It is amazing to think how different my thoughts, hopes and worries are from a year ago. I can't believe that the decision to move here had not been finalized.
On fast days, those who are fasting are allowed to leave my office at 1:00. The catch was that the bus would be leaving at it's normal 2:30 time for part time employees. I was fairly busy as I discovered a really major bug that required extensive testing before writing up my report. It turns out that I had actually uncovered 3 seperate bugs at the same time. I was proud of myself, especially as I hadn't found any yesterday. I took the 2:30 bus home. With only 5 passengers in the middle of the afternoon, it was a quick ride home.
There was some time to finish preparing costumes and resting before Mincha. There was 20 minutes between Mincha and Maariv. That left plenty of time to take care of Tzedaka and go home to get Rachel and Channah. I love being able to do Machzit HaShekel with a real circulation half shekel coin. There were some collector silver ones there, but that didn't interest me. One of the Tzedakah organization provided an envelope where you could allocate how much of your donation would go to Matanas LevYonim and how much could be used to help the poor the rest of the year.
Megillah reading was packed but nothing too much out of the ordinary. After Megilah reading was the fast breaker that we helped sponser. They had pastry, bagel, buns, eggs and tuna. It wasn't elaborate but it was a good way to end a fast. Next time they will need to increase the filling to bread ratio.
Then they had the costume 'contest'. One girl had a hat with speghetti and meatballs on top. Then she put her head through a red and white checkered table that had place settings including cups and napkins for two. It is interesting to note the differences in the types of costumes used for Purim as opposed to Halloween.
They then had a Purim Shpeil, where they did the musical Purim story. It was quite entertaining. In order to give everyone a turn, they had different people play the same character. It really confused Channah. We were in the front row. At one point there was some dancing, that included the person who leads the kids programming that Channah goes to. Channah let out a laugh. He told me that laugh made the entire night worth it. He also complimented me on how nice she sat during the play. After the play they had shtick with the thank yous. They also had a few people take an oppurtunity to make fun of the announcements.
It was really great being in a shul where I know people and they know me. I have a close relationship with the Rabbi. Two of my co-workers are there. Channah goes to the children programming and I have been in touch with people running various programs.
In the evening there were cars driving around playing loud music. A shul one street down had music blaring that we could hear it in our living room. They turned down the music at 11:15. There were also fireworks going off at different points of the evening.
Purim has been really fun. Tomorrow should be even more fun.