Thursday, August 6, 2009

Favorite Places, Favorite Faces

Summer 2009 has officially rocked.

How can it be anything but wonderful when I look at and sing with these faces every day?

The twins on my sides are 4-year-olds with autism. They ADORE music, and this year, they proudly stood in front of their class to lead us in "Hinei Mah Tov." They also sing the heck out of their ABC's. It's been such a joy to watch them blossom this summer.

I've also bravely started playing guitar at camp. It was guitar skills have improved so much in the last 3 weeks, and the kids seem to enjoy the musical energy the guitar brings to camp. I'm happy with my decision to start playing despite my less-than-mediocre guitar skills.

The kids have been such a wonderful part of my summer. They love music time and sing with so much joy and spirit. I'm pleased with the repetoire of both Jewish and children's music they've learned, particularly the songs we've learned for Shabbat. This age group is my absolute favorite to work with--I will miss them to no end when camp ends tomorrow.

I've also been able to enjoy some of my favorite faces and favorite places this summer.

Rachel and I at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, seeing Rent for the 4th time together. This viewing was particularly special because 2 of the members of the Original Broadway Cast were in the cast. Rach and I have been best friends since 4th grade, so we spend a lot of time together whenever we're both in St Louis (one or both of us has lived in a different city ever since college.)

I spent my 27th birthday with my family, watching the St Louis Cardinals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-1. Albert Pujols, my boyfriend, hit 2 homeruns that night. He knew it was my birthday, obviously :)

The next day, I joined my best friend from college, Leah, on a trip to Columbia, Missouri, the home of the University of Missouri-Columbia. I looked at these columns everyday for 4 years, and I still kvell at the sight of them.
Cutest pic of Leah and I that we've ever taken.

Another fun event of the summer was my cousin Whitney's baby shower. Her first baby (and the first baby of any of my cousins) is due in September. Our family is very excited, to say the least! Whitney and her husband Adam live in Washington, DC, so it was nice to see them for an afternoon. I am going to her DC-area baby shower the weekend after I return to NYC.

The Fishbein/Sanger/Arnold ladies: Me, my mom, Stefie, Aunt Diane, Whitney, Aunt Bonnie, Emily

Just last week, I visited some sweet friends in my beloved Cincinnati. My friends Dave and Gal and their daughter Dahlia were driving cross country from San Francisco to Cincy so Dave could continue his rabbinical studies, so I joined them on their last leg of their journey. I love Cincinnati--a peaceful midwestern city with reasonable prices, dishwashers, central AC and sweet people. Most of my good friends from the year-in-Israel are there (including my ex-roomie turned best HUC friend Steph) and I am sad that I can't be with them. Our visit was very low key and chill, but it was wonderful. I was able to see Steph, Batya, Carlie and the Spinrad crew, and also met Steph's wonderful boyfriend Bobby.

Dave, Carlie (the daughter of another of our rabbinical student friends, Erin) and Dave's daughter Dahlia.

Me, Bobby, Steph

Me and Batya--even 115 lbs lighter than in Israel, I still manage to look gigantic next to her. Ah, well.

At this point in time I am packing to return to NYC on Tuesday. Like I've said, it's been a wonderful summer and I am truly sad to be leaving St Louis. This summer, I've come to love and appreciate St Louis in a way I never have before. I've been able to do fun things and explore the city in a whole new way, and I've learned that I would truly be happy to spend the rest of my life here.

Readjusting to life in NYC is going to be difficult. This year, I want to try to stay positive and learn to appreciate the struggles that come from living in such a hurried and expensive city. I want to continue to love school and the experiences that come my way. I want to lose myself in work and the friendships that I DO have in New York. I want to smile and learn to find my peace with the Big Apple, even if I never enjoy living there.

Even if none of that happens, I am so happy to have this picture to help me laugh a little from time to time. I was taking goofy pictures of Noah, my dog, and he smiled for the camera. :)

How can you not smile when you look at that picture? I mean, really.

To everyone who played a part in my amazing summer in St Louis, thank you. I've loved spending this time with you and creating unforgettable memories!!

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