Happy holidays, everyone! At this point in the cycle, I’m trying my best to continue to enjoy them, but it gets rough, especially as midterms approach.
It’s been a crazy time in our household. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were spent travelling halfway across the country and back, but everything went off without a hitch despite my getting a horrendous cold the Sunday after Rosh Hashanah. Since we were with family, the day after Yom Kippur my mom held her birthday party. It was a few weeks early, but what better time to celebrate than when we could all be together? Besides, with turning 60, it needed to be special!
With all the travelling and staying a little extra for the party, we arrived home just 24 hours before Sukkot would start, and pretty stressed out. Sukkot had kind of fallen off the radar and now it was upon us, with no formal plans. I was worried it might turn out to be kind of a lame chag, but that’s not what happened. Instead, we were able to make it special, although pretty different from what we’re both used to.
Wednesday was rushed. I had made a meal plan the night we arrived home, but I was at school all day until almost 4pm. R, since the rabbinical school has Sukkot break, got the apartment ready for the holiday and went grocery shopping. With me still fighting the end of my cold and the weather report in NYC being pretty cold and damp, we planned to eat most of our meals indoors, hopefully after saying kiddush in the Sukkah at synagogue. We didn’t have guests or invitations.
So what made it so great? The simple things. First, we had a slew of new recipes to try out, all of which turned out wonderfully. From Thai Chicken Salad and Kashi Veggie Pilaf to Minestrone Soup, everything was delicious, and included a lot of fall vegetables, which helped us get into the “harvest” spirit, even though we were indoors and New York City doesn’t have a lot of fall foliage to speak of. Second, we spent the time to cook our meals together, enjoying the time as a couple, to reconnect after the hectic travel schedule and even just being away from each other for 10 hours at a time during our regular schedule. Third, because of the new recipes and the fact that we set the table the way we would if there were more than just the two of use, it felt special together and we made the meals last by talking or singing together, and teaching each other songs. I think it was the fact that we just took the pressure off. So what if dinner is at 9pm? We took our time cooking and it was fun, rather than a chore.
It was not the most traditional way to have Sukkot – afterall, there’s usually at least guests – but it was exactly what we needed.