Showing posts with label How I Met Serach. Show all posts
Showing posts with label How I Met Serach. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How I Met Serach, Part XVI: It's Shidduch Time!

This is Part XVI of a series about how I proposed to Serach. To see the series, you could simply use the guide link under the header of the blog or this link right here titled "How I Met Serach".
Ezzie's note:  In Part XIII, I explained the difficulty in writing this series. Some details may be a bit off; it's been a decade... 

Where we last left off, Serach and I were really getting pretty serious. One night when I was discussing it all with my "sister" B, she noted that of course, she had to meet Serach. And lo and behold, she was coming into New York soon to check out a college, and would probably be in town around Chanukah. We made up to go together to a concert (I believe it was Blue Fringe, Lanzbom & Solomon, and maybe the Solomon Brothers?) over Chanukah that Serach and I were going to, another friend ("Y") would be meeting us there, and B'd bring along her friend - let's call her B2.

For this story, we have to rewind even further back, to April 2002. I had recently switched dorm rooms at OJ, moving from the room of one good friend to another. The friend whose room I moved into was standing in the room one night, late at night, and I was on the phone with B. Suddenly, it clicked in my head: "B, I know who you're going to marry." 'Huh? Who?' "Don't worry, I know who. One day, I'll introduce you." After I got off the phone I told my roommate: "JB, I know who you're going to marry." He looked at me like I was crazy, shrugged, and that was that.

On this cold night in December 2003, I planned on sleeping at JB's dorm in YU, since it was a lot closer to where Serach would be staying in the Lander women's dorm on the Upper West Side. As it was getting close to time to go, I said to JB "Hey, why don't you come along? We can drive there (JB had a car), and you can hang out with us." 'Who will I talk to? You'll be talking to Serach the whole time.' "Yeah, but we'll still talk to you, and Y (who he knew) is coming, and there will be other people there. You'll have a great time." After a few minutes of back and forth, JB relented, and we drove to the concert.

At the concert (which as I recall was a bit of a snoozer), Y ended up running into another friend, and to my not surprise, JB hit it off with B and B2. At one point during the night, B comes over to me as Serach is schmoozing with JB and B2, smiled, and said "Ezzie, she's a keeper." For some reason, while before then I had already made up my mind, this put my mind completely at ease. I subconsciously needed B's approval, and now I had it. By the end of the night, they were fast friends; I, meanwhile, was just... calm. Happy.

At about midnight, we walked outside B.B. King's and were talking for a bit in the freezing cold when B said they'd be taking a subway back to Brooklyn to B2's relatives. I insisted that this was not safe, and that instead, JB should drive them. After a couple of minutes trying to convince them it wasn't safe for two beautiful young ladies who are not from NYC to be on the subway to Brooklyn alone at 1 o'clock in the morning, they relented, and JB drove them home. Meanwhile, I dropped Serach back at the LCW dorms and headed up to YU.

Right after I got back to YU, B called me. "Hello?" 'OMG Ezzie should I have given him my number!?!!?!' "...{sigh}...did you like him? [Note: Neither one knew this was who I thought they'd marry.]" 'Yes! He's so nice! I can't believe he drove us all the way home. Should I have given him my number so he can call me??' "...yeeesss..." 'AAAHHH!!! He's SO nice. I hope I didn't just blow my chance. I have to go.' Click. A few minutes later, JB walks back in, exhausted. He apparently had called Serach on the way home and told her "I really liked her, she's really cute." 'Which one, B2?' "No, B!" As soon as he came into his dorm room he says to me, "Should I have given her my number?" 'ARRGH! You BOTH stink!' I then explained that she'd just asked me the same question. I gave him her number, he called her right that minute to ask her out the next night, and they dated I think almost every night she was in town for the next week. A few months later, I reminded B about how I'd told her two or so years prior that I knew who she'd marry; "Oh yeah! Who was that?!" 'JB.' "WHAT?! Really!? That's crazy!" (The next year she wrote a piece in her college paper about it.)

...and that completes the story of How JB Met B, and finishes up Serach and Ezzie's dating, circa 2003. So we're still less than a decade removed...

Next time on How I Met Serach: Meet the Parents.

Monday, November 28, 2011

How I Met Serach, Part XV: You're WHAT?! and Rockefeller Park


This is Part XV of a series about how I proposed to 
Serach. To see the series, you could simply use the guide link under the header of the blog or this link right here titled "How I Met Serach".
Ezzie's note:  In Part XIII, I explained the difficulty in writing this series. We spent this past weekend at my in-laws in Monsey, and I realized on Friday night that Shabbos was the 8th (!!) anniversary of when I first met Serach that fateful pre-Thanksgiving eve. I determined yet again to complete the series as best as I could, so here goes. 

When we last left off, I was calling my parents to tell them about the girl I was dating. While perhaps initially surprised that I was dating, I believe they were at first fine with the idea... until they realized that I meant it was serious. And by serious, I meant Serious - that I wanted to marry this girl. At this point, they... panicked a bit. I am pretty sure I remember my mother explaining to my father, dumbfounded herself, that I was quite serious about this. My friends and roommates from that semester claim that it was a rather... "loud" discussion from what they could make out from the other rooms in the apartment, which rings a bell.

I do know that I discovered shortly thereafter that they had, late that night, called my Rebbe and principal from high school whom I and they both respect heavily and who knows Serach's family well from growing up to discuss it with him (more on that later), and I found out months later that they had also woken up our best friends in Israel in the middle of the night to ask them about her and her family as well. Luckily, they all had only positive things to say, so that mitigated many of their initial concerns and at least kept things from going insane... for a bit, anyway.

This is the point in our dating where a lot of the history merges together. A lot of what I remember in an order makes no sense, as they had to have happened earlier or later, so if stories seem to contradict, that's why.

One of our most beautiful dates, one which I recommend to most people who've dated a little bit (NOT for early dates), was when we went to the Rockefeller Center area in late December one night. You don't need to be Christian to appreciate the snowy and lit up trees, the beautiful ice sculptures, and the generally calm yet festive atmosphere in the air. You don't have to ice skate to appreciate watching people having fun on the ice skating rink. It's fun, it's relaxing, and it's romantic (shut off your phones). I still remember it as one of our most relaxing, fun dates, walking slowly through the area with the sculptures and stopping every now and then to just look around.

Eight years later, it's easy to see that the calm times are hard to come by. Between our jobs, the kids, and everything else that goes on, life always seems to be incredibly busy. I personally take advantage of quiet hours in the middle of the night to think and reflect, but it's not the same, and certainly isn't something we're able to share - if we're both up, then there's always something that needs to get done, something we need to remind each other about or a story we need to tell. A friend who stopped by today once told me a great analogy for marriage: When Troy Aikman was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, in their first training camp session, he would take the snaps, step back... and hold the ball, waiting and waiting and waiting, until someone would tag him for a "sack". After this happened a few times, he was asked what he was waiting for. He answered that he was waiting for a receiver to get open - he was used to a college game where his WRs would be able to get wide open and it was easy for him to throw to them. One of the coaches told him, "This is the pros. Here, that IS open." Once you're married (or hit other major transitions in life), time disappears rapidly. You have to take advantage of every opportunity, or everything that needs to get done slowly (or rapidly) piles up on you, until it's impossible to manage. Troy Aikman learned his lesson and became a very good NFL quarterback, winning a few Super Bowls along the way. In a marriage, that's not as easy, but it's a lesson worth learning.

That all said, as important as it is to try and make some calm and quiet time, even when we can't, we can always think back to times when we could - and strive to capture more of those in the future. That night, walking around Rockefeller Center with Serach, was beautiful, and I always remember it.

Next up: It's Shidduch Time!

