Faire la fête

Last Monday, I got an email invitation for a Wednesday night party. Two couples wrote:

Hi all,

Its five years to the day, this Wednesday, since we made Aliyah with our families.

We’d love to raise our glasses and toast this milestone with our friends who have helped us so much along the way.

Please let us know if you can join us.

As I wrote two weeks earlier, everything is cause for celebration in this country. It is one of the many aspects of life here that appeals to me. In a land where war can erupt overnight and terrorism is an everyday word, people party. They make merry over the big and small.

But when I got the invitation it made me stop and reflect. We met these particular friends five years ago when we, too, had arrived—for one year, our year of living differently as I had so aptly called it. In the end, it turned out to be the year that changed everything: when our Israeli-born son discovered the meaning of coming home and when my French husband realized he could no longer live in America. It was the year we reached a major compromise: Philippe and I agreed that at the end of our experience we would return to New York for three years, for the kids to each reach their major milestones, and then once again pack up and turn back around, permanently.

And I am sure everyone can recall: I didn’t want to come.

It is now mid-July, and we have spent almost a full year in our new Israeli home.  In that short time, I have found a friend to go to the movies with on Saturday mornings, opened up my own yoga studio and joined a writing group. I have joined an English-language networking group, started a weekly yoga teachers’ practice and taught a memoir writing course. I have rekindled old friendships and made new ones.

The first yoga teachers' practice at my studio in November

Students in my memoir writing class at my dining room table

Friends who knew me and my struggle with the move call and email, asking the same question, “Are you happy?” Happy isn’t the answer, I say. Rather, I am calm inside; I don’t second guess myself or blame Philippe. I have chosen instead to be content, to accept my life as it is.

Bolstered by everybody’s words of support over the past few years, I have come to this extraordinary country with my eyes wide open, determined to see the bad as well as the good. And as I initially wrote in my first blog post, I packed everything I knew I needed to bring—wrap sunglasses, SPF 60+ sunscreen, a Nook—along with the things I’d never brought to Israel before: a sense of humor and an open heart.

Being back in Israel’s party culture 23 years after we first met reminded me that Philippe and I used to love to throw parties when we lived in Haifa as young newlyweds. So since it’s summer and our girls aren’t around, since we’re closing in on a year here in addition to our birthdays, we decided to host a party before I leave on Thursday. A lot of our friends have already taken off for the remainder of the summer, but we are moving ahead with a belated Bastille Day fête on Tuesday night. If you can come, please dress up in bleu, blanc, rouge and be ready to gorge yourselves on savory and sweet crepes and waffles, baguette, cheese and wine. 

Bon voyage if you’re going somewhere. Next time I write will be September 2. Enjoy!

 

Glossary

Faire la fête = to party, to have a party

Aliya = immigration to Israel

bleu, blanc, rouge = blue, white, red

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23 Responses to “Faire la fête”

  1. Mom/Grandma Marianne July 17, 2012 at 3:34 am #

    Terrific! I am personally very proud of how you have come to accept your life and see all the positive aspects. Friends have asked me how you are doing and I say you and the girls seem to have adjusted. Now I can forward this to them and they will hear first hand! love, Mom

    • Jennifer Lang July 17, 2012 at 11:26 am #

      Thanks, Mom! xo

  2. Cheryl July 17, 2012 at 4:03 am #

    Quelle domage! I missed your Bastille Day party. And I even know the words to The Marselleise. Next year, maybe. Thank you for this lovely blog…your words are filled with such maturity and knowledge. I appreciate your insights about parties/celebrations in Israel. See you at yoga in White Plains.

    • Jennifer Lang July 17, 2012 at 11:26 am #

      See you soon indeed. I cannot wait! xo

  3. Lauren July 17, 2012 at 4:23 am #

    You are a rock star Jennifer!

    • Jennifer Lang July 17, 2012 at 11:27 am #

      I am rocking out especially thinking about getting on that plane….xo

  4. Jeanette July 17, 2012 at 6:33 am #

    Hope you had a great party. I can’t believe I am going to miss you in Israel. Do u plan on coming to cA?

    • Jennifer Lang July 17, 2012 at 11:27 am #

      No CA this trip. Not sure of next one either. Have an amazing time here. Remember, it’s super hot!!!! xo

  5. Amy July 17, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Love you!!

    • Jennifer Lang July 17, 2012 at 11:25 am #

      Right back at you! xo

  6. Doris Fankhauser July 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    We should celebrate 4th of July here again to celebrate your arrival. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

    • Jennifer Lang July 18, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

      Or we could just celebrate? Who needs a theme and an excuse? See you soon…

  7. Barbara Liss July 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    Jen, you have made a lot happen in your short time there. Very impressive.

    • Jennifer Lang July 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

      Thanks, Barbara. I feel like it’s been a long year with lots of the usual ups and downs, but this blog challenges me to keep seeing the good and it makes the time go quicker. See you soon!

  8. nina July 17, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

    Jennifer-
    Perfect writing – the bookend of the story….very much enjoyed your writings – thank you for sharing, Nina

    • Jennifer Lang July 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

      Thanks for reading, Nina. It is so nice to stay in touch via our writing.

  9. Laura G. July 18, 2012 at 2:55 am #

    Jennifer, you are such a magnificent writer!! I am catching up on all your past blog entries. I wish I was closer by to take your memoir writing course, although I don’t know that I’d have the courage you did to make such a huge geographical change in your life! It’s amazing how much you have done in just one year!

    • Jennifer Lang July 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

      Hello, hello, voice from the past. I saw your mom and Paul a few months ago and it was so nice to catch up and hear about everyone. Thanks for joining me on my journey. Love to your family.

  10. Shuli July 18, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    Glad to have you back. Thanks for a wonderful party! Le gaufres avec fromage et champignons ….. Forget it. OK I need a French lesson or two! Have a fab trip.

    • Jennifer Lang July 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

      Thanks, Shuli. Happy to be here and to get to know you better–and work with you–this time around.

  11. Carol (Kornfield) Ferguson July 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    Hi Jennifer,
    It was wonderful to read your blog- I appreciate your honesty about the move and am amazed at all the new endeavors you have taken on since your arrival in Israel one year ago. Wising you all the best!

    • Jennifer Lang July 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

      Thanks, Carol. All i can say right now is I am in NY, first time since we moved, and it feels great to be here… Be well!

  12. Joy July 24, 2012 at 1:03 am #

    I agree with Leauren (even though I dont know her) that YOU ARE A ROCK STAR! You have done such a terrific job acclimating and making Israel a better place because you are in it!

    Respect and Love,
    Joy

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