This weekend, for example! Friday night I was invited to IFE & AE's for dinner. That was awesome, because we've become rather good friends in the 7 months since I've met them, but for various reasons they hadn't had people (that I know of) over for a Shabbat meal yet. They have an amazing house, and make chicken with Terra chips. When a friendship is based around Shabbat meals, there's a certain extent to which it doesn't seem real enough until you've each been over the other's place, and I'm glad we've reached that point. Then, on Saturday, rather than just relaxing like I'd planned, RC had me over for a last-minute cholent lunch. I had meat twice this Shabbat, which I haven't done in as long as I can remember. Seriously, it might be 5 years since the last time.
Post-Shabbat, I decided to bail on a pre-Purim party because I had a big day today. And today! I went on a "Hidden Philadelphia" hike through tunnels and bridges in Center City that I didn't know existed! It was amazing! DS leads hikes every so often, and I've never been before, but I'm so glad I went. Actually getting out and doing something physical for once, triggering my latent sense of adventure, exploring my beloved city, and being social in a way I'm not usually. (Aside from when I go to retreats and conferences, most of my socialization happens with people I already know, at meals or services or smaller parties or whatever. I never go to bars or big parties, and rarely go to events I'm not running. Meeting new people! Outside my comfort zone! And liking it! What the hell!)
Afterwards, went to a Princess Bride viewing party (still one of the best movies ever). And then left when the movie was over to visit another friend and help teach her how to lead services (even though she basically already knew). Even that was fun and a bit of an ego boost -- apparently there's this skill that I not only have, but have strongly enough to teach it to someone else in a strong and coherent way! It felt amazing.
So now I'm home and exhausted, but wanted to take some time to write up about my weekend and the past month before it fades into the background.
February 3rd-5th I went to the Yeshivat Hadar reunion retreat. It was great to see a few friends from the summer! But I mainly hung out with friends I know from other contexts and who happened to also go to Hadar in previous years. It hit me just how many people I know, and the extent to which JITW played a role in all of the social networking I've done in the Jewish world over the years. Also, EmFish and I had a really important conversation, in which I basically cornered her (after months of warning) and asked her a bunch of theological questions I had that had been on my mind for awhile, and which I knew she was uniquely the right person to answer. It helped a lot with some religious issues I'd been having. Thanks!
During the next week I met the father of some friends of mine, who is now living in Philly part time. Glad to give him a little bit of an anchor here outside of work, when he doesn't really know non-Penn people at all. And then the next weekend was the start of BAM's week-long visit with me. Shabbat was nice, with a small Heymish and then Tikvah home-hosted lunches. And then on Sunday the 12th, BAM and I spent the entire day (for long stretches of which were joined by some other friends) at the US 2012 Curling Nationals! It was amazing; the culmination of my journey from an ironic curling fan to a casual curling fan to a real curling fan. So much fun in person! Not the least of which was because I developed a crush on Emilia Juocys.
BAM hung out here for the next week, including a Mates of State concert on Thursday, until the weekend of the 17th-19th, when we went to the NHC Chesapeake Retreat! Annually the highlight of my February/March, it was even better this time because a good dozen or so Philadelphians came, and it finally really felt like a critical mass of my home community was merging with my NHC one. It was also great, of course, to see non-Philly NHC friends. Staying up until 2:15am Saturday night singing and jamming and partying was unbelievably fun; I never want to do anything like that anywhere else, but 'peake is exactly my kind of party atmosphere. And then Sunday was about 40 people at the traditional kosher-meat Chinese lunch the day after.
Last weekend, the 24th-26th, was when outcastspice randomly visited! How amazing was that! And I had an awesome Shabbat dinner of 8 total people, for which I did all the cooking (with a little help from Spice), which I should remind myself is a hard thing to do, even if I still struggle with the cooking a bit. And then Saturday was Minyan Tikvah. It was, I think, the best Tikvah services ever. Really strong davening and singing along. And a good crowd for lunch after, to boot. And then Saturday night was the Heartless Bastards concert that I was more excited about than any concert in at least a year or two. It was great, even if it didn't quite live up to my expectations.
Concerts: 3 (Mates of State, The Wild Bohemians (a local Fat Tuesday supergroup), and Heartless Bastards)
Overnight guests: 3
Parties/meals at my apartment: 2 (monthly-ish game night too!)
Times eating meat: 4 (WTF? That's so much!)
Spectator sporting events better than the super bowl: 1
Times seeing out-of-town friends: Over and over...
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