Monday, March 21, 2011

EZ Reads 3/21/11

Purim is always a good time to find out what people "really" think of you, so it was great to read yesterday and this morning about myself. Apparently, I am a brain-intruding, disheveled, pushy, annoying, sex offending stalker robot (I just know this is going to show up on Google). Congratulations to Diana on pulling the series off and to all the writers for the absolute hilarity; it's amazing how much of those posts were true (er, not the descriptions of me! Mostly...)!

Anyway, there are some really interesting reads out there from the weekend as life returns to normal and the world slowly ceases spinning.
  • If Purim is over, are you starting to get ready for Pesach? Kosher on a Budget has you covered.
  • A convert through the Vaad HaRabbonim of Queens is one a number of Orthodox converts whose conversions are not being recognized in Israel.
  • Why do we let girls dress like sluts? Interesting excerpt:
    I have a different theory. It has to do with how conflicted my own generation of women is about our own past, when many of us behaved in ways that we now regret. A woman I know, with two mature daughters, said, "If I could do it again, I wouldn't even have slept with my own husband before marriage. Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?" [...]

    So here we are, the feminist and postfeminist and postpill generation. We somehow survived our own teen and college years (except for those who didn't), and now, with the exception of some Mormons, evangelicals and Orthodox Jews, scads of us don't know how to teach our own sons and daughters not to give away their bodies so readily. We're embarrassed, and we don't want to be, God forbid, hypocrites.

    Still, in my own circle of girlfriends, the desire to push back is strong. I don't know one of them who doesn't have feelings of lingering discomfort regarding her own sexual past. And not one woman I've ever asked about the subject has said that she wishes she'd "experimented" more.
  • R' Gil posts the "secret" rules and guidelines most rabbonim follow when it comes to paskening halacha. Nothing too surprising, but still a good basic breakdown.
  • Ha'aretz on the rising stakes of Kosher certification. Such politics, unsurprisingly, but also really interesting and the most in-depth piece I've read on the subject.
  • Life in Israel has Netanyahu's interview with CNN on peace.
  • Those French (Chassidish?) twins who do wedding routines do an ad for Jeunesse - not bad. I'm just wondering if they're 18.
  • Hilarious cartoon on ADD vs. jerks at Doghouse... and xkcd has a great rejoinder to the "Year X called, they want their ____ back" line. I'm totally using that one next time.
  • Crazy video from Spanish basketball - announcer is as good as the video.
Enjoy, and I hope everyone recovers from Purim well.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

How i Met the Goldii part MMMMMDCCLXXIV

Of course I forgot to post earlier and after reading all these other posts I'm a little embarrassed to post my version..... Here goes!!


Ever since I "met" Ezzie thru the blog about 4 years ago he's been begging me to come for a shabbos. I always had excuses and never managed to make it for a visit. I think there was one weekend i ALMOST came for shabbos and then something got in the way. Ezzie brought that one up for months afterwards. After about a year of turning down shabbos invites from SerandEz i finally sent THEM an invite, to my wedding.


i couldn't believe they responded that they WOULD attend, and even helped me with some rides for friends coming in from The City. I still appreciate that - it's not easy to do favors in NY especially involving cars!!


When i was working on place cards at my mother's friend's house we were going through the "G"s and my mom's friend said "Hey, Ezzie Goldish, is he the one with the blog? How do you know him??" errr.....


I don't remember the details so clearly, i THINK i remember Ezzie coming over at Kabbalas Panim to say hi, but i could be making that part up. (Seeing as he has no clue about this Purim Shpiel, i can't even ask him to clarify the sequence of events) I probably have a valid excuse for not remembering every single face i saw that day, right?! I remember being surprised at how tall he was.


I *do* remember seeing Serach for the first time -- i was surrounded by loud, clapping, stomping bochurim (thank G-d my brother stood close by to act as a shield!) who were dancing their way backwards across the hall away from the chuppah room. I saw a hand wave at me from behind the mass of black & white suits - I stood on my toes and saw a petite girl in a dark sheitel waving at me. I couldn't figure out who she was until suddenly it clicked, it must have been Serach! Even Elianna was in attendance!

I remember when I was sitting on the men's side watching the shtick fly by (or cartwheel by) some posters appeared, made out of scotch tape (were the cereal boxes yours too? I can't remember). Someone on the men's side made shtick for ME!? Ezzie had teamed up with Gus to make some shtick that *i* would appreciate! He claims he's never made (shtick) signs before, but these were pretty professional.

And that's the story of how i met Serach -- and Ezzie! A few years later we finally stopped in for the Thanksgiving bash, i just remember being so shocked at how quiet Ezzie was and how outgoing Serach was!

Once you meet the Goldii, there's no getting rid of them! they even visited us in our home a few weeks ago, way out in Hicksville. And bought the house next to us!

A freilechin Purim!
Stam/A2 & M2
--
Sent from my iPhone, please excuse any errors

How I Met Serach, Part MMMMMDCCLXXV

Back when I was in Stern, a bunch of my friends were into these things called blogs. I actually didn't know this because they weren't really my friends yet, but they were about to be. I had started my own blog and was curious what other Jewish blogs were out there. I stumbled across this blog called SerandEz and thought it was okay. I started commenting for the heck of it. Then, one day, I got an email. It was from this person named Ezzie. I emailed back and we corresponded this way for a little bit until I finally got a gchat from him. I did not know if we were friends or not, or even how to be friends with an internet person. How did I know he wasn't a robot?! I tried to stay distant but he kept trying to get me to talk. Somehow, I ended up at his house for Thanksgiving.

I knew by this time that Ezzie was, in fact, a robot. I don't know if you've ever been to a robot's house, but everything in it is electronic. The robot himself just sat in front of the computer all day. Luckily, that Thanksgiving was also when I met Serach. She knew her husband was a robot, but put up with it because of her love for his wide variety of polo shirts.

And that is how I met Serach.

How I Met the Goldishes: A Lifetime of Confusion, Part MMMMMDCCLXXII

by RaggedyMom

I'm not much for friendliness, having been raised in New York. But when I realized that a hapless young couple was living in my part of Kew Gardens Hills, I figured they might be worth getting to know, for the mockery factor if for no other reason. Boy, was I wrong! First of all, there are about 4,328 young couples living in Kew Gardens Hills at any given time. And those are only the ones within 2 blocks of Jewel Avenue! How did I have the odd luck of choosing this pair? It's a choice that will always leave me wondering...

Eventually, I did introduce myself to the Goldishes, but not before lambasting Ezzie on his blog for a very rare instance of New York bashing. And walking past him while he wheeled Elianna in her Snap-n-Go (time flies!) several times, trying to determine how weird it would be to say, "Hi, are you that guy from the blog?" And having him think that RaggedyDad was my red-headed male next-door neighbor for a while (though it would be nice to have even *one* redheaded child of my own. Just saying.)

Finally there came an ill-fated day when I did say a proper "hello" at the bus stop that is my front yard. I figured I'd say hi, maybe deign to smile, possibly subject myself to a Shabbos meal once a year, and we'd be good. Clearly I underestimated these people. Not only did they proceed to invite us to numerous events, they actually planted other people at these events who tried to befriend us as well. It was painful, at times. Mildly irritating, to be sure. We had been so happy leading our isolated existence until that point. There was so much smiling, good cheer, and acceptance. It was all so utterly... Midwestern.

Even more disturbing were the Goldishes' friendly overtures toward our children. Books, toys, and other similar props were shared in an attempt to win over the younger Raggedies. It was so transparent, and so very out of line. They somehow managed to memorize our children's names and to speak to them in friendly tones, engendering an immediate guise of closeness. Troubling, indeed, as our stoicness training had been going swimmingly until that point.

