Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A family dinner

For the first time in the 2 years I have spent in the US, I almost felt at home. My colleague invited me over for dinner, Saturday evening. Now, I have eaten many a dinner at friends' or colleagues' places in this country, but they were always in groups of at least four or five people. With friends, conversation would veer to sports, movies, whose doing what where etc. and with colleagues, the talk would boringly slip to office stuff and I would hit the nearest alcoholic beverage hard, in an effort to numb myself.

But this was different. I spent a whole evening with my colleague, his wife, three kids and the family dog. And it was fun. The talk mostly was about how the wife's brother and his Indian wife have a daughter with blue eyes, brown skin and black hair.

My colleague is half Lebanese, half Polish, and his wife is Irish. But she was born on the island of Okinawa. The dog is half sheepdog, half labrador and half something else. The kids are all American and crazy. The eldest thinks he is a superhero and goes to sleep with a toy gun in the waistband of his pajamas. The middle girl thinks she is a princess and dresses in crowns, diaphenous veils etc. She only walks on tiptoe and changes outfits every ten minutes. The youngest girl eats only chips for beakfast lunch and dinner.

As it was Diwali day, I got them Motichur laddus and pedas from the Indian store. I hate the stuff myself, but thought it might be a nice idea to get my hosts some Indian "delicacies". Everyone, including the dog, hated the Indian sweets. The sweets were supposed to be dessert, but the kids gave up and asked their mommy if they could have something else. Should have known. I myself would much rather have a pastry than a peda.

My colleague's wife served a great hummus. Apparently she learnt it from her friend who once had a Saudi fiance. The engagement broke up because the guy hit the girl. But the girl got a great hummus recipe which she shared with my colleague's wife. I can ask her for it if anyone is interested. It was very good. While we were eating, my colleague told me about how his great uncle was the last mayor of independant Beirut and how his granddad was the mayor of a small American city. A family of mayors. Interesting.

I also carved a pumpkin, now that Halloween is round the corner. It was the first pumpkin carve of my life and everyone was very impressed with my carving skills. We put candles inside the pumpkins and set them on the porch. They looked very nice in the foggy night. My colleague took photos of the pumpkin and me. I will put them up when I get them.

When I was leaving, the kids asked their daddy if I could stay the night. Apparently, they do that with anyone who turns up for dinner, but still, it was the first time any kids asked that of me. I must be getting nicer as I get older. My colleague's wife was very pleased that I enjoyed her cooking and promised to send some stuff over to me when she made something nice. Then I left.

- Avan


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