Saturday, July 28, 2007

A very Happy Birthday indeed!

I was fortunate enough to have two birthdays in Israel. My official one was on July 7th. Since it was a Saturday and most things are closed on Saturdays in Israel, it was pretty mellow and low-key, as I didn't feel like cooking or having a lot of people over.

We ate pizza on a blanket on the promenade looking over my favorite beach. We got to watch the sunset together. The birthday cake, brought by my half-sister, was chocolate. Is anything better?

Pizza makes everyone happy. Check out those smiles. (Marina, my half sister; Bilana, my niece; Shura, my sister)

But I think the pizza must have had MSG as the male members of our party started dropping like flies.

(My dad and uncle.)

It was a very very good day, and I didn't think my birthday could get better. A couple of weeks later, I met up with Jules and Francesca at Francesca's place, and I was surprised to find they had put together a birthday party for me. Balloons, cakes, and all. I was really touched that they would put so much thought into it.

(Jules, me, and Francesca -- the three amigos!)

(Me and Guy, Francesca's youngest. Check out those biceps, ladies. You're looking at the next David Beckham. He will break a lot of hearts, and break a lot of football records, in a few year's time!)

We had a lovely dinner of tortellini with two types of sauces, quinoa with carrots made by me and Jules, salmon with rosemary from Francesca's garden, salads, lemonade with mint. It was a wonderful meal eaten outside al fresco with tea lights and baubles. Nigella would have been proud.

Francesca had made me Nigella's Chocolate Guinness Cake. It is one of my favorite cakes. Nice choice, Goth-queen! Here is me helping along with the icing.

And no birthday is complete without birthday brownies, with a beautiful icing sugar design decorated by the kids!

You may notice the wreath of flowers in my hair. It is traditional for the birthday girl to wear this. I think I look quite fetching. I have a picture of me on my sixth birthday dancing at my kindergarten party with my sister. I wore a wreath of red carnations.

It's nice to know that Israelis still do birthdays in style. While we ate cake, everyone sang the Hebrew birthday song, and I had tears in my eyes. I'm sure it had to do with that I was leaving Israel soon, but part of it was how loved I felt by people I only met three weeks before. I felt so at home with Jules and Manda. With Francesca, and Yossi, Gabby, Danielle, and Guy.

What can I say now but how I will treasure these moments for all my life. That my birthday was happy. That 'happy' is an understatement.


Anonymous said...

It's bittersweet to see the photos, such lovely memories but hard to believe that you're not just a car journey away anymore!

We're so pleased to have been able to have spent some time with you - the spare room is always yours when you want it.The children are totally crazy about you so you just HAVE to come back (especially as you so cruelly broke Guy's heart - does Rafa know about this?).

Neshikot from
Francesca x

Anonymous said...

Wow Ilana, What a wonderful way to spend your birthday. It certainly looked like you were having lots of fun. So glad you had a good time.

George (KitchenGoddess) xx

Anna's kitchen table said...

What a beautiful post!
I'm glad you had such an amzing birthday

Unknown said...

That's a fabulous birthday, chica! Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Your family look so happy relaxing and eating pizza together, enjoying the company! And Julie & Francesca are such sweethearts for organising that birthday meal for you- you must've had a ball! What a great holiday xxxx