Hannukah really came quickly this year. Right in the push towards the end of the quarter and suddenly... it's hannukah! It was the first night and I was studying in the cafeteria at school. (Our building is connected to the UCLA hospital.) I was just saying to my study group how it's the first night of hannukah when an announcement came on over the loud speaker. "There will be a Hannukah candle lighting at 5:15 in the chapel." I looked at the clock; it was 5:15. I asked anyone if they wanted to go check it out with me, but all I got were nos. So, after a minute of debating whether to go by myself or not, I went to check it out. In the little chapel there were just a couple people and a woman rabbi leading the celebration. I saw a sign posted in front - a picture of a candle with a big red line through it. And I connected that to the big electric menorah at the front. With the rabbi leading, we said the blessings and she screwed in the shammas bulb and the first bulb. It was nice to be with other people for the first night and it was amazing that just as I was beginning to wonder what I'd do the announcement came. Then, when I got home I said the blessings again with my whole family over Skype. Matt was in San Jose with Michelle, Shawna was in San Luis Obispo, Uncle Marc in Long Beach, me here in LA, and my parents in Humboldt. It was quite a production; we even sang songs! My second and third nights were quiet and a little lonely. But the fourth night was great! After work I hurriedly ran to the store on my way home to pick up a few things I still needed for my Hannukah party. The most important being Hannukah candles! And... they didn't have any at Trader Joe's or Vons! What was I gonna do?! All I could do was head home and hope that maybe along the way I'd go by some store that would maybe have some. I was quickly making mince meat of the inside of my lip as I chewed on it in worry. Hmm, Bristol Farms. Maybe they have hannukah candles left. Mis well give it a shot. And I lucked out. After weaving my way around the massive Christmas display I found the Hannukah table with a few boxes of candles left sitting next to the $40 Hannukah chocolates that no one bought because... it's hannukah and everyone knows gelt is much "better" (and at least 1/3 the price). Yes, I got my candles. I finished my drive home in a hurry to get the house cleaned and everything ready for my guests. When 6:30 rolled around and no one was here yet I began to wonder if anyone was coming. I knew at least two people were coming, but where were they? Then, my phone rang and they were lost and needed directions. And, it was a good thing they called 'cause Joni was outside wondering around semi-lost and followed my voice to the apartment. And, moments later Jodie and Mirna were there too. Together we made latkes and light the candles. Mostly, we just had a great time enjoying each other's company and unwinding for a stressful week. (204 final) Elani and her boyfriend Bob stopped by too. We chatted the night away and wrapped up quaintly with tea and banana bread ala Mirna. Even in my tiny apartment we all had a good time and I'm so happy it was a success.The corkscrew broke off in the bottle. But maybe pilers could do the trick.
Victorious Jodie and the cork!
Then, I just sat in the quiet watching the candles burn down and listening to the rain outside. It's finally been raining here... and I love it! In a week it's off to Santa Cruz and then up to Humboldt. I can't wait for vacation and to see Lukas and my family.
Today I slept in and then spent the day grading exams. This will be my lot for the rest of the weekend. Then it'll be on to studying and finishing up my application to UofW. Tonight, I light candles by myself and was surprised that I didn't get choked up when I said the blessings. Instead, I was really content and just enjoyed the moment as a time to sit back and just relax. I pseudo-light candles with the family's pictures around the candles.