Looking back on the past four years, I can reflect back on the extent to which these interloping clowns have become interwoven into the very fabric of our otherwise blessedly anonymous existence. Several mutual friends, many Yom Tov and Shabbos meals that run for upwards of 7 hours, and yet more angst-inducing "hanging out" all attest to how uncomfortable this acquaintance has made us. I have spoken to several lawyers, detectives, hypnotists, gardeners, and cellists regarding this issue, and I am now at liberty to reveal that the Raggedies are taking the rather drastic step of moving to Guam this summer in a last-ditch effort to rid ourselves of the Scoldishes. Moldishes. Goawaylishes. Guam was chosen as a location with supreme unreliability of its Gchat, Skype, Facebook, cell phone coverage, carrier pigeons and message-in-a-bottle capabilities. Wish us luck.




Happy Purim to all of the denizens of the Goldish Pond, chag sameach, and thank you for our social life! We're crazy about you guys! 

How I Met Ezzie (And Serach) Part MMMMMDCCLXXI

One cool crisp autumn morning, SweetRose and I went to the pretzel shop (which we all sorely miss) to meet a blogger she new from the internet. Little did I know that he had just “played football”, as part of the orange team, and was in quite a state of dishevelment. Luckily I had my camera with me, and I can always look back at the time I first met Ezzie:

A few months later, after I had moved into the neighborhood, SaraK brought me with her to The Pond (aka Casa SerandEz). I met a lot of new people, and was having a lovely time hanging out with baby Elianna, when all of the sudden Serach started shouting “OH MY G-D!!!! GREY’S ANATOMY!!!” I looked at her awash with confusion and she said that she had seen these pictures on a mutual friend’s Facebook account
and couldn’t get over how I had met the cast.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

How I Met Serach, Part XIV: Madame Tussaud's and Cameras

This is Part XIV of a series about how I proposed to Serach. To see the series, you could simply use the guide link under the header of the blog or this link right here titled "How I Met Serach".
Ezzie's note: Yes, yes, I know. It has now been seven years since Serach and I were engaged; five since I started writing this series; and two since the last time I wrote a part. Over the last few months, a number of people have come over to me and told me that they found my blog for the first time, or they were old readers but there wasn't much new material, and they started reading the How I Met Serach series... only to discover that I had never finished it. They viewed this as a huge tease, though as someone else noted, "Can't you guess how it ends!?" Perhaps it's time to get to the point, though... In Part XIII, I explained the difficulty in writing this series.

On our sixth date, which is the last date that I can remember the number of, Serach and I decided to have fun at Madame Tussaud's in Manhattan. For those who are not aware, not only is it incredibly hard to spell or pronounce, but Madame Tussaud's is basically a really cool wax museum, featuring wax figurines of all types of people past and present, from historical figures to current pop and sports stars to just plain old wax figurines to throw people off. Some of the figurines are more real-looking than others, and it's easy to bump into one and apologize before realizing or to be fooled by a person pretending to be wax. It's also a great place to start taking pictures of and with a [potentially] significant other, because it gives you so many excuses to be having fun and to pose that it's a natural outcome of the date.

Today, if you would walk into our kitchen, you'd notice an old, ragged looking magnet of a handful of old pictures from when we were dating and first married. Often, we're asked where we were with Matt Lauer, Katie Couric, and Al Roker - until people realize that while Katie is pretty waxy looking in real life, there's something about Al that isn't quite right. The reason those pictures are up are because those are the first pictures we have of one another, taken on my old Pentax that my parents got me when I graduated from high school... using something called film. The best picture of the night was probably one I took of Serach in the "World Leaders" section, a picture that a month or so later my charedi cousin's wife, in the first picture of Serach she ever saw, thought was one of the funniest things she'd ever seen: Serach flipping off Yassir Arafat.

In retrospect, I realized that a camera is a big deal in a relationship: It means that a person wants to have some kind of record of the time he or she is spending with another, and they're showing that to the person they're with. Later on, I realized my parents really liked Serach when my Mom, halfway through a meal together, pulled out her camera to snap a couple of pictures. Pictures are a threshold-breaking moment, and of course once the doubts on either side fade as to whether they are okay with the idea, it's a moment that is recorded for all time... or until the pictures are deleted. It's also a point at which a couple is allowing themselves to share these moments not just with each other, but with close family and friends to whom the pictures will be shown. 

For us, it was a really great night. We had an amazing time, and afterward I think we walked around Toys 'R Us again, just because it was close by and a nice place to walk around. Around this time, perhaps that very night, perhaps shortly afterward, I decided to call my parents and tell them about Serach. (You may recall that in Part XII my sister advised me not to tell them yet, and I made the mistake of listening to her... and not telling them for a while.) At this point, I knew this was really serious, and there was no reason not to tell them anymore. So one night sometime in late December 2003, with my roommate not around, I called up my parents on my dorm room phone.
"Hi Mom! I have something exciting to talk to you and Dad about..."

Next up: Mom and Dad aren't quite as thrilled as I am. (Shocker, I know.)

Friday, March 04, 2011

Honesty and The Jewish Community II: Professor S.

(continued from here)

When I first signed up for my courses, I met the man who would end up being my professor for a majority of the important classes I would end up taking, Professor S. (I would love to name him to give him the credit he is due, but I am guessing he would be uncomfortable with this.) I only took Principles of Accounting I with him in my first semester, but in later semesters I would take as many as three courses with him.

The first and perhaps most important trait about Professor S. that I found interesting was that he was teaching primarily because he viewed it as his duty to help educate people in the community to assist them in their futures. What I mean by this is that he had no real reason to be coming in twice a week for entire afternoons and early evenings to teach a small class of accounting majors, in a school about one hour from his home, traveling through some nice traffic on occasion to get there. Not only did he put in this extraordinary effort to come teach us, but he did so at the expense of his own practice - he is a partner in a small accounting firm, and the 7-8 hours of his day that he gave up were hours he could have been working and doing far more for himself, and yet he chose to spend this time with - on, us.

One of the other extraordinary traits about Professor S. was his insistence not just on honesty and integrity - but his dedication to not even being placed in a situation that could tempt a person to act without it. For tests, he would make up three to five separate versions of the test, then sit us in far, separated rows where nobody within 10 feet would have a copy in the same order as another. It was almost crazy, but the lesson was clear: Don't even THINK about it. Moreover, it would take a good week or so before we would get our grades back from a test, as he would analyze how everyone answered each question (he was insistent on showing as much work as possible), then determine which portions an inordinate number of students missed - and if it seemed that a sizable group had misunderstood or misapplied a concept, he would sometimes take the blame for not having taught it properly, and weigh that question far lower and raise the weight of others. For a person who did not even need to be teaching, the dedication and sense of responsibility he brought was nothing short of incredible.

My favorite story involving Professor S. is probably from my second semester in Lander. I was dating Serach seriously, and was planning on proposing the next afternoon. I had recently learned that my future mother-in-law had worked for Professor S. in his practice... for ten years. He knew Serach well from when she was a young girl, but did not know I was dating her. I walked into his office and told him that I wanted to tell him something; he said as he sat down, "Yes, what is it?" I said that I wanted to tell him that I was dating someone seriously, and would iy"H be proposing to her the next day, and he said with a big smile "That's great! Mazel tov!" I then added that it was someone he knew and I wanted to tell him who it was, and he waved me off saying, "No, no, it's okay, that's none of my business." I said "No, you have to hear this", and he looked up. "It's Serach Luchins", I said, and his eyes grew wide, he burst out laughing, and he fell right off his chair onto the ground and sat there, cracking up. "Now THAT's amazing. MAZEL TOV!! She's a great girl, great family", he said, shaking his head, just sitting there laughing on the floor.

