What a great Shabbos this week! We were invited to a family two streets down for dinner last night -- quite an experience. She's from the States, he's from England and their five kids (ages 10 and under) are all sabras. We realized when we got there that we should have worn earplugs! The kids were all extremely cute and really, really loud. When you don't live with little kids it's hard to get used to the noise level that a lot of little ones make. But they were all very sweet and we enjoyed ourselves.
Today we had three families for lunch; there were fourteen of us. Lest you think I misled you about the size of our dining room, let me assure you that we could never fit fourteen people in that room. On Friday David put up a tarp from outside our front door, connected to the wall on one side and to the top of the fence on the other side. Then we set up a six foot and an eight foot table and put fourteen chairs around it. We couldn't put a tablecloth on because of the wind. Before lunch today David had to wrap twine around the table to keep the tablecloth on. We set the food up inside buffet style. We had such a good time! Miryam and Shaya across the street, our friends Lisa and Dov and their two sweetie pie children, and Pnina and Pinchas and their four teenagers all came. Pnina made extremely delicious challahs and also brought some lavender sorbet that she had made (from lavender that grows wild in the yishuv). David had asked me to make Mediterranean dishes from a cookbook he'd given me, and I have to admit that I had a pretty good spread: 3 kinds of shnitzel (honey-mustard, plain with spices, and cornflake coated), stuffed whole peppers (with couscous), sweet 'n sour baby onions, avocado/orange/tomato salad (without the avocados because they were still hard as a rock after sitting in a paper bag all week), really good eggplant salad, crunchy cabbage salad (okay, not everything came from the same cookbook), and some other things. It was unfortunately hotter than the forecast predicted, but I think I was the only one "glowing" because I was running in and out of the house so much.
After lunch the menfolk left, and Miryam, Pnina, Pnina's daughter and I taught Lisa how to play mah jongg. At 5:30 we went to a women's shiur very close by. That's really the only learning in English for the women on the yishuv and I've been wanting to go but it's been so hot since we moved here. Okay, fine. The אמת (truth) is that David and I have been playing mah jongg with Miryam and Shaya on Shabbos afternoons, but hopefully we'll play earlier in the day so we (the girls) can get to the shiur. There were about 15 women there and I knew 3 or 4 of them from visiting the yishuv before we moved here. Hopefully we'll get some more Shabbos invitations now. All of the women were close to my age and very friendly. I think meeting more of the English-speaking families who live here will help us feel more at home here.
Miryam and Shaya joined us for Shalosh Seudas, as they've done every week since we moved here. It's so nice to have friends right across the street.
Did I mention that Rusty came over to play with Emma today (the dog who weighs 150 pounds) and after he left, Choko (Pnina & PIncha' dog) came over. Choko is more Emma's size and they had a great time running around the yard and house. Something tells me Emma is going to sleep really well tonight!
As I'm sitting here, I'm listening to fireworks in Ramallah. This is the third night in a row. On Thursday night it went on for at least four hours, and you could hear music and shouting, and some of the noise could have been gunshots. They were talking about it at the shiur today. Apparently there are a lot of weddings there, and they shoot off guns and firecrackers. As long as they're not lynching Jews, I guess I can live with it.
Have a great week!