Jerusalem Getaway, part 2: Girls' Night Out
On Thursday night of the day of the Parker bris, Seth was working all evening, so I joined Rachel and her friends for a night out. Our first destination was the local office of Nefesh B'Nefesh where they were throwing a reunion barbecue for recent immigrants who'd come over with their help in the past year or so. I met up with Rachel at her apartment, where she introduced me to Adelia and reintroduced me to Alina, whom I'd met at the bar the previous night. I also got to meet Rachel's month-old kitten, Meeko, for the first time.
We dawdled at Rachel's apartment for a while as Adelia and Alina hedged about their decision to go to the barbecue. We finally left a little after the event was scheduled to start, which didn't bother us as we planned to arrive fashionably late anyway. We had to walk almost the entire breadth of the downtown area to get to the stop where we could pick up the right bus, and the pace was slowed by the crowds in the sidewalks of Yaffo street. This gave me the opportunity to chat with Rachel and get to know Adelia and Alina a little bit. When we finally got to the bus stop, the cheerful banter continued, but we started to get pretty darn impatient after waiting for around 15 to 20 minutes. We were just starting to walk away and hail a taxi when our bus finally arrived. The bus took its time wending around the city, and there was still a good bit of walking after we got off the bus, so by the time we reached the office building, we were all hungry for some grilled meat. The Nefesh office was decorated with banners and pictures advertising all the happy olim (immigrants), including a big banner starring Rachel and her sister. This banner had been plastered to the sides of half the busses in the country a couple months ago, but Rachel had missed witnessing these ads personally since she'd been visiting the US at the time.
The barbecuing was taking place on the office's balcony, which was crowded with people elbowing to get the next ready piece of food off the grill. The burgers were taking very long to cook, so we settled for hot dogs for our first helping. I saw a few faces that were vaguely familiar, but no one that I knew well. The other girls, particularly Rachel, bumped into more than a few people they knew, but we still wound up munching our meat in our own little circle rather than mingling much. It didn't take long for Rachel and Alina's friend, Erica, to join us. While we'd gotten to the party about an hour and a half late, Erica had arrived almost as soon as it started and had been waiting for us since then. We hung out long enough for two rounds of food off the grill and a platter of melons before deciding to seek a more exciting venue.
After a long and winding bus ride back across town, our enlarged group arrived at O'Connell's, a kosher Irish pub close to Seth's house. I got a nice rich Irish draft beer that I hadn't tried before, and Rachel educated us in the custom of tossing the peanut shells on the floor. I conversed mostly with Adelia, Rachel, and Erica, on topics ranging from family and relationships to music and beverages. Rachel showed me a cute fishtank screensaver on my cell phone that I hadn't realized I had, and we were treated to an appearance of the ultra-rare mermaid animation. It didn't take long for the cameras to come out and take goofy pictures. After a while, we were joined by Rachel's sister, Jackie, accompanied by her boyfriend, Eric, and Seth's friend, Berko, thus ending my status as the only boy in the group. We shared a plate of spicy chicken wings, and wound up our adventure sometime between midnight and one. Seth finished work at about this time and he met us outside the bar to wander around town some more, but we didn't find anything fun, so I broke away and went to bed.
It's been a long time since I've been out socializing with girl friends, almost since the middle of my college years. It was certainly great fun to get back into that swing.