime, I’ll have to locate some in Philly to fill the void.

Arcadia flea market, you’ve done me well.