After the initial 'hellos', I realised I was in for a long evening, as Hebrew was the only language being spoken. After an hour or so, listening in and paying attention became exhausting. I was surprised by lonely I felt despite being surrounded by friendly people I knew. The isolation was really quite overwhelming.
It was a very good chance for me to remember what it must feel like when your language has little or no status. The isolation ( that I remember from the first few months of High School in Costa Rica) makes it hard to feel like you have a sense of identity in the context.
One of the hardest things as the evening wore on, was watching a joke form and everyone start to laugh. The problem with laughter is that even if one can't understand to not look amused makes you look grumpy!
There were a few brave souls who would risk English in front of all their peers (risk sounding silly) and made conversation with me. We were all sitting around a big circle so unless there was a devoted few to keep the English alive it quickly disappeared. Of course, everyone speaking English for my sake was also uncomfortable [what to do!]... It reminded me that to learn a new language properly means enduring many such evenings - it is much harder as an adult!
(p.s. Eyal was a constant translator where possible- but the conversation was so quick and often drew on many years of shared experiences- at some point I thought it best to just let things pass...)