The holidays (the major Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot) have ended, and with them the last of the school vacations until Hannukah arrives in December. It's been a long run, they take up the better part of a month with their assorted holiday meals, obligations, days off, and half-days off, with the odd work day squeezed in between. (Of course if you work per hour as I do you don't get paid if you don't work, so I didn't get much of a vacation as I kept having to squeeze my normal (thankfully part-time) hours into truncated weeks while the rest of my family enjoyed their time off. Bah humbug.)
We had a nice holiday season this year though. Lots of time spent together and with friends, enjoying each others' company and creating memories and shared histories. This is so important to me, particularly when it comes to creating traditions for my children, as our families all live back in the States, too far away to see more than once or twice a year. Our friends have truly become our surrogate family here in Israel and we are raising our children more like cousins than friends. It's comfortable and familiar and lovely, and best of all since we aren't actually related it's without all the family drama you often get. After many years of having nowhere to go and no one to be with for the holidays, there is something very comforting in discussing whose turn it is to host which holiday each year, knowing that I don't ever have to feel like an orphan begging for an invitation again. (When you're single, everyone is concerned that you might not have anywhere to be and rushes to extend an invitation. That concern magically disappears once you're married and people no longer think of you as on your own, but the lack of family in the area doesn't. Please, if you know any couples who have relocated far from their families, think of them this holiday season and ask whether they have somewhere to be. You never know, they might just be sitting home alone otherwise.)
Sheesh, this is getting off topic... Ok, back to this weekend.
We ended the holidays with a bang. Thursday night we had a big bash out on our roof (not as bizarre as it sounds, we live in a penthouse so the roof is a patio). We're lucky to have quite a few musician friends who love to get together and jam, and we're always happy to host. The music came together really well - at one point we had 8 people playing guitar at the same time. Oh, and one banjo, but he played quietly. Even Maya was impressed. The festivities went on until the wee hours, so Friday was mainly spent recovering. This morning it was back to hosting again though, as good friends came over for a hands-on pasta tutorial from Jay, who's become quite the expert on homemade pasta. I have to say, I could get used to guests who come over, do the cooking (not quite all of it - I did whip up some pretty tasty coriander pesto to coat said pasta), and then wash the dishes before they go! Later in the day it was a trip to the playground down the block and then a bit of homework in preparation for Itai's return to school tomorrow.
All in all, a very nice end to the holiday season, and we'll all head back to our respective routines feeling recharged. At least for the first day or two anyway.