Hanukkah and new traditions with new friends in new places

Last year I wrote an article for Inland 360 about Hanukkah and what my friend Rachel taught me. I’ve always been interested in Jewish traditions despite not being Jewish myself. Since moving to Portland, my interest is even more. I’ve made many friends who are Jewish and watching them as they celebrate the new year and Hanukkah makes me want to be a part of it. And no, I’m not converting. If I’m being honest, I’m in a bit of a religion break at the moment. Faith can be a tricky thing sometimes.

(I’ve been made fun of for this, and say what you want. I don’t mind.)

I’m so thankful for friends who invite us into their lives and don’t think we’re weird or strange for wanting to learn and take part.

I’m even more thankful for friends who do things like throw my kids a Hanukkah party . DUDE. Jenna is amazing. My kids absolutely adore her and Isaac is just as good. They put SO much time and effort into an incredible day and my kids had a blast.

Photo Dec 17, 2 09 46 PM

(there’s me and Jenna)

She made latkes and donuts.

We played dreidel and ate our weight in gelt.

Photo Dec 17, 2 24 18 PM

We made menorahs and learned a couple prayers.

It was the best time.

Photo Dec 17, 3 21 49 PM

 

Do you know what it feels like to start over? To move somewhere completely new and put yourself out there, hoping someone will accept you and your family with all your quirks and weirdness but all your love and authenticity too? I know a lot of people know exactly what it feels like but we are experiencing this really strange and scary feeling for the first time. In the last couple months there have been friendships that haven’t carried over from our valley life to our Portland life and while that might make me really sad, I’m able to look at our Portland life and see the amazing people we’ve met here. Jenna and Isaac, who are always happy to see us, hug our kids, and be there when things might be hectic or hard. Mitch and Molly and baby Max who are so kind and friendly and always make our days happier. Chad who is freaking hilarious and freaking fun and just a solid friend. So many more.

I remember thinking to myself before moving, “I’m just going to not make any friends because it never turns out the way I think it should and I end up being sad no matter how hard I try. Remedy: no friends.”

That didn’t happen, I made friends. Really great ones.

Being here reminds me that the world is really big, something that was easy to forget before. It reminds me that things work out even when people doubt you and your choices and that happiness is more than a paycheck and a big house. Our little neighborhood is full of different people of different colors and different faiths and different sizes of paychecks and no one cares one bit. To me, that’s important.

There’s that guy who walks his husky and hates our Italian Greyhound. I’m not sure he really likes us much.

But other than that, we feel connected to the people here. We feel the vibe and if that sounds weird to you, maybe you haven’t found yours yet.

 

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