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It's 5:30 in the morning and you're jolted awake by a BOOM! You want to stay in bed, but you know that staying in bed means being anxious in bed, something you can do perfectly well ten feet away in your roommate's room, the bomb shelter. So you get out of bed and rush to the bomb shelter with your third roommate, losing an AirPod in the process. It's somewhere on the floor outside the bomb shelter, but you're not sure where because the door is SHUT. Practically vacuum-sealed. 

You wait a few minutes, only to hear more BOOMS, until there's a lull. You strategically use the break to leave your room and go to downstairs to your boyfriend's room, which is also a bomb shelter. 

You crawl into bed with him, just wanting to go back to sleep. But there are more BOOMs and suddenly his roommates are in his room, the door slammed shut and it's four people inside a tiny box, not afraid of the BOOMs, but of what came before them.

Before the BOOMS there was a siren. But it wasn't like an ambulance - no, this siren was a woman's voice. It was calm. She repeated the same few words over and over again, indicating that you had eight seconds to seek shelter, before there was hopefully a BOOM.

Before the siren there was a rocket. The rocket came from Hamas. Or maybe Islamic Jihad, whoever was agitated by your government or your army or your people or maybe even you. Yes, maybe you did something so agitating that it warranted a 5:30 AM wakeup call by way of rockets and terror. 

But the BOOMS are good. The BOOMS mean that you're protected. The rockets are intercepted. You're safe from whoever is on the other side. They're not your enemies. They're not your friends, they're not your cousins. They're just neighbors. Some of whom seek the annihilation of you, your country, and your people, but what neighbor doesn't? 

The reality of living less than a kilometer from Gaza is this. It's random spurts of terror that infringe on daily life. Even when everything seems so perfect, in the back of your mind is always the location of the nearest bomb shelter. There are evacuation plans. Little girls sleep in bomb shelters so that in the middle of the night, they can stay in bed, waiting for the BOOM, instead of having to run. This isn't always war; this is living life with the threat of terror but managing to shine in spite it all.

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