Another successful FriendSpeak party! All 50 name tags were used, but it was a little hard to get a count when the children were moving around so quickly. About 20 were international people.
Our theme was “Signs of Spring,” meaning spring in the U.S. It’s surprising how much is going on here in the spring. We had displays, signs, and an activity sheet on these topics: St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Lent, Mardi Gras, baseball, and March Madness. Many of these were terms our readers had never heard before. When they did the activity sheet, they could ask the Americans only yes or no questions. For example, they could not ask “What is Mardi Gras?” but they could ask “Is Mardi Gras always March 17?”
Our dinner was Irish; corned beef and cabbage with carrots and potatoes or green noodles and Shepherd’s Pie were the entrees. The homemade applesauce and appetizers were a hit, as were all the desserts.
Laura led the group in forming a Human Knot. If you’ve never tried this, you must realize it is entertaining to watch and frustrating to do. Everyone joined hands across a circle and then tried to untangle without letting go. One of our readers, Huang, started telling each of us what to do and we were finally making progress. Fortunately, (my opinion, of course) she called an end to the game because the other team made much more progress than ours did and clearly would win. We had 15 or 20 in each group, which is a lot for that game. I think 6-8 people work better but maybe it isn’t as funny. We squatted down for people to climb over the group or stood on tiptoe for them to crawl under us amid many laughs.
Then we did a simple “over and under” relay with a baseball and basketball. Even the little ones could participate and that was fun. The winners each got a Reese’s miniature rabbit and the “runners-up” got a Hershey’s kiss each. No losers were at the party.
I was pleased that Steve’s reader, Yanan, from China, brought two friends. She is returning to China at the end of this week, so it was nice to be with her in a social setting before she leaves.
My reader Mohamed is from Egypt and he brought his wife Kariman and children Omar, 8, and Alya, 4. Beautiful family! I should have taken a picture of just the four of them. They all had fun and participated in everything. I’d given him advance information on March Madness at our last lesson, but much of the other stuff was new.
My Chinese reader Xuan and her husband Cai joined us and seemed to have a good time. (Top picture.)
One of our Hispanic members, Alma, brought friends from Guatemala and Mexico. They loved it, too. They especially enjoyed conversing with one of the children, Asher, 8, who is in a Spanish immersion second grade.
Everyone was so busy talking and getting to know each other that it was a little awkward to tell them it was time to go! But we’d been there three hours, which was enough. Just as I started telling small groups that Gene would be pulling the van up to the door, Chelsey had the great idea to get a group picture. A few had already left, but that worked perfectly as our closing activity and folks began to leave.
Today I received this note from one of our guests:
Thanks for your invitation last Saturday, it’s awesome, the potatoes, beef, cabbages, noodle, apple souse are very refreshing and deserts are all delicious. The activities are also fun. I have learned a lot from your activities. My name is Yihui Zhu, I went to your party at last Saturday with Weilong whose partner is Mac. You introduced Bob as my partner. I mail this to you to consult with you the time when I go to your place every Wednesday.
Clearly he can use some English help, but it is such a warm and kind response that it touches my heart. Our theme in Let’s Start Talking is “share Jesus, share yourself.” I think we did that very well Saturday night.