On September 20, the week after the sacrifice holiday, four American ladies in my neighborhood (me being one of them), were invited to a picnic.
We thought it was just going to be us and our kids with our neighbor and her kids, so we each prepared a dessert and got our kids ready to go.
RIGHT before we got in vehicles to leave, we got wind of how big this picnic was going to be.
It was my neighbor and her kids; her sisters and their kids; her husband's sister and her kids; her nephew's new wife; her daughter-in-law; her daughter-in-law's sisters and mother; friends; those friends mothers and sisters, etc.
You get the picture.
We were clueless.
Our desserts might have been a little too little.
All the teenage girls took off for a walk in the park while we ladies visited.
I had met most of them before at other picnics or graduations or teas, but there were also many new faces. All in all, at the end of the night, there were over 40 ladies there, and even a handful of men showed up for a meal.
Today's language was slow for me. I couldn't understand some of the ladies well (because I'm probably lacking some key verbs that I don't know yet), but when I was eavesdropping on conversations around me, I could pick up things here and there that I understood.
After telling about my kids and my family, mostly I sat quietly, smiled and listened to those around me. A lot of them actually talk about you while you are sitting right in front of them, so it's like a game to try to figure out what they are saying about you. It doesn't bother me. They don't do it secretively. They both look at you and smile while they converse about you.
I really think they want me to understand, but sometimes, I just can't.
Believe it or not, my language IS getting better. My taxi rides are getting more and more communicative. I can say more at the vegetable stand, and I can now understand how much money they are telling me something costs instead of handing them a wad of cash and just waiting for the correct change.
It turns out that it wasn't just a dessert party. We had dolma for dinner, naan, vegetables, and all kinds of things from all the different ladies.
It was kind of like our own personal food festival.
It was hard to get pictures for you because...darkness. I did however manage to get pictures of what was parked directly in front of me, albeit, not good, quality pictures.
Clean up went quickly with lots of hands. Then we sat around and ate popcorn and nuts.
In the park there are small snack stands and small restaurants scattered throughout. We happened to be right next to one that had some yard lights and loud music.
The teenagers thought it was a perfect opportunity to get up and dance, and it looks like the little ones joined in, too.
Karis is in a white long-sleeved shirt, looking away; Kylie is the blur third from the left, crammed in between two girls; and Keira is in the foreground, wearing polka dots.
I can't tell you how much it warms my heart that my girls always have a good time at these picnics. They are usually up for anything.
Caleb also ran around, played soccer, and then ended up at one of the restaurant tables with some friends playing Yu-gi-oh. (It's basically a card battle game that I don't understand).
All the Americans left before everyone else because it was a school night, and at this point, the local kids still hadn't started school.
It was a great way to celebrate the start of a new school year and the fact that the summer heat was over and fall had arrived.