Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Happy Birthday to my Beloved

Today my Bryan can no longer say he is 30, but instead has to say he is "in his thirties".

Babe, my birthday wish for you is that someday, I hope I can make you as happy as you've made me, that I can make you feel as special as you make me feel, and that we both get to experience at least 89* more days like today (minus the food poisoning) - where all I can think is how lucky I am that your parents decided to bring you into the world and raise you into the miracle that you've become.

I love you forever.

* Based on the Jewish tradition that Moses lived until his 120th birthday, and therefore that is the maximum age for any mortal.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Meet the Fockers

Ever since we realized that our parents would have to meet, Bryan and I have been nervously joking about taking our parents to see "Meet the Fockers", the sequel to "Meet the Parents", about the hilarity that ensues when 2 very different sets of prospective in-laws meet after their children get engaged. Whenever one of our respective parental units would do something crazy or embarrassing, that set of parents (usually Bryan's, surprisingly) would be designated as "The Fockers".

So now that I had met my own future in-laws, and that had gone smoothly, the only thing left was to introduce my parents and Bryan's. I was even more nervous about this than about meeting Bryan's mother. Whereas I know I am capable of getting along with most anyone, one of my parents (not my mother, I'll give you a hint) is completely lacking in social skills of any sort, has no concept of what is appropriate and inappropriate to say (this same parent once made a racist Hispanic joke to my uncle, about 3 weeks after the same uncle had adopted a daughter from Costa Rica), and is given to shouting, talking with his mouth full of food, and stubbornly ignoring any sort of subtle hints from family members.

I figured the best way to cross this delicate line was to have the mothers meet beforehand, that way at least Bryan's mother would know my mother was normal. So, after my final on Thursday, the 3 of us met up and went bridal gown shopping. Instant success! The two moms bonded over which of the dresses they liked the best (all 3 of us actually agreed there). It was a bit awkward in the bridal salon, where the saleswoman asked me to strip down to my undergarments, in front of Bryan's mom, whom I had only met the night before. I mumbled something aloud to the effect of "How nice - you've now seen more of me than Bryan ever has" - a true and somewhat scary sentiment.

Then the moms and I went to go check out hotels to decide where to put up the out of town guests.

Bryan and I had a wedding to go to Thursday night, but thought that introducing the parents was more important. The chuppah was called for 7:30, so we figured if we did dinner at 6:15, and came to dinner dressed for the wedding, we could probably make it to the wedding right after the chuppah ended. Not too shabby.

My family arrived at the restaurant first. My parents, in a display of startling social skills, had already pre-directed the waiter not to let Bryan's dad handle the bill, but instead gave the waiter their credit card before the meal had even started. That way, all the waiter would bring would be the chit to sign, when it would be too late to argue over the bill.

I glimpsed Bryan's family approaching and that dreaded feeling of doom settled deep into the pit of my stomach. We started out the meal as my family sitting together and Bryan's family sitting together. Then Bryan's dad swapped with me so he could sit next to my mom, followed by Bryan's mom swapping with Bryan so she could sit next to my dad. when they started slapping each other high-fives across the table, and singing old South African songs (did I mention my dad is South African?). I figured we were home free. Of course, my dad then decided to share his favorite racially slurred joke, which did not elicit that much laughter. My mom made a swift recovery, though.

Eventually, Bryan and I realized we weren't so much a part of this dinner, as much as 2 people sitting at the kiddie table talking to ourselves, so we gracefully slipped out and made it to the wedding before the chuppah. We left the parents talking there for another hour and a half, over coffee and desserts. Apparently they even talked the dreaded wedding finances and everyone was in agreement and there wasn't a single issue there, either.

The next day, we took Bryan's parents to our intended wedding site. Although its pretty much too late now to change it, I did want to make sure my MIL was happy with the site before we proceeded forward. I was worried she would think it wasn't fancy enough (because we did not choose the most fancy place out there). When she got there she gasped....and said it must be the most beautiful place in all of Israel to get married and how much she loved the place, and how much her friends would love it. Success again.

About 2 hours before Shabbat Bryan realized he lacked plates, baking tins, and silverware, and thus, Shabbat lunch was moved to my house. Yikes! 2 hours, no ingredients, in order to make my future mother-in-law lunch! There was no way I could dazzle her with my cooking. So I settled for cleaning up the house well, putting fresh flowers out, and whipping up a simple but healthy lunch. Afterwards, I wooed her with bridal magazines. Its amazing, the power of the bridal magazines.

