Nun, gimmel, hey, shin...the letters on the dreidel in America. They stand for nes gadol haya sham ("A great miracle happened there"), and they also tell you how many pieces of gelt you've won or lost when actually playing a game of dreidel.
The coolest thing about being in Israel for Chanukah (other than making sufganiot from scratch in class last week) is realizing that I'm "there". Dreidels in the HL don't have the letter shin, they have the letter pey, which stands for the word po. "Here". A great miracle happened here.
While I'm really sad about not being with my family for Chanukah, I find it thrilling to be "here". That said, this will be the first Chanukah of my life where I won't be lighting the chanukiah with my parents and brother. I'll have to sing our songs to myself. And this year I'm using a different chanukiah. Liz's parents gave me a beautiful chanukiah that had belonged to Liz, and I brought it with me so that she could be with me when I light them. It's something else that makes this Chanukah so different from the ones before.
It would be very easy to be a bit down about being so far away, between missing my family and missing Liz. Somehow, though, the change from sham to po is making the entire difference. It reminds me how special Israel is, and how lucky I am to be here for this year. Nes gadol haya po...