Professor S. was a great teacher - not because he was necessarily the best educator (though I believe he was quite good), but because he interspersed his teachings with stories from his life and from others - practical advice that would be useful not only for the class at hand, but more so for the future, as we actually began to work in the field. One of the stories that has always stuck out in my mind was one he told us in one of our first classes with him, about thinking. If I am remembering this correctly, he had a friend who had begun working as an auditor for a firm, and one of their clients had huge rolls of material used to make different things. Each quarter, to perform an inventory count, they would have to roll out the entire roll and measure how much there was - and every roll was different. It was a huge pain, taking weeks, but it had to be done. The friend, who was new, asked his manager if he could finish the job earlier than when he wanted and expected it to be finished, could he get the time off until when it was supposed to have been done by. The manager figured that seemed fair, set a target date, and a few weeks later, the friend finished about a day early and asked for his day off. The manager hesitated but ultimately agreed to uphold his end of the bargain. The next quarter, the friend asked the manager about doing the same deal, and the manager figured again why not - it only helps the job get done a little faster. About three days later, the friend walked over, handed over a huge list with all the measurements, and asked for his *weeks* off. The manager balked, and he and the partner demanded to know how the friend had done it. The friend wouldn't agree to tell them unless they agreed to give him a raise and promotion, and upon agreement, explained that he was able the first time around to calculate various points in the roll and therefore create a calculation as to how each type of material on a roll corresponded to a different length. Once he knew how each material expanded on the roll, all he had to do was measure out from the center and run the calculation based on that material.

The friend had essentially figured out how to turn an inefficient job into a completely efficient one, with no sacrifice in quality. He quickly moved up the ranks at his firm, according to Professor S., and that was an approach we should always take to problems: Be creative, use our heads. Think about how we're doing things and see if there's a way to do them better. (He didn't necessarily recommend telling our bosses to give us raises in exchange for telling them how we did things, though.)

That lesson was one of many from Professor S. that have really stayed with me, and have helped me tremendously as I've gone through the past few years, which have not always treated me as kindly as some of his classes did (a couple were pretty tough, admittedly). There is a lot to be said for working efficiently, problem-solving wisely, and thinking through a project to determine the best way to accomplish your goals - and there's even more to be said for sacrificing of yourself for the sake of others and acting with integrity, no matter the circumstances.

(to be continued)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Five Years (How I Met Serach, Part XIII)

This is Part XIII of a series about how I proposed to Serach. To see the series, you could simply use the dropdown menu on the right side of the blog or this link right here titled "How I Met Serach".
It's hard to believe it's been five years [see below]. Happy engagiversary, Serach!! Let's celebrate by fasting all day! :) ...It's also hard to believe that I actually started this series three years ago and still haven't finished. {wince} When I started this series, I didn't realize it would be a series. I thought I'd tell quickly the story of our engagement, which was a lot of fun, but as I started to do so, I realized it didn't make sense without the background. Once I started writing, we thought it would be amazing for us to have written down as much of what we remembered from our time spent dating as we could and keep it for posterity. At the same time, we also liked sharing what we felt we learned while dating, what we found to be important and what we found to be unimportant. In the process, however, we dragged down the story, so in the future, we're going to try and get back to telling the story, and then discuss different things afterward. In this segment, however, I'm putting the story on pause again, this time right before we discuss our first major hurdle, because we were discussing a lot of things recently that fit in well at this point in the story.
Five years. Truth be told, it didn't really hit me just how long ago that was until recently, when we were at the Lander Alumni Shabbaton. I was talking to a few friends, and somehow the subject came up; when I said that it was about to be five years since those times, it was a bit of a shock to them, but more surprisingly, myself. It's hard to believe that everything that we can so clearly remember is from so long ago. These are people who knew me before I knew Serach, who roomed with me while we dated and got engaged, who saw the development of that relationship from the beginning. When Serach and I think back, we recall just how much went into those 3-1/2 months of dating, just how much emotion and time and energy and effort - and then there were another few months of engagement, with all the planning and stress and discussion and craziness and preparation for marriage itself... and that's all just on the input side in a short few months amidst other details of life.

At the time, we weren't much different than most college students. Serach was in the Lander College for Women in Manhattan, going for a Judaic Studies degree to move more quickly into a Master's Program for Education and Special Education. I was in my first year in Lander in Queens, going for an accounting degree; economics wasn't offered, and a finance/political science double major would have taken too long. I talked to people about how to best approach the accounting degree if I wanted to eventually go to law school and get a JD-CPA; I even borrowed a draft LSAT from a friend to try, and talked to my sister about law schools around different Jewish communities outside of New York. At the time, the University of Virginia's law school was ranked highly, and I remember trying to figure out whether it was a feasible choice if I lived in a place like Baltimore. (Er, it is not.) It is fascinating to think back to what we thought then, what we felt then, what our approaches to different aspects of life were then, and to think back and realize just how different and often naive those were.

A friend of ours was here for Shabbos recently, and we were talking about the interesting differences in perspective and understanding people gain as they mature - and yet constantly discount the comments and advice of those who are a stage or two ahead of them in life as people who "just don't understand" their situation. Everyone can remember when they were in 8th grade, looking down at the younger kids and thinking just how much they still had to learn. In 10th, anyone coming into high school was just a dumb freshie. At graduation, there was a sophistication that 10th and 11th graders simply could not appreciate. Anyone who's been in Israel knows just how much more developed their thoughts and hashkafos are than a high school kid; anyone in college knows just how confused and out-of-touch a seminary girl or yeshiva guy are with reality. A senior in college looks back at the naivete of a first-year; a post-grad can't imagine how they lived in that college bubble. And yet, at each stage, nobody is willing to truly pay attention to whatever anyone ahead of them is saying, though all in all, this is probably not a bad thing: Much of life must be experienced to be understood.

Perhaps this is my own current stage bias showing, but as we discussed this, we noted that around when a person moves into "real life", this constant upgrading changes dramatically. There's no larger difference in mentality than the one between someone who has finished college and someone in college after that point. Once a person takes that step forward into the rest of their life, there really is no looking back. Whatever path one chooses to start will shape their future in many ways, even if they eventually decide to try and switch whichever path they are on. A person who has been working for even a short period of time and a person who has been working for 30 years relate to each other more easily when discussing life's challenges than a college student would relate to either.

It is certainly true that we are all products of our life's experiences. When we were talking to our friend who was visiting for Shabbos, she noted that her own experiences (divorce after about a year of marriage) had changed her mindset and maturity in ways that people just a couple of years younger than her simply could not grasp. There is something about being forced to truly form your future that changes a person in a different way. For some, this comes when they finish college and start choosing that path in life; for some, it comes from a long and difficult life-changing experience. While we talked, I mentioned the excellent book Miracle Ride by Tzipi Caton, and [slight spoiler] how she discusses in the end how hard it was for her to relate to her old friends when she recovered. Though just 17, I believe, she chose to date and marry an incredibly and kindly man who - though many years her senior - could relate to her in ways others never really would be able to. His own divorce helped him to appreciate the complexities of life and how different experiences change a person, not somehow damage them. She writes about relationships earlier in the book, saying
"I felt that the relationship could be a lot stronger if based on what be both got and learned from our experiences rather than the experience itself. Two people don't have to go through the same rough ride in order to make them right for each other. What makes them suited to each other are the similar perspectives on what they have gone through individually."
People sometimes, if not often, forget this. When people look for a spouse with whom they have something "in common", there is a tendency to search for someone for that person who has had similar experiences. It is not the similar experiences that make it work, though - it is how the person comes out of their life's experiences, how it molds them for the future.

When Serach and I were first dating, and a few mutual friends eventually found out, there was a slight hesitancy on their part - as so often happens with friends, they simply "didn't see it". We were too different. Serach was the outgoing, fun, but a little high-strung one; I was the calm but shy and passive one. Serach was the unpredictable and exciting "livewire"; I was - well, I was going for accounting. A few years later, these are some of our closest friends, those who understand us as a couple best. I remember having a conversation a while back with another close friend who'd gotten married a few months prior about marriage in general and the bond it creates that people often do not quite appreciate. People underrate the strength a marriage has in general, and that only gains as the years go by, even when - if not especially when - things are difficult.