We also had Friday night dinner at my parents house, with Bryan's parents, where there was even more high-fiving, laughter and raucous singing of Afrikaans songs. Yet for some reason, Bryan's parents still weren't sick of my folks, and invited my folks out to dinner Saturday night as well. To the new Limonim restaurant. My review will follow, but I wasn't that impressed. Bryan's cousins (who are slightly older than my parents) joined us, and it was discovered that cousin Ian went to primary school with my dad! It was like a reunion. The 3 men (Bryan's dad, my own dad and Ian) sat at one end of the table talking the whole night, the 3 ladies sat together and talked about raising children and the like, and Bryan and I again sat at the kiddie table talking to ourselves!

I noticed at one point that Ian's wife mentioned to my mother about all the intermarried cousins. In fact, Bryan and I are breaking new ground. He is the first out of all the cousins from his generation (1st, 2nd and 3rd cousins) to be marrying a Jew. Anyway, when the cousin mentioned it, I saw Bryan's mom shoot her the same kind of look I had been shooting my dad all evening, the "please shut up - things were going so well and now you've ruined it with your skeletons in the closet" look. My mom must have noticed it too, because she then pointed out that my siblings and I are the only Jewish grandchildren my grandparents had, because everyone else intermarried.

Across the table, Bryan's dad (a lawyer) was sharing how he had recently bailed his daughter's boyfriend out of prison, after he got arrested for assault. I was worried my dad would chime in with the story of me bailing my little borther out of prison for assault (true story) but thankfully, my dad kept silent for the first time the whole weekend.

Tonight, we tackle the engagement party [if you are a friend of mine who has somehow not received the invitation via email, please call me or email].

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Mother in Law?

Despite having all my difficult final exams behind me (and passing them all with the exception of Gerontology), I was so nervous yesterday I couldn't actually eat.

I was meeting my future mother in law for the first time.

I cannot tell you how scared I was. Based on some presumptions, which Bryan kept assuring me were incorrect, I had created this person in my mind who would most definitely not like me.

I am a healthy weight, I am a curvy weight. I am neither fat nor thin. I am comfortable in my body, and have grown to love it. But my future mother in law is a woman at the end of the fifth decade of her life, has borne 3 children, is the same height as me, and weighs almost 10 kilos less than me. Her email address, as my own (plump) mother read aloud in shock and horror, is

You can see why I was afraid.

Here I am marrying this person's first-born child, we've never met, and I know that back in her working days she was a cosmetician and her email address describes a figure-type neither I nor my mother will ever reach. [Bryan later told me that "slim" is Afrikaans slang for clever].

So when Bryan's parents came through the Arrivals section at Ben Gurion last night, I was more than shocked. Actually, due to engagement eye and my own vanity, because I could not get my contact lenses in my eyes, but did not want to meet her wearing glasses, I was blind as a bat. So I didn't really "catch a first glimpse" of her - I had to wait until she was up in my face to see. She looks exactly like Bryan, just with a bit more hair. And she was nothing like the stuffy, over-coiffed, perfectly manicured talons, matching suit, pumps and pearl necklace mother in law I had anticipated.

The first words out of her mouth (after she stopped crying over the joy of meeting her eldest child's choice for a life mate) were, "The never told me how beautiful you are - you are absolutely gorgeous!"

As you can see, I really had nothing to be worried about at all.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Engagement Eye

I am having trouble writing this posting, as my pupils are currently dilated to the point that you cannot tell what color my eyes are. Forgive the typos.

For the past week or so my eyes have been itchy, watery and totally bloodshot when I wake up in the morning. Over the course of the day the redness subsides, but I cannot get my contact lenses in my eye, which is a shame, because I look like crap and even younger than I already appear, when I wear glasses.

I decided to take advantage of the fact that I spend the majority of the day in a hospital and popped over to the ophthalmology clinic to solve my eye issues. God bless professional courtesies, they took me right away, without an appointment.

Anyway, the doctor who saw me, a lovely Mexican immigrant, brought over a second doctor to look at my eyes, another Mexican lad. The second doctor proceeded to ask me if I could read medical Hebrew and English (which I can), and then gave me another patient's chart to translate. He was so excited to have me in there - most other english/hebrew speakers aren't allowed to view the chart, due to patient confidentiality, but as a nursing student and hospital employee, I have already signed the confidentiality agreement.

In the end, they brought over the department head, an American women who made aliyah with Nefesh B'Nefesh, just like me, and recognized me from the video. She diagnosed me with this weird condition whereby the undersides of my eyelids are bumpy and rash-like, which is why my eyes are reddest when i wake up - they've spent the whole night rubbing agianst the bumpy eyelids. She the asked me, "Are you engaged or getting engaged soon? Because we see this condition all the time in engaged people!"

