Saturday, June 02, 2012

A neighbourly send-off

Originally uploaded by Jane from Illinois.

Well as I found out last night, there ain't no party like an Indonesian party!

After a really long day yesterday (that incidentally ended a really long week), Yarls, J-Bird, Robbo and me walked over to the Indonesian Mission for a farewell party for The D-Man, a true gentleman, lovely colleague and friend. His posting to New York is over now and as I type this, he's probably at JFK with his family getting ready to fly back to Jakarta.

I haven't been to many events at other Missions but one of the things I really love is how they incorporate parts of their own culture - language, food, music - into the celebration. Indonesia was no exception. A delicious buffet was set up in the middle of the long function room, offering Indonesian prawn crackers, stir-fry noodles and tasty satays. Not trusting myself to gnaw anything off a stick (in public anyway), or try and slurp noodles in front of diplomats, I stuck to the raw veggies and dips. Until me and Yarls spotted the mini spring rolls - and then we were in heaven. The dessert buffet was out of this world - such fresh fruit, and the cream-filled profiteroles were probably not authentically Indonesian, but they were an inspired choice.

After the formal proceedings had concluded, the karaoke started. The first time I had ever done karaoke was actually on a trip to Bali. The D-Man and his colleagues jollied everyone along to get up, leave their inhibitions elsewhere, and just rock out. And people obliged! It was so funny to watch people I've normally only seen in meetings get up (in groups, for there is safety in numbers) and belt out power ballads, Bon Jovi, and even a bit of Bruce Springsteen.

Yarls discovered a tambourine at one point in the evening and I was very jealous. I resisted the urge to steal it from her, as there will be plenty of time for me to regale people with my musical abilities (questionable or otherwise).

We DID get up and sing too, though. We sand TWO songs with D-Man in fact: firstly we did "YMCA" (a real crowd pleaser and dance number, where I was Backup Dancer #!, ably assisted by Miss European Union) ; and then we shimmied around the stage to "You're The One That I Want" (as our homage to Olivia Newton John). Much later in the evening a couple of us - possibly egged on by me - sang a rousing rendition of "Piano Man", complete with impromptu dance moves and lots of swaying. It was quite special.

At close to midnight, when only a few hardy souls remained, the time had come to say our REAL goodbyes. It was not easy to farewell D-Man, but I am confident that a) he is going on to bigger and better things; and b) he will keep in touch to share it all with us.

I am just so glad that I got to attend his send-off, because I had a really wonderful time.

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