A Dinner for Many

Last night, in the midst of much food, music, and dancing, I could feel only one emotion, that of overwhelming happiness. Last night proved to be one of the finest that I’ve ever had.

To begin, I had this thought brewing in my head the moment I arrived in Maastricht to have an international dinner night with my compatriots in Avant Garde. I discussed this time and again with others, with no one shooting down the thought of doing this. So in one of our many gatherings in the commons room, we affirmed that we were going to have a dinner party for all.

The Commons Room

The Commons Room, everybody.

So I grabbed the bull by the horns with this dinner party concept, threw out a date and time on Facebook and told everyone to make it happen. And man, it happened all right.

My initial thoughts on the meal were that a few us were going to pitch in a couple of dishes, have little dinner, and chill. But things got decidedly bigger (and better) as more and more people became interested in participating in some way. So when Friday, September 7 rolled around (the day of the dinner party), the kitchen on the second floor of Avant Garde became abuzz with a flurry of activity.

Making Sushi

Latvian-native Michael (pronounced “Mee-sha”) preparing sushi.

Nearly two hours before the official start of the dinner party, floor-mates Michael and Bea were both madly prepping dishes to share for everyone that night. While sushi is itself a Japanese cuisine, according to Michael it’s quite popular in his native Latvia. Bea herself was working on making a Spanish tortilla, a popular dish from her home country (yes, Spain).

Making tortillas

Bea, seen here diligently making Spanish tortillas.

And in the midst of watching food get made, I decided to go out and begin setting up in the small dining room found on the second floor, but Michael was quick to say that we should move to the hallway on one end of the floor where there was plenty of more room. So the two of us quickly gathered up the tables from the dining room, as well as my desk from my own room, and made a nice long table. Before too long, table clothes were out, chairs were getting set, and lights were being placed.

Setting up

Our dinner table, in the process of getting set up.

So I returned to the (quite crowded) kitchen and got to starting my dish: chicken with Gates BBQ Sauce (yeah, the same sauce that I fought to keep with me before even leaving the United States).

Cooking my chicken

Manning two skillets, as well as a pan for my special butter and onion side dish.

Making salad

Mag making a favorite of hers: salad!

The kitchen became a whirlpool of people coming and going. Others from the third floor were coming down and bringing their dishes; others were moving in and out grabbing plates and silverware. This was surely to be a beautiful dinner.

So as I finished up my chicken, I began the process of making sandwiches: cutting the bread, placing the meat, pouring the sauce. It admittedly took time, but before long it was ready. So with sandwiches in hand, I headed out to our impromptu dining hall and was greeted with the  delectable sight of many dishes set and waiting. All that was left were my sandwiches and one more side (courtesy of the third floor I believe).

Our dining hall

Our dining hall(way), almost ready for the feast to begin!

We soon gathered around the table and patiently awaited for the arrival of the last dish. Many of us drew cameras out and took many upon many pictures of our table. All of us felt so immensely proud at what we had accomplished that we nearly did not want to eat the food, it was just too perfect. But this was a feast and the food was made to be eaten and shared by all, so we waited.

Waiting

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

And continued waiting for what felt like an eternity, though it was probably closer to 5 minutes.

FOOD

With a big table filled with food that you’re forced to wait and watch, the Hunger Games suddenly becomes more literal.

But without further waiting, the final dish arrived, so we preceded to dive in and eat all that could be had. My chicken and BBQ sandwiches quickly vanished within minutes of starting, with nearly all approving of the meat and/or Gates BBQ Sauce. All of the other dishes were equally appealing and easily delicious!

Perfection

This was perfection.

With bellies getting filled, appetites satisfied, we then decided to hit up a playlist and dance and sing the night away, courtesy of a large amplifier provided by Italian friend and floor-mate Federico.

Dancing the night away

Everyone’s on their feet. I can say that this was the perfect night.

And that’s the way it is.