One of the hardest things about being away from home (and this was true when I left Boston) is celebrating the holidays that are the most important to me. They are not so important because of the day itself, but because of the traditions that I have grown to associate with those days.
When I was in my mid-twenties I discovered that I did not have to be afraid of the kitchen and actually enjoyed cooking in it! Thus I decided one year in California that I would host a Rosh Hashanah dinner, starting a new tradition of celebrating a beloved holiday with friends and family.
This year was doubly special because I also was invited to a friend’s family’s Rosh Hashanah dinner. So on a very wet, rainy Wednesday night I stepped into a brightly lit, joyously decorated house filled with red apples and honey, carrots, and pomegranate seeds. My friend’s sister greeted me heartily at the door, wishing me a Shanah Tovah as her husband did the same. My friend spotted me, and with a big smile led me over to introduce me to her family members. Cousins, uncles, brother-in law’s best friends, children, how family is defined was as big as the table that was set.
I sat next to my friend and a wildly eccentric expat from New York, who when, I responded “I don’t know how long I’ll be in Mexico,” gave me the advice of: “You’re so lucky. You can just float from country to country. And if you’re feeling brave enough go even further down into South America.” When I expressed to her that I had lived in Brazil for a year she responded, “Oh! Well they’re even more outta their minds than here…I mean they’re sexy, happy, and just completely outta their minds!”
Two nights later, on an equally gloomy, super rainy evening ten or so smiling friends trumped up the three stairs and took off their muddy boots and left their wet umbrellas outside of my small, cozy apartment. We ate pumpkin stew, and traditional tzimmis and noodle kugel, challah from the local Jewish bakery (that much to my delight was open on Rosh Hashanah!), and of course honey cake for dessert.
Three years in Mexico–thank you to friends and family far and near for your continuous support and love.
Shanah Tovah- may your year be filled with sweetness, prosperity, and love.