The Filipinos in my GNIE sub-group decided to have a BBQ/party and invited me along. I am officially their "adopted Filipino". Cool! We also adopted a Filipino from the other sub-group as he fits better with my sub-group than with his own sub-group, given his easy-going attitude (see "neutral party in Group A" in my earlier blog entry).
At Practicum, we learnt from a Filipino RN there who was our senior from the GNEA program (predecessor of the GNIE program) that their class had a Polish who was "adopted" by the Filipinos in their sub-group too.
AA and I were sad that LP has left our sub-group for she was the "social glue" of the Filipino sub-group. With LP gone, I resolved to make more effort to befriend DL and JC. [Click here and here for my past experience with them.] Afterall, despite some of my negative experience with them, I recognize that their behaviour was more driven by insecurity than anything else. From private feedback (i.e. individuals telling/complaining to me his/her experience with them), I recognize that their behaviour was not personally directed at me. E.g. Even their fellow Filipinos suffered backstabbing from them. It is just who they are at this current point.
In case you are wondering why I would increase my effort to befriend DL and JC despite their history of backstabbing, even of "their own kind". Here are some wise words borrowed from Dotseng, "This is how politics is conducted in business – there are never any true enemies or friends only merchants of convenience play this game."
Anyway, we had a really nice afternoon, with jovial people bringing food to the potluck. There was lots of yummy food. IJ baked some creamed potatoes (2 special bacon-free pieces for me) and roasted a pig's head for the first time. And I can tell from the colour and texture (by touch) that he did the pig's head excellently. [Albeit I did not eat the pig's head because I am vegetarian.] JC and DL prepared a lovely salad, with shrimp paste similar to Thai salad. [I ate a bit of that to "give face". Thankfully, I'm not so strictly vegetarian.] The desserts prepared by Mrs IT (egg custard flan) and Mrs WA (cassava flan) were excellent. I brought along perogi. Other food include beef spaghetti, Crispy Creme donuts, KFC nuggets (especially popular with the children), spring rolls (non-vegetarian), yam fries, and various items (including ice-cream sandwich) from IJ's well-stock fridge. IJ was a really great host -- stuffing us with so much food and drinks (soda, beer, wine, etc), and keeping us away from doing the dishes!
After we have gorged ourselves silly with food, we decided to take a walk down to Coquitlam river nearby. The summer air was warm, trees were shady, the river water was cool and clear, so clear that you can see each pebble on the riverbed. IJ warned us to watch out for bears as he had seen them before at the park. We did not meet any bear but JC incredibly caught a bird with her bare hands! As the bird flew and hopped by the group, various persons made failed attempts at catching it. Only JC was persistent enough to keep trying and finally caught the bird. She was so gentle with it -- stroking the initially-frightened and struggling bird, until it calmed down and started looking around as if nothing happened while it nestled in JC's hand. Once JC opened her hand to release the bird, it flew away to a nearby tree and looked at us from high-grounds. The children had an awesome time playing in the water and throwing pebbles/rocks into the river. IJ said that he would invite us back to watch the salmons run upstream when the salmon spawning season arrives. We are all looking forward to it.
JC with a bird in her hand,
definitely worth more than 2 in the bush!
Note: Struggling bird (L or top), Calm bird (R or bottom)
After the walk, we returned to IJ's home and resumed feasting. DL took out a karaoke set with tons of pre-recorded song. According to JC, every Filipino household has such a set because all Filipinos love to sing. In fact, everyone in the group (including 2 of the children) took turns to sing, except for the 2 Mrs and IJ. IJ declined to sing, he said that he couldn't sing well. It was a running joke that whenever I sang, either solo or as a duet, the system kept giving high scores -- that the karaoke system was perhaps "made in China" and therefore "racist". I agreed with the joke because frankly I was off-key, missed timings and missed words, etc, but the others sang well (especially JC).
At one point in the evening, IJ's mom who lives in the storey above dropped by. I am glad that she welcomed us and did not mind the ruckus we were creating in our merry-making.
Time flies when one is having fun. Before long, IT bade goodbye as it was bedtime for his 4 month-old baby girl. [We joked that her nickname is "Semester 2" as she was born at the start of this GNIE semester.] We all left together as it was already past 9pm!