Each year since I've been in Israel, Purim has been a sort of time of crisis for me.
The first year I was in Israel, Dizengoff Center was bombed Purim eve (1996). The phone lines went down, and in those days before cellphones became ubiquitous, I remember feeling real fear, not knowing where friends were.
I remember going to a megilla reading where no one used noisemakers, where everyone in the entire synagogue banged on the walls, beating our anger into the floors, the benches, the walls. I remember crying that night, and then going to my brother's apartment where our Purim joy was turning off the radio for an hour and a half to watch The Neverending Story.
While no other Purim has been that traumatic since, I can't remember a "good" Purim since I made aliya either.
But this year, things are different. This year, G-d was reasonably kind to us, and there was no major trauma. This year, megilla reading in shul was packed and noisy, and I ended up standing outside near the door, but I was able to hear the reader, and he did a great job. I went home and got a great night's sleep. My costume came out pretty good, although nobody could figure out that the animal with the fur and floppy ears that wears a collar with a tag is a ....dog... go fig.
Anyway, Purim morning, we had our annual family reading. The costumes were great. My newest neice celebrated her first birthday by pulling a duck off of her cake - the cake was a bathtub with three cookie ducks floating in it.
People stopped over at my parents' house, then I went home and people stopped over at my house. I exchanged various types of junk food with several people. :)
Then I went to Jerusalem for the second round of Purim. Tonight, Yaakov was the juggler for the "Women in Green" Costume Ball or some such. This is the first time I've seen him perform his juggling routine. He's quite good. Although he didn't do many tricks that I haven't seen before, watching him perform it as a show was really special. Everyone kept telling us what a sweet couple we are, and I believed them. We are a sweet couple. Not because we're mushy, but because we know how to joke together and how to help each other, and because we genuinely like each other.
This year was an almost perfect Purim. Next year... next year Yaakov will come home with me after the party. and that will be a perfect Purim.