When I got off the bus and walked towards the center of Sderot, I kept notice of every bomb shelter along the road. Ready at any time for huge sirens to go off screaming "CODE RED!". I passed a man who smiled happily to himself. People joked to themselves by a community center. A car passed me, with music blasting and girls singing on the tops of their lungs. If there weren't bomb shelters at every corner, I would have thought I was in the wrong town.

As I started talking to the residents, my trepidation and fear of entering this border town quickly dissipated. Everyone seemed so relaxed, I couldn't help but join them. The news anchors worked as usual. The journalists hung out in the restaurant across the street, smiling and talking calmly to each other.

A group of older men were all hanging out at a corner store. They looked at me, clearly not from Sderot with my jacket, bandanna and dreadlocks. Immediately, they understood that I was coming to interview them.

As I tried to discuss the rocket attacks with them, I couldn't help but feel as if I was getting nowhere. To them, "The situation is not new here, it has been like that for eight years... it is the regular situation."

And that's when I heard "CODE RED" for the first time. Except it sounded more like "code red". It just sounded like a women saying something sweetly in the air. It was about the time that the men grabbed me and took me into their store with them that I realized what was happening.

As I was pulled inside, I saw girls running towards a bomb shelter, screaming. But not screaming in fright. They were laughing.

After waiting for more than a minute, we realized that a rocket hadn't fallen. Or if it had, it was far away. And the men went back to their drinking and relaxing.

Confused by the bizarre combination of relaxation, insanity and rockets, I went to the Sderot Media Center, hoping to get some answers.

I talked to Livnat Shaubi, 24, who has lived in Sderot since she was born. She described her life here. I couldn't help but notice how normal it all was to her. She didn't flinch when she described how her brothers, "wet their beds, they are hysterical and very anxious".

Abnormality was normal to her. "Even when I go to sleep there can be a code red, and it is very unpleasant... It is not easy, very abnormal, but what can we do, this is life, we deal with it."

I had to delve further. I had to find out how someone could live like this. Let alone, a whole town.

I asked her if it was fair for Israel to attack Gaza, when so few have died in Sderot and the south, while so many have died there. She looked at me sternly, her voice very focused and strong: "We do not show blood, we do not show too much destruction. Maybe we'll show a woman lying on the ground, etc. We have censorship in Israel. We want to show that we are strong. We have a difficult reality, but we are not victims."

Suddenly, I understood. The people of Sderot, and the people of Israel, are looking deeper than the public relations war. They had given up on worrying about what others thought of them, because long ago they had come to accept that no one cares. But what became evident is that the people of Sderot refuse to sacrifice their dignity to make others feel sorry for them. They refuse to cry when rockets fell from the sky.

This truly hit home when I spoke to Yosi Klein, who works for "Magen David Adom" Israel's emergency ambulance service, and by his admission "the very most senior" employee in Sderot, where he has been working for 32 years. I've probably only met one or two happier people in my life. And neither of them had a job picking up body parts for a living.

Yosi talked with me cheerfully into the night, smiling as he said, "This is an abnormal situation in a country that wants to be normal."

I'll be honest, Yossi seemed to be the perfect embodiment of this. Maybe that's how he was able to stay so happy. As he pointed around the city center, he said, "Everyone here knows me, the citizens, the media. People here are warm like a family. I love it here."

As I walked into a small restaurant, I immediately felt the warmth that Yossi had described. The owner, clearly happy to have a customer, ran over to me and offered me practically his whole kitchen. I got a sandwhich, which apparently came with a side of a pound of olives, and sat down with the owner and one of his customers, a friend of the owner's, to watch the news.

Oh, by the way, another alarm went off. We huddled on the ground. No big deal.

I spent the rest of the night relaxing with the group of men, which continued to grow. As a new person walked in, he would be greeted with big grins and strong hand shakes.

By the end, I was surprised at how much I wanted to stay and hang out more. I decided, however, that looking into real estate in Sderot wasn't high on priority list at the time.

As I waited for my taxi to come and take me from this rabbit hole, this city beyond the looking glass, I reflected on everything that I had experienced that day. To be honest, unlike most of my "on the scene" reporting, this felt just plain... normal. But I was confused. Why was it so normal to me?

I was answered with an explosion. An explosion with no warning, no calm woman warning me. Just, nothing and.... BOOM! I looked around, shaken, and noticed that everyone was just as calm as before. A young couple rushed to a bomb shelter, as if it might have reversed time and stopped the explosion. Some people checked the news. But the rest of the people just looked around and then went about their business.

And then I realized that even I felt like this was normal, even though it was the first rocket attack I had experienced. And I knew why it was, immediately. After reporting on Beit Hashalom, I had become accustomed to grenades, explosions, and gunfire. The truth is, most Israelis have become accustomed to these things at some point in their life. As well as the possibility that they will be wiped off the map, either them as individuals or the entire nation.

So, why do we Jews come here? Why do we risk coming to a nation surrounded by a world that wants to destroy us? The answer can be found in the answers that every single resident I interviewed gave me, as for why they are staying in Sderot: "This is my home."

Whether we are Jews coming on our first birthright trip, or residents of a town getting pummeled by rockets, the answer rings truer and deeper than might be obvious at first. This is Israel. This is our home. And this is where we will stay, come hell, high water, or rockets.