How the heck did she know? I didn't say a thing and there are no indications on my personage. She said that people getting engaged (particularly during exam time, which is now for me) often stay up late working out pre-wedding issues, wear their contact lenses too long, are stressed out and get this bumpy eyelid thing.

The funny thing is, B. has the exact same eye problem right now - I figured it was some sort of contagious illness, but it turns we have...Engagement Eye. Yup, you heard it here first, my new medical term.

Friday, February 11, 2005

What no one else tells you

No one hits on me anymore....No one tries to catch my eye on the bus, or strike up a conversation in the coffee shop.

I thought that maybe now that I've gotten engaged I let myself go to pot, but I think its the ring that's repelling the men.

I'm not saying I want to find a replacement for Bryan, or that I'm so ravishingly adorable that I had to fend men off with a stick. But I was used to having a guy ask for my number about once a week. And now, not so much.

For example, the day Bryan asked me to marry him I met some nice, older gentleman on the bus to school. He was a recent immigrant from the US, and we got to talking. I didn't think he was trying to hit on me, since he appeared to be about double my age (I later checked and he was 2 years shy of double my age). He mentioned he was moving to my neighborhood and asked for my number so he could be in touch when he moved in. Stupidly, I gave it to him, but I thought he was just being friendly. Then, while Bryan was proposing, the man called to ask me out on a date. I had a pretty good excuse for him!

Anyway, I'm noticing that this sort of stuff has stopped. While studying for a physiology final in a coffee shop the other day, I noticed a med student studying from the same textbook at a neighboring table. I saw him look my way, catch my eye, look at my hand....and stop.

When I told Bryan this he said, "Great - that ring was worth every last cent! I should have bought it earlier."

We've also discovered why the married couples are always the first to leave singles-style Katamon meals, and why they rarely talk to anyone.

Last week we were at our first singles meal since not being single. We invented a little game to keep ourselves busy while the rest of the dinner companions were busy making each other's acquiantance. The game was called, "Who would I hit on at this table if I wasn't engaged to you?" Bryan and I took turns guessing who the other would have tried to schmooze up if we were still single.

These are the little things no one tells you, but I'll give you the scoop.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

A hair in his mouth

Last night Bryan and I were eating Shabbat dinner at a friend's house. At some point Bryan leaned over and said, "Oh my, there's a hair in my mouth - a long one. I sure hope its your hair and not someone else's." And when he pulled it out, there was a sigh of relief and he said, "Babe if there had to be a hair in my mouth - I'm glad its yours."

I think that basically sums up the new level I think our relationship has taken since getting engaged. Bryan and I both agree that even though we knew we were getting engaged, actually getting engaged totally elevated what we have. The fact that there is a person in this world, who said the sentence, "Whoa - thank g-d that was your hair in my mouth" is to describe a feeling of love and closeness like I have never experienced.

My last posting was all about the details of the proposal, but I left out the emotions I was feeling - on purpose, because when I wrote that last posting, the emotions were still fully developing, as the shock of getting engaged was wearing off.

I always imagined I would cry when Bryan proposed. But I was in such shock, I could barely answer yes. Things never happen when you expect them; Thursday, while walking the dog, the tears started flowing openly. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have met Bryan. How lucky I am to have met a man who recognized me as his soul mate, and who didn't play games or waste time, who makes me feel like I am a princess, and who treats me with such respect and love, that it makes me want to be a better person - to become a person worthy of Bryan.

"Will you marry me?"

That one sentence was the most powerful statement uttered to me. Imbued in those four words was the thing I never thought I'd hear --

"I choose you above all other people out there in the world. I'm placing my bets on you. I want to build a life with you and there is no one I would rather wake up next to in 50 years, no one I would rather partner a family with, no one I would rather love than you."

You can see why the tears flowed freely. And in my barely managing to whisper that one word to Bryan, "Yes," I was telling him, "In my eyes you are perfect. No matter what happens over the next 50, 60 or (please god) 70 years, you are the one I want by my side. Whatever curveballs life throws our way, I want you to be my batsman. I think you have such wonderful qualities as a person that I choose you as the future father of my kids, in the hopes that some of what makes you so special will rub off onto them."

I don't know if y'all have ever read bridal mgazines, but for the girls, you may understand the temptation of reading them. I refused to ever buy one, until I was engaged. I felt like it was a jinx, some right reserved only for the betrothed. Anyway, I finally went out a bought a few yesterday. One of the had an advertisement in it with the following phrase, "To love someone is to see a miracle to which everyone else is blind."

And I thank G-d every day that Bryan sees the miracle in me that no one else (not even I) can see.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Thanks to everyone with those speedy Mazal tovs! I have slept all of about 3 hours (and from the text messages I've been receiving, Bryan is probably still up with his buddies).

I promised details, so....

