|My happy place: the beaches of Kauai|
For me (us) the show must go on and as such, we attended a reception on Monday night then hosted a sit down dinner in our home yesterday. Being out of character for myself, I approached both half-heartedly. Monday I got dressed minutes before we were to depart and started wondering how long we would have to stay before we even arrived. (In the end my lack of preparation left me feeling like a frump but I had a great time and, being totally out of character for us, we stayed until the very end). Yesterday's dinner was planned in the same hasty manner. Feeling burned out with cooking I succumbed to cooking pseudo-Italian food for a table full of Italians (Early on I had made a vow to never cook the food from our guest's home country but desperate times call for desperate measures). My one addition to the otherwise Italianesque meal was a chilled cucumber soup which would have been more appropriate if the weather was hot instead of cool and damp. Minutes before dinner was served I found myself questioning this menu choice and wondering if the lack of a soup course would be noticed. But the soup quandary wasn't as bad as my opening a container of desperately needed cream only to find that it had turned bad well before its stamped expiration date. This resulted in a harried phone call to Glenn who went to the store on his way home to pick up fresh supplies. Unsure of what he needed to buy for me, he snapped pictures of possible items for my approval before heading to the check-out line. All of this ended with my making last minute preparations that did nothing to improve my outlook on the evening.
But in the end, it all worked out. We did have a great time at the reception on Monday night and enjoyed that event more than any other we have attended to date. Yesterday the rain stopped, the puddles disappeared, and for a brief time before it grew dark, the sun even came out. Pre-dinner drinks were so relaxed and enjoyable that I didn't want to move onto the actual dinner. Dinner itself was perfectly cooked and executed with even the soup, which was initially met with skeptical looks from guests, being consumed with gusto. Conversation was lively and intellectually stimulating and as I sat back and looked around me I realized that this dinner was so much more than the representational one it had set out to be. We were amongst friends; people who originally came together for professional purposes but have since achieved a sense of comfort with one another that has moved us to another level. This was a group where we could discuss topics covering everything from international politics and religion to family and (yes) even the weather. We ate, laughed, drank, then ate some more. Guests lingered at the table long after the typical departure time and I didn't mind. Rather I enjoyed it.
I won't go as far as saying that Albania is my happy place, but in the end it isn't always the location that makes things all right. The important thing is to carve out your own niche and to surround yourself with like minded people and friends. Last night I did just that. And, for good measure, I fell asleep thinking about the beaches of Kauai, my personal geographic happy place.