Certainly, the last five years have included plenty of stresses for Serach and me. But those pale in comparison to the good and positives that have come out of our marriage, from our own relationship to our joined path in life to (of course) Elianna and Kayla. As my sister-in-law noted when we got engaged, we were headed to a "lifetime of free entertainment", and that has certainly been the case. The past five years have been a miracle ride of our own, and it has only prepared us that much better for our future together. Happy anniversary, Serach! :) [click on the pic to enlarge]

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How I Met Serach, Part XII: The Big Bump and Fun Dates

Serach and I met five years ago tonight for the first time. People often think five years isn't a whole lot - trust me, it's a whole lot. Happy Anniversary! :)
This is Part XII of a series about how I proposed to Serach. Part I is here, Part II is here, Part III is here, and Part IV is here, Part V is here, Part VI is here, Part VII is here, Part VIII is here. Part IX is here. Part X is here, Part XI is here. Or, you could simply use the dropdown menu on the right side of the blog or this link right here titled "How I Met Serach".
After our third really great date, I debated whether to tell my parents that I was seeing someone. They were in Cleveland, I was in Queens, and while I thought it had a lot of potential (okay, a LOT of potential)... it was still only three dates, I was 20 years old, and they might get hyped up about it for no reason. On the other hand, they'd probably want to know, if it were turning serious and if I was serious about it. So what did I do?

I called my sister, of course.
Ez: Soo... I'm dating this girl, we've gone out a few times, I really like her... blah blah blah... should I tell Mom and Dad?

Vervel: You've gone out three times, and you're 20. Are you going to tell them every time you're dating a girl just in case? Wait until it's more serious, then tell them. They'll just drive you nuts otherwise.

Ez: Okay, I hear ya. Thanks!
Now, I happen to think this was the right advice, and that's why I followed it. This was probably a bad idea... and by probably, I mean cross-continental calls in the middle of the night bad. However, we'll get back to this.

Meanwhile, Serach and I continued dating. I'd often come after night seder to the city, we'd go out in the city, she'd stay at Touro, while I stayed at my friend JB in YU or shlep back at 2-3am to Queens. I can still recall what we did on most of our dates: On our fourth (?) date, we went to Toys 'R Us, had a good time there, bought a hot pink motion-sensing monkey with purple polka dots for Jon, the guy we met through, and walked around midtown a bit. Some friends had recommended trying a comedy club, so we headed toward the Village and went to one.

Advice to daters: DO NOT DO THIS! (Except perhaps a clean improv show.) Now, we can appreciate a funny joke, even if it's a little dirty... but some comedy shows are just gross. It seemed to us that the better the comedian, the less they relied on dirty jokes; there was one guy who was getting booed for a couple minutes, and impressively stopped; paused; and started a whole new (and cleaner) sketch, and got some nice applause at the end. We also had a couple of awkward moments, sitting in a raised front corner away from the stage, with our bags next to us on the bench. At one point, we suddenly see Serach's bag start moving and cries of "OOO OOO OOO AAA AAA AAA!!!" coming from it, getting us really strange looks from people nearby. The monkey had apparently been moved, and started squawking like mad. Of course, we didn't yet know how to shut it off, and moving it too much just made it start again. Finally we flipped the switch and shut it up, but it had gotten attention. A lady who'd noticed was doing the next (dirty) routine, and of course chose us to ask questions to:
Lady: Aw, look at that cute couple. How long you guys been dating?
Us: Almost a month.
Lady: That's nice... are you sleeping together yet?
Us: Er... no.
Lady: Why not?
...etc. I should note that this was the cleanest bit of her performance. I can't recall what our fifth date was, though perhaps that was the time we were freezing like crazy and swiped our Metrocards to hang out in the much warmer subway station - best cheap date - before heading back up to a 24-hour cafe and getting cup after cup of hot tea. We also had a really nice date around Christmas time in Rockefeller Center, checking out the incredibly cool ice sculptures, the lit up area, the tree (which was actually nice that year), and whatever else was there. It's also nice to see so many people having a fun time ice skating even if you aren't interested yourself.

Next up: Maddame Tuassad's and The Big Bump continued...
Ezzie: I'm writing the story as I remember it, and unfortunately that sometimes results in skipping some details. When I remember them, I'll try to fill them in; possibly in the comments, possibly in the posts if it won't make it too disjointed. If anything is unclear or you have any questions, feel free to ask! Serach won't admit it, but she's been reading the story [and lately, other posts, too!] - maybe she'll fill in some of the details and her perspective at some point. I'm still hoping. :)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

How I Met Serach, Part XI: Central Park & Starbucks

Wow. It's been four and a half years since we celebrated our engagement; it's been quite a ride.
This is Part XI of a series about how I proposed to Serach. Part I is here, Part II is here, Part III is here, and Part IV is here, Part V is here, Part VI is here, Part VII is here, Part VIII is here. Part IX is here. Part X is here. Or, you could simply use the dropdown menu on the right side of the blog or this link right here titled "How I Met Serach".
We left off last time with Serach forcing me to eat raw fish as part of our second date. Our third date was going to be far more up my alley than hers, but God seemed to be smiling down on us to make it perfect. What happened that was so perfect?

It SNOWED!

For those who are lucky enough to not live in New York City, there's very little that measures up to a real snowstorm in New York City. The reason for this is simple: The city completely shuts down, in almost comical fashion. They have no clue how to handle the snow, so it turns everything into an almost complete standstill. This turns NYC into a beautiful vision - a quiet metropolis, undisturbed by anything, with white snow covering all its blemishes. At the same time, Central Park, like most parks, is absolutely gorgeous in the snow, and I love snow.

Serach and I walked around the park for a while, finally sitting down on a bench after a while and just enjoying the park, the people, the snow, and one another's company. It's pretty hard to describe that, so I'll just talk about what we did after that, which was throw snowballs at one another. (Note: NYers really aren't skilled at the whole snowball-throwing thing, probably due to the quick turn into slush and ice. For lessons on snowball throwing, ask G's dad, who always walks into my parents' home on Purim and nails my dad. This is true even if it is 75 degrees and sunny outside.) Afterward, we walked out of the park and headed to the closest Starbucks, which surprisingly enough was more than 2 blocks away. While there, I bought my old favorite drink - a venti caramel latte - and I believe Serach got a grande caramel or vanilla latte (both with whipped cream, one of Serach's favorite things in the world).

One of the cuter parts of Starbucks was the cardboard cupholder that they put around the cups when you buy a hot drink there. They often say interesting, cute, funny, or thought-provoking sayings, but because it was winter, they had one that was particularly cute, which we still have:
Two Winter Walks through snowy streets inspire a wish for warmth.
This had been our second winter walk, so it held particular meaning. And it was freezing, even for my own cold-blooded body. (Ask any SerandEz guest about my feelings on the A/C vs. Serach's feelings on it... including in the middle of the winter.) All in all, the date went on and on, as we were just talking and walking, walking and talking. In the end, I think we were out for about seven hours before Serach had to catch a bus back up to Monsey, but we knew there would be many more dates to come...

Next time: We (or, I) make a huge error in First Big Bump.
Ezzie: I'm writing the story as I remember it, and unfortunately that sometimes results in skipping some details. When I remember them, I'll try to fill them in; possibly in the comments, possibly in the posts if it won't make it too disjointed. If anything is unclear or you have any questions, feel free to ask! Serach won't admit it, but she's been reading the story [and lately, other posts, too!] - maybe she'll fill in some of the details and her perspective at some point. I'm still hoping. :)

Monday, June 30, 2008

How I Met Serach, Part X

As today is our fourth (!) anniversary, it's as good of an excuse as any to continue this series.
This is Part IX of a series about how I proposed to Serach. Part I is here, Part II is here, Part III is here, and Part IV is here, Part V is here, Part VI is here, Part VII is here, Part VIII is here. Part IX is here. Or, you could simply use the dropdown menu on the left side of the blog titled "How I Met Serach".
We left off last time with Serach threatening to force me to eat raw fish. On our second date, that's exactly what she did.

