Today is the first day in over a week that the Embassy has only contained the people who live within it, and so it’s probably a good day to take stock of the last few days.
By all standards, Bandaza this year was an incredible success. Rather than try to detail everything, though, let me just hit the highlights:
- The residents of the Embassy converted three rooms—one of which was the combined living-dining space—into usable space, representing a level of cleaning and reorganization that hadn’t been present since we first occupied the area over three years ago.
- Twenty-one people showed up to the Embassy to share and partake. This is the new record, and probably a snidge over the actual apartment’s capacity. I think this means we’re going to have to have a bigger space next year, or else spread the gathering over two locations.
- Several individuals’ absences were sorely missed, and much wishing was made among the gathered that they could share in future festivals.
- Both of the turkeys I prepared turned out better than in the past. Both the Abomination—brined in hickory smoke, maple syrup and pepper, then baked in bag with bacon, maple syrup, and peppercorns—and the Turkey Pie—brined in apple cider with cinnamon and cloves, then baked in bag with honey, cider, butter, and cinnamon—vanished within minutes of hitting the table.
- Almost everyone that came brought a “little something”, and several people contributed significant percentages of a meal, meaning we ended up with what can only be described as an embarrassment of food riches that took up the entire dining room table, a donated temporary table, and part of the kitchen counters.
- The tradition of having one cooking disaster continued this year, in the form of five pounds of garlic mashed potatoes that made their way unceremoniously to the kitchen floor. Thankfully, I had just sent Tanya to the store for another five pounds for fear that we wouldn’t have enough.
- Five extra people stayed for the bulk of the weekend, including one guest who had arrived the Labya prior and stayed through to yesterday.
Every year I do this, the warmth and joy grows a little more. I’ve been doing this in one form or another since adopting my friends’ “Orphans’ Feast” back when I was living in Texas, which represents over a decade of sharing my bounty and encouraging others to share theirs. In the past, I was the only one contributing, and I was fine with that, because it was my belief—even in the worst throes of the O—that this was how I gave back to my community. These days, however, so many people come together to help make this a success that it’s taking on a beautiful life of its own.
It’s my hope that, as the cycles that have brought us together inevitably carry some of us apart, this kind of warmth and openness follows each of us who has been part of this sharing.
In other news, now that the festival itself is done, the time has come to rededicate myself to my projects. Child of Man is complete and available for sale. If you’ve read it and enjoyed it, please consider offering your support by nominating it for the Ursa Major Awards. Beautiful World is written out through chapter 19 and Bonds of Silver, Bonds of Gold is up to chapter four, and will be starting on the site next Setya. I have four more writing projects in mental development, one of which will become the next major work once BW is finished, but none is ready to move to that state. I’m behind where I’d like to be, but I have a feeling that from here I should have little trouble getting back on track.
There is plenty for all.