Yesterday was the perfect day for a garden BBQ.
Everyone who arrived had to mention "It's so nice out today! You picked the most perfect day of the year!"
And it was true. It was the warmest, sunniest day in Paris so far this spring and I was lucky enough to have a garden and a grill all to myself to celebrate it. (Thanks to Crystal for taking pictures and posting them! I didn't get ANY!)
Originally I had told people to come over around 5, but knowing some peoples schedules and anticipating that we would all want to be in the sun as much as possible I changed the time to 2. Amazingly, somehow, by two o'clock I was showered, shaved, blogged (the wonder!) and had prepared nineteen hamburgers of three different varieties, a vegetable kebab making station (with various assortments of pepper, tomato and zucchini for choosing) and chopped and washed all applicable hamburger toppings without even slicing my fingers (That was later. Don't chop drunk.).
Homemade potato salad was brought, as well as baked macaroni and cheese, garlic butter, cheesecake, a tart and an array of salty snacky foods to go with the bottles and bottles of wine, beer and (of course) champagne.
Well into the night a revolving door of people came, ate, drank chatted with old friends and made new ones. My heart was happy as I scurried from kitchen to grill to boyfriend's lap to blankets to chat with my friends, all laughing and smiling and full. "Je suis si contente," I repeated, even while bleeding over the sink and washing the first round of dishes by hand so we could all eat more. I am so happy.
I must have learned it from my mom, the organizing parties. I've always associated it with my ex-Stepfather's crazy block party style fourth of July parties, but when I look back it was definitely my mom who put all that together, made sure there was more than enough for everyone to eat and drink, kept the kids out of the fireworks and kept the neighbors from calling the cops. It's maybe in our blood because I know my sister is the same way - something on the social, warm, communal Puerto Rican side.
Genetics or not, I am always my absolute happiest to bring people together in my home. My groups of friends mix well together and it's because I choose them for their openness, kindness and joy. We all find a similar happiness in meeting new people and learning about other peoples lives and interests. We're curious and fun.
Naturally, yesterday was no exception. The cat ran around the yard, old friends and new laughed too loudly in a quiet garden in the suburbs and grilled all the food I could find. It was bittersweet, too, knowing that it will probably be the last party chez the Host Family. Then - who know exactly where I'll be next April, and with all my blessings I can't imagine I won't be able to have another, equally wonderful barbeque for all my friends. Which is definitely something I can drink to.