Last night I invited an ambassador of a very important country to the Philippines, and his family, over to dinner at my house. I specified Sunday night, casual, relaxed and "just us."
This ambassador and his wife had very kindly invited me to dinner sometime back, before I left on my most recent round of a never-ending Travelife. From the very first moments of dinner with just the three of us, we'd hit it off and had a wonderful time talking about anything and everything.
Since then, it's been a real pleasure to keep in touch with them, although it's never been often enough with all our busy schedules and my never-ending Travelife.
SUNDAY INVITES FOR PEOPLE I LIKE
I like having people over for dinner on weekends that I'm in Manila, and Sunday night casual dinner is especially reserved for people I really like. If it's a group of four or more, I set up a serve-yourself buffet so I don't have to do much work, and we usually just sit around the table talking until someone has to go home.
Or if I've just invited one person to dinner, I try to think of a menu that involves cooking or preparing the meal right on the table with a grill or a portable stove top, so that even I can just relax and keep talking while getting the meal done.
Last night, I did a Chinese-style buffet and then I ended the meal with a coconut flan that I'd made beforehand and then placed back into the coconut shell and then chilled. It all turned out pretty nicely and enabled me to sit at the dining table for most of the evening, just enjoying the conversation.
EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN
The conversation itself was very enjoyable. We again discussed everything under the sun -- from politics and history to the subtle but very interesting and complicated twists and turns of Philippine society -- and with a very refreshing frankness that has become the norm between the three of us since we first met.
It's not often that you can lay down your guard and just be completely yourself in such a world full of protocol and diplomatic nuances; but this has been the case with us so far. So this rare friendship is one of the select few I cherish amidst the frenetic social life of Manila and perhaps an even more frenetic Travelife.
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