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A Dinner Party Abroad

A few years back, I found myself living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

My birthday was right around the corner, and it was the first time that I would be celebrating in a different country. I had been in Buenos Aires for about 2.5 months at this time, which had been long enough to make a small social network for myself - a blend of both fellow expats and locals from a tremendous array of backstories.

At the time, I was living in an a wonderfully friendly and welcoming hostel in Recoleta which I had come to call home, even though I was sleeping on a bunk bed in a 4 bed room, and didn't have an inch of space to myself. There was a tiny kitchen fully stocked with pots, pans, utensils etc, but the tiny space was almost always occupied, and so I almost never cooked.

When my birthday approached, I decided that I wanted to celebrate in a way that I could express my gratitude for all of the people who had been a part of my Buenos Aires community, and for the hostel which (amidst the size) had become a wonderful place to live. Therefore, I knew it was the perfect occasion to organize a dinner party.

I invited my guests to the dinner, and prepared for a day of me cooking, setting up and entertaining alone. However, as I begun my preparations, I found myself accompanied to the grocery store by friends from the hostel, who then assisted me with all of the cooking, chopping, sauteing, of all the ingredients. A small assembly line had formed of prep work, cooking, and then carrying everything up from the kitchen on the main floor, up onto a rooftop terrace where the dinner would be set.

The meal was served on a variety of assorted plates / anything resembling dishware that we could find. Nothing matched, we didn't have any proper serving dishes, some people had to bring their own cups because there weren't enough, and we served the taco meat (it was a make your own taco dinner) directly from the pan in which in was cooked. The brownie cake we made did not fare well in the oven, and instead of birthday candles we could only find a tea light candle.

However, small set backs aside, it ended up being one of my most memorable dinner parties. It was evidence that a dinner can bring together a group of people who perhaps had nothing more in common other than the fact that they all lived in the same city at the same time, and create something special and meaningful together.

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