After night seder, I got a ride into Manhattan. Serach was staying in a friends' dorm room on the Upper West Side, where at the time there was a small kitchenette under the lobby. While I thought she was kidding, when I showed up, there she was holding a couple of rolls of sushi - less "fishy" ones, but nonetheless, this was raw fish. The truth was that I didn't really know what sushi was - I kept imagining slimy herring, while in reality, the sushi was anything but. After much consternation and stalling, I finally took the chopsticks and put a piece in my mouth... and survived. Somehow. After a few more bites, I actually started to like the stuff, much to my surprise and dismay.

But I skipped a slightly important part. When I walked in, there were a few other people there. And those people, of course, were some of Serach's really good friends.

The truth was it was unavoidable. One friend's job was to monitor the lobby and halls. Another was on her way in or out. And another had come to visit the monitor. But I think that any guy is always a bit wary of meeting his date's friends early on, knowing that this translates into an analysis of every breath he takes, every move he makes, every single day, every time he prays... and here I was, sitting down on a couch across from three of Serach's closest friends, talking. Fun stuff.

Thankfully, somehow, I passed the test. It might have been my pathetic look when I saw the sushi; it might have been that I was about 50 pounds less than I am now. But Serach told me much later that one had commented to her later, not really joking, that if it didn't work out for some reason Serach should set her up with me. After the time spent in the lobby we went for a nice walk outside, and came back a couple of hours later. We sat back down with her friend the monitor and another one of the friends when another girl came into the room, with a guy... and they were both drunk. Serach was acquainted with but not really friends with the girl; after the girl wouldn't stop talking for a while, she turned to ask Serach who I was. Serach didn't feel like dealing with a drunk bugging her about her date, so she answered (to her friends' amusement) that I was her cousin. After a while, I believe the monitor friend - who was quite annoyed to have to deal with this - sent the girl up to her room and the guy she was with out the door.

This actually caused a funny story later on when we got engaged - the girl saw Serach and asked who the guy was; Serach asked her if she remembered meeting me that night in the lobby. The girl made a face and said "You're engaged to your cousin!?", before Serach laughed and explained that I was not actually her cousin and why she'd said it.

All in all, date two was a success - next time, Central Park & Starbucks.
Ezzie: I'm writing the story as I remember it, and unfortunately that sometimes results in skipping some details. When I remember them, I'll try to fill them in; possibly in the comments, possibly in the posts if it won't make it too disjointed. If anything is unclear or you have any questions, feel free to ask! Serach won't admit it, but she's been reading the story [and lately, other posts, too!] - maybe she'll fill in some of the details and her perspective at some point. I'm still hoping. :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

How I Met Serach Part IX: Dr. Seuss & Sushi

This is Part IX of a series about how I proposed to Serach. Part I is here, Part II is here, Part III is here, and Part IV is here, Part V is here, Part VI is here, Part VII is here, Part VIII is here. Or, you could simply use the dropdown menu on the left side of the blog titled "How I Met Serach". I'm currently giving the background of the story...
Ez: Wow. I didn't realize that it's been 7-1/2 months since I left off, but the truth is, I didn't know where to take it from there. I'd finished recapping the first date, and I don't think that the mundane portions of our dating are all that interesting to read about, though I guess one never knows. In addition, I'm obviously not going to put a lot of portions up on this blog; those are for us.* Soooo... the next few parts are going to be a little more choosy, picking out various parts and stories that I think are worth telling over. Enjoy!

The day after our first date was Thanksgiving Day 2003. I was headed to my friend and chavrusa Jon's house for my first ever Thanksgiving "feast"; and quite a feast it was. Meanwhile, Serach was headed to Los Angeles to celebrate the birth of her newest nephew. Sometime over the next couple of days, Jon - whom you may recall we met through - called up his good friend Serach and said,
"You know... I think maybe you should date Ezzie."

Serach responded, "Umm, I think we already are."
That got a nice big WHAT!?!??!, but that led to an amusing conversation over the phone between Serach and myself, as we contemplated our next steps. Serach mentioned that it seemed that with a few people she'd dated, she'd never really been 'asked' on a date; it seemed to just 'happen'. Now, here we were, and the same thing had happened. Of course, sap that I am was, I immediately asked,
"Fine. Serach, will you go out on a date with me?"
Awwww. So romantic!

We had a number of deep and fascinating conversations about a myriad of subjects over the next week or so, as it would be a while until we'd have a chance to actually have that date. Without a car on my part, and a license on her part, we could only try and meet up in Manhattan when we both had enough time to do so. We'd just have to stick to the phones for a while.

In one of those conversations, I expressed - or rather, had trouble expressing a lot of what I may have wanted to... but not because I didn't know how, but because I wouldn't let myself. I was afraid: Afraid to sound dumb, afraid to embarrass myself... just afraid in general. It was at this point that Serach picked up on my thoughts and immediately said a line that I've liked forever since, and which may seem awfully familiar:
Be yourself; because the people who care don't matter, and the people who matter don't care.
While for some this may come easy, this was something I'd long struggled with, though 7 years in a dorm, particularly my experiences in my two years in Israel, had gotten me much better at this. Now, I doubt that most of my friends who've known me only since after high school would believe I was ever like that. Those are the same people who don't believe I was ever shy, either. :) But the applicability of the line is endless. Some people have trouble being themselves in day-to-day life; some people when confronted with certain situations; some people have trouble when they go against the grain; and others seem to rebel without managing to be themselves. I think most people would be happier if they allowed themselves to be themselves.

As you can probably see, this was obviously a very important line for me. Less important but slightly more troubling was another comment she made:
"What!? You've never had sushi!? Oh, we're definitely going to be getting sushi on our date, then!"
Uh-oh. Next time: Sushi, Drunks, & Meeting Friends.
Ezzie: I'm writing the story as I remember it, and unfortunately that sometimes results in skipping some details. When I remember them, I'll try to fill them in; possibly in the comments, possibly in the posts if it won't make it too disjointed. If anything is unclear or you have any questions, feel free to ask! Serach won't admit it, but she's been reading the story [and lately, other posts, too!] - maybe she'll fill in some of the details and her perspective at some point. I'm still hoping. :)
* ...and to varying degrees: Our parents; our siblings; certain close friends; my roommates - who had the opportunity to hear waaay too many [err, loud] arguments between various people that were on speaker and I found out later could be heard not just in my own room, but in the living room/kitchen and other rooms as well; and various other random people from relatives to people we'll likely never see again, but will always have intense gratitude for.

Friday, March 09, 2007

How I Met Serach Part VIII: Thank You & Awareness

This is Part VIII of a series about how I proposed to Serach. Part I is here, Part II is here, Part III is here, and Part IV is here, Part V is here, Part VI is here, Part VII is here. Or, you could simply use the dropdown menu on the left side of the blog titled "How I Met Serach". I'm currently giving the background of the story... starting from the first date. I started writing this one year ago today... because we got engaged three years ago today! (And I'm still on the first date!) I hope everyone is enjoying our story... Part VII left off with Serach doing something truly memorable, something which meant a lot to me:
Thank you!
...she called out, as we walked out of the 7-11 where we'd spent the last few hours. She realized that while we'd both thanked the cashier, near the door, the other man who was working hard to clean the floors hadn't heard us, so she turned back towards him to thank him as well. After all, he was working the late-night shift too, was he not?

I was really impressed with this girl I'd met just hours before. Sure, she didn't need to thank him; he wouldn't have noticed or been insulted whatsoever. But it did make him happy to see that people appreciated him, and that means a lot as well. It may not be practical to constantly do this, but when we are able to, those little gestures in life can truly make someone's day - even if by only putting them in a slightly better mood, so the next thing to happen to them is looked at in a more positive light. It's like when someone cuts you off - the next thing that happens will upset you as well, because you're already annoyed. But if a person lets you in ahead of them in traffic, you're far more inclined to do the same for the next person... and not be upset at the person in front of you who is letting someone else in.

