On Thursday, one of my friends IMed me to ask why I hadn’t updated lately and to tell me that she missed my posts. Sorry for the lack of updates…I’ve been busy and preoccupied…but know that all is well.
As for the title–when my friend told me that, I assured her that there’d be an update really soon, because I had an exciting post brewing. I’d hoped to have the post up before Shabbos but that didn’t end up happening; anyway, here it is now.
Wednesday, on her way out the door (literally–she was heading back to America for a few days to spend time with her family), my roommate said in passing, “Oh by the way, M is getting engaged tomorrow. But DON’T say anything to her–she doesn’t know! Oh yeah, and a bunch of us are going to have a l’chaim for her.” M is a classmate of ours, who’s been dating this guy for a year and we’d all known it was only a matter of time before they got engaged.
Naturally, I pumped my roommate for more information, but all she could tell me was “Ask D; she’s arranging everything.” So I went home, cornered the first flatmate I could find to ask about what the roommate had said (and got scolded “Shhhh, she doesn’t know about it! We’re supposed to pretend we don’t know either!” to which I responded “Umm, she doesn’t live here, so I don’t see what the problem is….”). My first question, of course, was “what in the world is a l’chaim?” (I do know it is a Hebrew word meaning “to life!” and is used as a toast, but to “have a l’chaim” after an engagement is something I was unfamilar with.)
(Also, I think I am overusing parentheses in this post….)
Anyway. So a l’chaim is apparently the first engagement party, an informal affair that is quickly thrown together by the kallah’s friends, that happens before the “official” engagement party, called a vort. M’s l’chaim was set for 10:30 that night, in her apartment, though she didn’t know about it.
So we all sat around and schmoozed for awhile, waiting for M and her chosson (Hebrew/Yiddish term for fiance) to arrive. Every time the door started to open with a new guest, we all sat at attention, sure that this time it must be M, waiting to yell “Mazal Tov!” There were a few false alarms, much to our amusement. And then M and her chosson finally arrived.
“MAZAL TOV!!!!!” we all yelled, and a few other remarks followed, such as “Yeah, (chosson), you finally did it!” and “Can I see your ring?!” And then all the girls joined hands and started dancing.
Much wine was poured, there were toasts (I guess that’s where the “l’chaim” part comes from!), and snacking, and then I headed out pretty early along with a few of my roommates. “Pretty early” actually meant that we got home after midnight, and it’d been a really long week, so I think we were justified in wanting to get out of there early….