Last month we attended a Newcomer's Lunch. It was designed for expats in our city who were new, and the old timers as well, to meet new friends. We did. We sat with a friend we met here that we feel is a dear friend already, and two other people. One was here visiting, the other is moving here like we did. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch, and came away with a very dear friend, who is already like family. The Southern ties that bind and all that. There, is the background for this post. Pull up a chair, sit a spell and I will tell you the story of how Baptism by Fire transported us to the good ole days.
Following the lunch, we went to thank our delightful hostess. She was telling us how there were people who were arriving in the following days and weeks, that were sad that they were not here, in time for the lunch. She was saying that her vision was for this to become a community lunch with someone different hosting each time. She was also telling us that she hoped to connect some of the folks coming in the upcoming days with someone to meet with. We heartily and happily volunteered to have lunch with a lady coming the following week. But we were not very clear, apparently. Because the next morning I read on Facebook that mom and I were hosting the next luncheon. Baptism by Fire. Yes, we ARE newcomers. At the time we had only been here 4 months. We don't know the restaurants in town yet, certainly don't know the ever changing bus routes, and nope, not much Spanish yet either. But OK. We can do this. We are Southern ladies. All Southern ladies know how to entertain, whatever the situation. Right?
Well to make a long story, blog length, we began researching, trying restaurants, talking to people and trying to find the perfect location. We found one. The Bayou Caffee, owned and operated by a most charming Cuencano, who worked in New Orleans and Memphis, among other places. Southern ties. In Ecuador. God is great.
We had our lunch this week. By all accounts it was successful. We packed the restaurant. We ate great food. The restaurant was lovely. Everything ran as smooth as silk. Success. But wait, let me tell you what happened.
We sent out an open invitation for RSVP, knowing that in this day and age, people RSVP, then don't show. People show without a reservation. Old southern etiquette is dead. We have been mourning it's passing for about twenty years now. So we sent the open invitation out ...on Facebook, of course. And online websites. After all, that is how it is done these days. But low and behold, people replied. I even got a private message from one attendee thanking us for planning the lunch and making it look so easy. Hark! Do you hear the joy ringing in our hearts? A flashback of gentler more refined days. Then a few cancellations. Rejoice! They let us know. And then, the big event. Let me see if I can set the scene for you.
Thirty-five people, who don't know each other, seated at tables together. Conversation flowing, steadily. Heartfelt laughter in the air. Smiles on every face. Not a cell phone in sight, any where. Be still my heart, the South has risen again. Two and a half hours later the departures begin and with them, our attendees and new friends are thanking us, with hugs and kisses and promises to get together again for lunch.
If you are in town, and like a little of the old niceties of life, drop by the Bayou Caffee, meet Sebastian, owner of the caffee and a killer friendly smile. Have lunch, or dessert and coffee, play a game (he has them there) enjoy the beautiful yard with the open windows and doors and the breeze flowing through. Meet a new friend or three.
Realize that the good ole days of enjoying company, manners, and relaxing are not dead and gone. They moved to Ecuador. The South is alive and well, just two degrees south of the equator.
Ya'll come on back, and sit a spell.
in Cuenca, Living the good life!