While those aren't the thoughts that went through my head at the time, I do recall thinking something along the lines of 'Wow, that was really nice! This Serach girl is really, really nice - truly nice, no show.' For some reason, I commented on what she'd done, saying how impressed I was - she was happy to hear that, because one guy had once chastised her for 'wasting her time' thanking a worker 'for doing nothing'. This then led to a wonderful discussion about what's important in life, and how we need to act, and included a lot of "Exactly!"s, "Yep!"s, and the like - all the keys to a good first date, right? Most importantly, I'd already seen so much that I really liked about Serach - she was lively, she was incredibly talkative [contrary to popular belief of those who've met me, I'm actually shy, deep down], she was fun, and best of all, she was truly sweet. She was aware, even as that's not something that comes naturally to her. She went out of her way to make other people happy. She was upbeat. She was smart. She was thoughtful. She was conscientious, caring enough to remember something I'd mentioned that I liked, and bringing it across the country for me - even though she'd never met me before, and had never planned on dating me. She was - simply - amazing, and I was fortunate enough to see so much of this on the very first date, which wasn't even supposed to be a date.

Of course, Serach isn't the type to hide much. She's quite the outgoing one, and it was she who finally summed up what has become one of my mantras in life, while we talked on the phone about a week later. But that's a story for a later post. :)
Happy Engagement Anniversary, Serach! I love you!!
Ezzie: I'm writing the story as I remember it, and unfortunately that sometimes results in skipping some details. When I remember them, I'll try to fill them in; possibly in the comments, possibly in the posts if it won't make it too disjointed. If anything is unclear or you have any questions, feel free to ask! Serach won't admit it, but she's been reading the story [and lately, other posts, too!] - maybe she'll fill in some of the details and her perspective at some point. I'm still hoping. :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

How I Met Serach, Part VII...Eleven: Is She Cute!?

This is Part VII of a series about how I proposed to Serach. Part I is here, Part II is here, Part III is here, and Part IV is here, Part V is here, Part VI is here. Or, you could simply use the dropdown menu on the left side of the blog titled "How I Met Serach". I'm currently giving the background of the story... starting from the first date. My "sister" B has just called and interrupted what seems to have turned into a date, much to my surprise.
Ez: Hey B, what's up?
B: Heeeey! Are you still out with that girl Serach?
Ez: Umm, yeah.
B: EH-ZIE!! Is this a date?! It IS a date! I told you it was a date. [Note: She does this a bit, in case you haven't noticed.]
Ez: Umm, no? Maybe? I don't know.
B: OHMIGOD, it's a date. Haha! You're on a date! Well, is she cute!?
Ez: [long pause] Uh, yeah. [I had no clue how to answer that. I mean, that's not my focus, and I don't think I am/try not to be shallow, even if I did notice that she's really pretty. But B knows me well, so...]
B: No, no, Ezzie, that's not what I asked. I asked if she's cuuute. Not just cute. You can answer the question, don't worry. It's okay. Now - Is. She. Cute!?
Ez: Okay, okay. Yes!
B: Yaaay! Good. Okaaay, I'll let you get back to your daaate! Byeeeeeeee!!!!
So I got off the phone with B, and returned to what was clearly a date. Serach didn't miss a beat, continuing to talk while I just listened, throwing in a few words here and there. Though I'd explained B to Serach in the past, I think I tried to explain that one a bit more clearly now - I think Serach probably thought it quite strange that I had a sister who was in fact not related to me in any capacity, was just a year younger than me, and was someone who I spoke to nearly every night for about an hour. I can't imagine why.

Meanwhile, Serach and I kept walking around, talking. It was pretty cold out, and we were shivering, but there was no place open at 2:00 in the morning, oddly enough, so we just kept walking on Main Street until we got near Jewel Avenue. Lo and behold, we saw a sight for sore eyes: A beautiful, huge, and most importantly, 24-hour store which is home to one of Serach's favorite things: Slurpees. Hello, 7-Eleven!

We walked in, and though we felt weird kind of walking around the store not buying anything, we were finally able to warm up a bit. One guy was behind the counter, not doing much; the other was mopping up around the store. We asked if they minded that we were just standing and talking in the store, since it was so cold outside; they didn't care, though they probably thought we were nuts.

In case they weren't sure, after a while, and after we had warmed up quite a bit, Serach decided she was going to get a Slurpee. I think I bought something also (probably a Coke), and we continued to stand there and talk... and talk, and talk, and talk. By now, it was about 3:30. We felt really weird/bad that we were now the only people besides the two guys working there who were in the store, so we decided to leave. On the way out, we thanked the guy behind the counter, while the other guy was behind the coffee machines mopping, not really paying any attention.

That's when Serach did something truly memorable.

Ezzie
: I'm writing the story as I remember it, and unfortunately that sometimes results in skipping some details. When I remember them, I'll try to fill them in; possibly in the comments, possibly in the posts if it won't make it too disjointed. If anything is unclear or you have any questions, feel free to ask! Serach won't admit it, but she's been reading the story [and lately, other posts, too!] - maybe she'll fill in some of the details and her perspective at some point. I'm still hoping. :)


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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How I Met Serach, Part VI: Livewire

This is Part VI of a series about how I proposed to Serach. Part I is here, Part II is here, Part III is here, and Part IV is here, Part V is here. I'm currently giving the background of the story... starting from the first date. I've just met Serach for the first time face-to-face by... scaring her. Nice.

Though it may not have seemed like it from the last post, the first things I noticed about Serach were not her looks or how she dressed... it was her smile, eagerness, and energy.

As anyone who has ever met Serach can attest, Serach is... well, she's a bit nuts. [ducks] In a good way. She's funky, she's crazy, and you never quite know what she'll say or do at any given moment. Sometimes, this gets a bit scary (embarrassing?); most of the time, though, it's funny, and it always keeps everyone going. Life around Serach is never boring. As many a guest has said,
"With Serach around, you never quite know what's going to happen next."
Anyways... when I met Serach, there she was, this big smile, walking around Main Street at 10:30 at night as if she'd just woken up or had chugged a couple lattes and had all the energy in the world. When we were engaged, Serach went to LA for a friend's wedding; the bride's aunt is a cousin of ours, and called my mother after the wedding to tell her she'd finally met Serach. She described her in one word: "Serach is a livewire."

To this day, I think that's the best description of Serach I've ever heard.

On this night, she was. She was almost jumping around as we walked back and forth on Main Street, talking as all the stores closed around us. We stopped at the park nearby and sat on the benches and talked [and unlike friends of ours, did not get a ticket for it], discussing mutual friends we discovered we had, and how strange it was that we'd never met considering some of the close friends we shared. Serach did (and still does) most of the talking, which was fine with me. I was just enjoying being around someone who was so... :::exciting:::, bursting with excitement about everything, so full of life.

As the time passed quickly, and my watch creeped closer to 1:00 in the morning, Serach asked if I minded if she made a phone call. I think she called her mother about something related to their upcoming trip to LA for her nephew's bris; I honestly don't remember, though. Regardless, as soon as she got off, we started talking again, when suddenly... my phone rang.

It was B.

Ezzie: I'm writing the story as I remember it, and unfortunately that sometimes results in skipping some details. When I remember them, I'll try to fill them in; possibly in the comments, possibly in the posts if it won't make it too disjointed. If anything is unclear or you have any questions, feel free to ask! Serach won't admit it, but she's been reading the story [and lately, other posts, too!] - maybe she'll fill in some of the details and her perspective at some point. I'm still hoping. :) She's started at least telling me some of what I missed offline...

