both caused by dinner and brought to the dinner. Last night was the first dinner of the people that over the past nine months I have collected in my neighborhood. All of them work in one of the cafes or restaurants on the main street by my house. About a month ago, I had the idea to have dinner together one night. Sort of my way to get everyone to gather at the table and connect. Of course, the best way to do this was to go for Indonesian with the rijstafel idea. When I discovered that several of them had never even had Indonesian, it became even more important.
There were eleven of us at dinner. The range of ages and personalities was quite wonderful. From the barely 19 year old waiter to the 43 year old veteran of the hospitality industry. And from the reserved human services worker to the playa barman of the street, the conversations were hilarious and all over the place. There were even Homer Simpson style moments of belts being loosened before diving back in for another plate full.
The best moment of all was when I looked up and down the table and realized everyone was silent because they were so into their food. Of course, since there’s definitely heat and spice in almost every dish, people’s digestive systems already started setting off fireworks. Which lead me to sing (to the tune of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop”) “I’m gonna pop some gas” which set everyone into hysterics. When the dessert came out, there were four large fireworks shooting off the plate. It was so cool! Someone had remembered what I said about Mom and her love for fireworks so they thought that would be a way to surprise me.
It was a great evening. I am really glad I pulled it off. Just getting everyone convinced to come was a lot of work and I did worry when I was sitting there before everyone arrived if people were still going to come. Afterwards, the shyest one of the party said that we should do this every two months with each other. I consider that a great mark of success. Really that is what I wanted to accomplish – to connect people who are very much alone in one way or another. That is the one thing that everyone at the table has in common.
I think my mom would have enjoyed it too. She definitely would have had a lot to say and she would have also collected a group of “orphans” for lack of a better term. I know she would have liked the fireworks, of both variety. Last night, I felt like I was continuing some of the best parts of my mom.