A despedida picnic

Despedida picnic

One of the recent homework assignments in my MIT Fintech Course was effectively to “tell a story off the top of your head in 300-500 words.” The idea was to use this story later to study effective techniques for pitching business ideas to venture capitalists and others. But the topic was not business-related at all. We had a few options to choose from, and I opted to “tell a story about something you did yesterday.” So in under 20 minutes, I put together the following. I thought I’d share it here.

By the way, I’m in beautiful Palma de Mallorca now, helping Phivocs (a.k.a. John) get settled in. This is the story about the “despedida” picnic before we left . . .

Is there anything better than sharing good food with friends and family?

For the past five or six years, my son John has lived about 100 miles away. Given the distance, and our busy schedules, we don’t get to see each other nearly often enough. Of course, we do make an effort to get together whenever possible.

This weekend, John and I will be flying to Spain. I’m helping him get moved into a new place for at least the next ten months, as he starts a new job there. Now he’s going to be some 4500 miles away! There’s lots to do before we depart, but last night we had the opportunity to relax a bit and celebrate the new opportunities that lie ahead for him.

Several of our Filipino friends decided to throw a little “despedida” party for John last evening. My wife and son were both born in the Philippines, so we often have these little “Filipino parties” with friends. We met in the nearby park, commandeered a few picnic tables, and in true Filipino fashion, everyone brought insane amounts of food.

Filipinos like to tell you that food is always the central focus whenever they get together. And it would be hard to disprove that hypothesis by looking at all the food pics posted on Facebook and Instagram during every party. Of course, we all know it’s really about fellowship with friends and family, but none of us can deny that food is central to fostering that fellowship.

So last night, we were blessed with the usual pancit noodles (this time with banana palm hearts), an amazing tilapia paksil, a huge pile of Filipino-style pork barbeque, lots of fruits, and a few other main dishes that would be more recognizable to the American palate. And not to ignore our sweet tooth, we enjoyed a couple of desserts from John’s homeland–a straight-from-the-oven warm, sticky bibingka (a rice cake made with coconut milk), and my personal favorite, leche flan.

In standard Pinoy fashion, as the party was winding down, dozens of Ziploc bags magically appeared, and everyone began divvying up the leftovers. You simply haven’t been to a Filipino party if you don’t come home loaded with leftovers.

Now that all the selfies have been uploaded, and the menu faithfully documented on social media, we can start looking for the next excuse to throw a Filipino party. For John’s sake, I hope he can find some Filipinos to hang out with in Spain.


About Tim Totten

Amateur Radio @N4GN/OH4GN/@4F1GN; Pres. @SouthGain; Wireless Architect @UPS; Member @FernCreekUMC, @NCDXF, @ARRL; #Bitcoin Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A., Philippines, or somewhere in between

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