Friday, May 26, 2006

How I Met Serach, Part V: Caramel Latte

This is Part V of a series about how I proposed to Serach. Part I is here, Part II is here, Part III is here, and Part IV is here. I'm currently giving the background of the story... starting from the first date. I'm about to meet Serach face-to-face for the very first time, wearing my OJ sweatshirt, slip-on Skechers, and with a very unshaven face. Hey - I didn't know it would turn into a date, okay?!

It was a nice night, clear but cool. It was the night before Thanksgiving, however, in late November, so it was starting to get very cold very quickly. We were to meet on Main Street, just after the strip of stores and restaurants, but Serach was a bit unsure of where to go, so she called me. She was walking from one end, I from the other; I saw her far off in the distance, but she didn't see me, so for some reason - and to this day, I'm still not sure why - I thought it would be funny to scare her. The way that particular block of Main Street is set up, the street widens just prior to the stores, which means I can be around a corner from where she is... and "boo" her.

Keep in mind that Serach has never met me before, and that I'm dressed in a hooded sweatshirt, am 6 feet tall, and weigh [back then] about 185 pounds. (Wow, has that changed.) Serach is 5 feet tall and petite. Tiny, some might say... at least until they find out she's a black belt. She's on the phone with me, but can't see me, so I tell her to keep walking straight until she's just past me, then to stop. Meanwhile, I close my phone, and walk right up behind her, her curly hair just 3 feet in front of me... and about a foot below, and yell:
BOO!!!
She jumped, spun, and screamed "AAAH!" with a look of terror on her face, as I calmly pulled the hood off my head and smiled at her.
E: "Hey, how are you?"

S: "Oh my gosh, you scared me! ... Hi!"
After a minute or so of talking, I noticed she was holding a little gift bag. (Brain: Uh-oh.) "What's that?" "This is a gift I bought you when I was in Seattle." "You didn't need to get me anything!" (Especially considering I'm empty-handed...) "Well, I wanted to. Plus, it's something you want." "Heh. (Uh-oh, what is she talking about?!) What is it?" "Try and guess!" "It has to be something to do with Starbucks, right?" (Whew, save!) "Good guess! Can you be more specific?" "Umm... well, it can't be coffee, or it would be really bad by now..." "Well, actually... it is coffee." She opens the bag, and pulls out what's inside, narrating all the way...
S: "See, it's a Starbucks mug - sorry, they didn't have any with a handle - filled with coffee beans. I hope you don't mind, I opened the bag [holds up bag] of coffee beans to fill the mug, thought it would be nicer that way. And *here* [takes out squeeze bottle] is the caramel sauce, so you can make your own caramel lattes! I know you said the normal sauce in the Starbucks stores aren't kosher, but the ones they sell separately have an O-U, so I bought that. Do you like it?"

Brain: Oh, crap. This is really, really nice! And I have *nothing*?! She actually listened to some little comment I made about how I love Starbucks' caramel lattes, and went out of her way and bought all this stuff for me! That's really nice... and I'm a moron. Now what do I say?!

E: "I really like it! Thanks!" Okay, that wasn't too bad.
So we start walking, Serach and I, heading past the now closed restaurants and stores that make up Main Street. She is dressed very nicely, wearing a light purple sweater that has one of those extra folds at the top for style [or something like that], with her hair up and flats. She looked very, very pretty, wearing no makeup that I noticed, and with a brilliant smile. She also had this funky rainbow-colored scarf that was maybe 4 inches thick but quite long swung around her neck. I was very impressed: For a girl from New York, in New York, who stands just 5 feet tall, to dress like she did? Almost unheard of. The stereotypical frum girl* in New York gets dressed up and made up with their hair ironed and straightened just to go to an all-women's college, wearing 2-inch heels and a lot of black. Here she was, in full living color.
She looked beautiful, and always will.
Ezzie: I'm writing the story as I remember it, and unfortunately that sometimes results in skipping some details. When I remember them, I'll try to fill them in; possibly in the comments, possibly in the posts if it won't make it too disjointed. If anything is unclear or you have any questions, feel free to ask! Serach won't admit it, but she's been reading the story - maybe she'll fill in some of the details and her perspective at some point. I'm still hoping. :)

* Note to single Orthodox young women: Most guys don't care if your hair is straightened or if you're dressed to kill, or if you wear heels or not. They would much rather you be comfortable, able to walk, and having a good time. They usually don't notice what clothes you wear, and probably won't realize if you wear the same thing on the 7th date as you did on the first. And they definitely won't care. They're more likely to wonder why you can't walk straight and why you look so uncomfortable in whatever you can't breathe in - and they almost always think in their minds, "Why the heck is she wearing so much crap on her face?!" Don't look like a shlump, fine. But don't kill yourself. Guys want girls they can marry, not girls they can show off. And the ones who do, you don't want.

And oh yeah - most guys [I know] prefer curly hair by a mile anyway. :)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

How I Met Serach, Part IV: The "Sister"

This is Part IV of a series about how I proposed to Serach. Part I is here, Part II is here, and Part III is here. I'm currently giving the background of the story...

During night seder, November 26th, 2003...
[beep] Ez: Hey B, what's up?

B: Hey - whatcha doing tonight?

Ez: Actually, remember that girl Serach I told you about? I'm meeting her for the first time tonight.

B: Oh! Is it a date?

[pause]

Ez: Umm... no, I don't think so...

B: You sure? Kinda sounds like a date... (!) Eh-zeeee!!

Ez: No - I don't think it is. We're just meeting up.

B: O-kaaaay!!!

Ez: Okay, gotta get back to learning before Jon kills me. Byee!

B: Byeeeeeeeeee!!!
Ah, B. My dear friend B. It's time to go back into the past a bit...

For a long time, I had a friend Bracha, whom I (along with many others) called Bracha B, or often simply "B". We were friendly since I was in high school (she is a year younger than I am), and had become exceptionally close as we each went through hard times when we were in Israel - for me, it was a rough Shana Bet (second year in Israel post-high school), for her, a rough beginning to Shana Aleph (first year). One call, right around Sukkos of that year, was one of the major catalysts of our relationship. The highlight: My saying to her, after she gave excellent advice and listened to me for about an hour...
Hey, Bracha - I never realized you're not a ditz!
Brilliant, right? For some reason, after a few minutes of apologizing and trying to explain that one, she (kind of) forgave me, even if has she never let me live it down. Then again, I will always tease her about the time she called me in a panic because she'd just burned off some of her hair, but I digress... Over the rest of the year, save about 6 weeks in the middle, we would speak quite often, and this continued over the summer and into the next school year, when I was in Lander and she was in college at home. We had become so close, we considered ourselves to be brother and sister - one of the ironies being that her birthday was exactly the same as my [biological] sister. Bracha was, and always will be, one of my best friends, and she really is like a second sister to me.*

*
Just to clarify, there was never any chance Bracha and I would date. Long story, but it was never even a thought in our minds...

So... Bracha B was very excited about my "meeting" - and decided she would call me later on in the night to see how it went. She had heard quite a bit about this "Serach" girl, who had (gasp) interfered on occasion with "our" talking time, and was interested in learning more. Meanwhile, I thought nothing of it - I was wearing my gray OJ hooded sweatshirt (really comfortable), my Skechers slip-on shoes, and hadn't shaved in who knows how long.

After night seder with my good friend Jon, my talk with my 'sister' Bracha, and Ma'ariv, I headed out to meet Serach for the first time. Little did I know that I'd be meeting a new best friend...

Ezzie: I'm writing the story as I remember it, and unfortunately that sometimes results in skipping some details. When I remember them, I'll try to fill them in; possibly in the comments, possibly in the posts if it won't make it too disjointed. If anything is unclear or you have any questions, feel free to ask! Serach won't admit it, but she's been reading the story - maybe she'll fill in some of the details and her perspective at some point. I'm still hoping. :)

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