Bryan and I have known for a while (about a month) that we'd be getting engaged, and we more or less knew when the engagement would be, since we were waiting for Bryan's parents to arrive from South Africa, as I have yet to meet my future mother-in-law. The plan was that his parents would arrive this coming Sunday, we'd get engaged Monday and have an engagement party (l'chaim) at my folks house before Bryan's parents headed back to South Africa. I was mildly disappointed that I wouldn't be having a fairy tale proposal due to the time constraints, but was mollified by the fact that I had indeed found my prince.

About a week ago, Bryan found out that his parents would not be able to make it this coming Sunday and would be arriving in a couple weeks instead, so he told them he wasn't waiting for them, and was going to propose before they got here. But he kept it totally mum from me and everyone else, and I still thought we were going ahead with the old plan.

Then, we went out to dinner last night to Agas V'Tapuach. The restaurant is sorta meaningful to us, because its the first place the concept of getting married was really spoken aloud between us, helped along, if you will remember, by the anonymous nice person. But of course, I had no clue what Bryan had planned, so I just thought we were having a nice dinner. On second thought, Bryan did have to take a business call during dinner, which was probably part of the ruse.

Anyway, it had been pouring rain when we went in for dinner, but by the time we were done it wasn't raining, so we started walking home aftewards. When we smoothly glided past the turnoff to any of our houses, and kept walking, I had a small feeling something was up, and figured I should play along and keep walking with him, but I didn't think it was a proposal, since we had it all planned for next week.

We walked to Yemin Moshe, site of the Montefiore Windmill and general beautiful scenic spot in Jerusalem. Bryan mentioned that it was sort of like our 4 month anniversary, since it was our 16 week-aversery, and that he'd bought me chocolates from my favorite chocolate shop as dessert. He bought me those for our 3rd monthaversary, so I didn't think anything was out of the ordinary. I mean, I knew something was up, since we were walking in the freezing cold to a romantic, gorgeous spot in Jerusalem, but I think my mind was not registering what as happening. We sat down on this bench, overlooking the walls of the Old City, and I remarked how lucky we were to live in Jerusalem where we can have this sort of view, that people have died for over the years, in a 10 minute walk from a restaurant.

Anyway, Bryan opened up the chocolate box and basically started inhaling them - like really scarfing them down. At this point I really thought something was up, but again, I was sort of in shock, so it wasn't registering. I could barely eat 1 chocolate, but Bryan ate like 6 of them. After we finished layer one of the chocolates there was a piece of foil paper underneath, and something told me it would be a good idea to lift up the paper. Because it was so dark out, all I saw was white - the absence of chocolate - but as soon as Bryan got down on one knee, and asked me to mrry him, I figured there was a ring in there.

And there was, a beautiful engagement ring which is exactly what I would have picked out for myself, even though I had told Bryan a ring was unnecessary.

Anyway, I was so shocked I was actually speechless, an extremely rare event here in Casa de Noa. Then Bryan stood up and started clapping his hands like an idiot and all I could think was "Oh my, I've just agreed to marry a moron!" Then, out of nowhere, two of his buddies showed up with candles, and champagne, flowers and a guitar and serenaded us. And took pictures of me still being speechless - about half an hour later Bryan asked me, "Wait, that was a 'yes', right?"

And then we began the walk to my parents house to share the news with them in person, and started calling our friends.

So basically, I got both my prince and my fairy tale Jerusalem proposal, and I feel asbolutely like a very overtired princess.

Bryan was so chilled about dinner - we made plans Monday to have dinner last night, and then yesterday afternoon, when I reminded him about dinner, he was all "Oh, do you still want to go? Its kinda nasty weather out." And even during dinner he seemed to be in no rush, no plan, no friends freezing their bums off waiting for him in Yemin Moshe.

Bryan and I realized as we were walking to Yemin Moshe that we were both wearing the same outfits we'd worn on our first date! I haven't worn the outfit since then, until last night, and obviously had no clue, and Bryan didn't realize it either.

Also, such an only in Jerusalem event: The 2 friends that Bryan had to help him with the surprise were Winston and Yaakov. Winston is an Afrikaaner friend of Bryan's from his yeshiva who is in the process of converting, and Yaakov is a Dutch friend visiting from the Netherlands. I asked them how many proposals they had been part of so far, but we were the first! I just thought it was so cool getting proposed to in such a Jerusalem-esque way.

The wedding will be, please G-d, July 19th here in Jerusalem. And now....sleep!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Od Yishama B'arei Yehuda

I have no idea how to start this posting so....


Bryan (B.'s real name - we've decided to unmask) proposed earlier this evening! I am far too keyed up right now to type all the details, but I promise to post them all tomorrow morning.