As mentioned in my previous post, I attended the office Christmas lunch. After going back and forth on the subject a couple of times, I finally decided to attend.
Out of concern for traffic and the environment I was offered to join a carpool and attend the event with 2 colleagues. The drive there was uneventful except for a one-sided competition to see whether we arrived at the location before the CEO (because he left at the same time as we did, and took a route that was different from what Google Maps recommended we take).
Upon arrival at this beautiful out-of-the-way location, we walked through a well-manicured lawn, passing by a man-made waterfall, to reach the rustic main building. The ground floor of this building was designed like (or probably used to be) some kind of stable with long wooden beams running across the roof and old stone walls adorned with agrarian tools. Conspicuously absent from this year’s event was pre-lunch alcohol while people mingled and caught up. I should clarify that we were later served a variety of wines and cavas during the meal.
Unlike previous years when I sat wherever the person I was last conversing with sat, this year I strategically decided to accompany the marketing team. A wise decision that made the luncheon more bearable. It was an interesting affair to say the least. Every course of the meal was introduced by synchronized servers making a grand entry to loud music and disco lights. The kind of music that makes that made you want to jump up onto the table, and dance to your heart’s delight, not sit down somberly at a table and have a work lunch with coworkers.
Due to some confusion, my request for vegetarian food went unheeded. This is a complex issue that necessitates an explanation. I like to describe myself as a flexible vegetarian. While I do eat all kinds of foods, being brought up mostly vegetarian I tend to default to that if given the option. Especially for certain things that I have always eaten vegetarian- like pizza, or Indian food, for example. By not requesting vegetarian food in advance at such events, I run the risk of being served my least favorite (or I should say most hated) non vegetarian foods (basically meat in its original form- think a complete fish, a shrimp, lobster, pig with eyes staring at you, etc.). I’m not very fond of sea food in any case. Other worries include being served exotic meats like bird and rabbit. The point is I’m okay with trying new and exotic foods. Heck, I’ve tried some really exotic stuff myself. But being surprised by such meats during the annual Christmas lunch is not really my idea of a fun afternoon.
Back to the lunch, most of the appetizers fortunately were vegetarian with a light sprinkling of acceptable meats. The main course, as luck would have it, was fish, which as you may have guessed, I avoided. Desserts made up for my lack of a main course. To top off the meal the waiters brought a white ball, about the size of a medium bowling ball, to each table. To our surprise, they then proceeded to toss the white ball into the air, which then came crashing down on the table and smashed into a hundred pieces scattering white chocolate and candy across the table. A+ for creativity, D- for consideration of safety for paying customers. Those shards of white chocolate could easily have flown into someone’s eye effectively blinding them.
As expected, this was followed by mind numbing activities and games. The newbies were asked to make some kind of fun presentation. While this looked very interesting, parts of it went over my head as they inexplicably chose to carry out most of these activities in Catalan (the regional language) instead of Spanish. The event came to a crescendo with the lights being dimmed for a brief but beautiful display of pyrotechnics over the green lawns that we took in through large glass windows that covered an entire wall, with Feliz Navidad playing in the background.
The drive home was excruciatingly painful with heavy Christmas traffic resulting in a thirty minute journey taking over an hour and a half.
Next on the agenda, we have a Christmas dinner and a Sant Esteban lunch with friends to look forward to later this week. All the more reason to try to get in some exercise while I can.
Also, we spent this last weekend on a much-anticipated visit from a very close cousin and her husband. We had a splendid time sharing perspectives, re-living old memories, and creating lot of happy new ones. I can honestly say that the Honey Bee and I haven’t had such a good time and laughed so hard in a while. A welcome respite from the grind of the daily routine.
In case we don’t see each other again this week, a very Merry Christmas to all my readers!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, we did reach the lunch event before the CEO. Go Google Maps!