In Which The House Remains Quiet

December 7, 2014

The next morning everyone woke up really late. I came downstairs at around eleven for breakfast with Sarah, Moe and Ariella while everyone else remained asleep. Breakfast was delicious bagels with lox and cream cheese.  Eventually (almost) everyone in the house woke up, including Ben, who wanted to make a decent start on getting hope. Unfortunately for him Lily was still asleep.

After a while of chilling in the lounge, a bedraggled Lily came down the stairs. The majority of the words out of her mouth seemed to involve the word ‘coffee’. However, her collapsed state on the couch prevented her from making moves to rectify her caffeine deficiency. Eventually she recovered, and Ben inquired as to when they would be leaving. Lily and I caught each others eyes for a moment, from which I understood that the leaving wouldn’t be happening any time soon. Lily played on ‘Carlotta’, her ukuleke for a while, while Dani, Ben and I sat on the couch. Soon Dani left for coffee with a friend and wasn’t seen till much later.

The rest of the afternoon was spent between my algorithms textbook and in conversation with Moe and Lily alternately. As the day wore on, Ben became increasingly impatient to get home and do important things, and Lily gave us more and more exasperated looks as her strategies to delay him started to wear out. Just before Shabbat came out, Ben gave one final push and despite her efforts to stay longer, Lily was defeated.

With the two Gamse’s gone, the house was notably quieter. After Shabbat came out, we ordered Chinese take-away food (or ‘take-out’ as they call it here) and then afterwards I sat down to work again. The break was fairly productive but in my mind, should’ve been much longer.

The next day was the last of the break, and I woke up late for the final time. Ate breakfast, read some more, and soon it was time to leave. I thanked Sarah and Bob for their hospitality and hopped in the back for our ride back to Philly. Thankfully there was no rehearsal that evening, so after a bit more work and some food, I tucked myself into bed, attempting to get ready for what would be a really intense week.

In Which I Have A Really Wonderful Evening

December 4, 2014

I slept in late the next day after working hard the previous night. When I woke up I tackled another chapter of my algorithms textbook but was soon fast asleep again. Around lunchtime I woke up, had a bite to eat, and then started helping Sarah prepare for the evening’s meal. My primary task was to plate up dessert. I actually had quite an enjoyable time doing so and managed to set out the food in a most acceptable manner. Unfortunately I neglected to take pictures, but you can imagine cookies of different colours fanned out on a multi-layered platter. A little later in the afternoon Moe and Ariella arrived back from a black Friday shopping trip. Ariella had been successful in the purchase of a cut price pair of headphone, but the two of them were otherwise unencumbered.

After another hour or so of prep, it was time to get ready, so I showered and cleaned up my mess a little. Just before I had time to get into nicer clothes, the doorbell rang. Ben and Lily Gamse, Ariella’s step-cousins had arrived. I was soon introduced to them by Dani, and instantly struck it off with the two of them. Lily immediately came off as very jovial and on the bouncier side of things, very talkative and keen to meet people. Her brother Ben was slightly more reserved and a little older, but still an absolute pleasure to talk to. Seeing the two of them together and being so close made me miss my brothers Adi and Raph a lot, and caused me to look forward to a few weeks time when I would be home with them again for a few weeks. Shabbat came in soon, along with a slew of other guests, notably another young adult cousin Sarah, who was studying political science up in Vermont and Bob’s son Connor who I didn’t have the chance to get to know so well.

Dinner was really fantastic. Delicious food. Probably amongst the top two meals I had eaten since leaving home. Not only that, but having a crowd of friendly twenty-somethings up my end of the table meant I had a really great time talking to them. ‘King’ David, Ariella’s brother was in a great mood too, and all in all it seemed like we were having a better time than most of the adults. After a few hours, dinner died down a little and a few of us when over to the couches to chat for a while. Once most of the guests had left, Lily and Ben (who were staying the night), and Dani, decided to go to a bar to meet with a friend of hers. Predictably Moe, Ariella and I stayed home. For the next hour and a half, I tried to read more of my textbook, actually getting through a chunk.

At around midnight, Dani, Ben and Lily returned home. Every came downstairs again for a snack and noticed Sarah asleep next to Felafel and Peppers, their two Beagles. Apparently the temptation of a nap with the beloved dogs was a little too much! Similarly, Bob was asleep on a nearby couch. After most everyone headed to bed, Lily and I stayed up to chat for another hour and a bit, before both of us finally retired. I was enthused to have had such a wonderful evening and met so many people. I also really appreciated I had somewhere to go for thanksgiving with people who treated me as part of the family.

In Which We Eat, Drive, and Eat

December 1, 2014

With my backpack on my shoulder and Ariella beside me, we walked over to 39th and Walnut where her sister, Dani was waiting with her car. The drive was quite enjoyable, Dani had good taste in music and her friend from med-school that she was driving home was really nice. We arrived in the early evening at the Biser-Kravitz-Levine residence in New Jersey. We hung around for a while not doing anything in particular, and then when Sarah came home (Ariella’s mom) we had some dinner and then went shopping for ingredients for Thanksgiving ‘Sheini’. Some of Sarah’s friends unavailable on Thursday night, asked for a second night of Thanksgiving so a second night (‘sheini’ in hebrew) was being hosted at the residence. That night I was up late working on all my assignments, realizing that the due dates were closer than I had previously expected.

The next morning I was up at around 10AM. Got ready, had a nice breakfast and was soon prepared to embark on the four hour drive to Bethesda, Maryland, with Ariella’s family. The drive down felt like it took a while. I listened to Billy Joel, got a tiny bit of work done on my laptop, and napped. It was a welcome respite, having the opportunity to do nothing for a few hours, and though it may have not been the most riveting of car rides, the opportunity to stress less was most welcome.

At around 5.30PM we arrived at Sarah’s family’s home, where celebrations were already underway. Fancy¬†hors d’oeuvres were being served by a Peruvian waiter, kids were running amuck and Turkey symbolism was everywhere. Ariella had made some delicious food for her and I given that the food at the meal itself was not kosher. The meal was a good opportunity to meet some more of her family and hear a little of their history. Sarah was pleased to explain to me all the connections and a bit of back-story behind everyone that helped me to place people. Particularly interesting was the oldest lady at the table, who had made aliyah from Europe (moved to Israel) before the war and had served in the IDF as a driver during the 1948 war. She also wanted to know about my family and how we had come to emigrate.

Following dinner, we drove right back to where we came from. Another good four hours. However with my workload, I couldn’t afford to go straight to sleep, so got to it for another few hours before collapsing.

© 2012-2024 Shaanan Cohney