Last July 19, 2015, our family attended the Annual Potluck Picnic organized by The Filipino School of New York & New Jersey at Van Saun County Park, Paramus, NJ.
As a first time attendee, who has no idea what to expect, I made sure that our family arrived on time. I know what you’re thinking. It’s a Filipino event. But then, I don’t personally know anybody. That’s why I preferred to follow the invite time.
In spite of the one hour travel, our family got there a few minutes before 11:00 am. Then, I realized that there were several picnic areas in a rather big park. With my luck too, my phone signal was in its all time low. Since we left quite early, my beloved driver was beginning to feel some hunger pangs which slowly reveals his inner diva. Where’s that Snickers bar when I needed it the most?
To reassure him, I said. ” How hard can it be? We’re just looking for a bunch of Filipinos.”
After about 15 minutes of back and forth driving, we decided to park our van and tackle the mission on food. Within minutes, a group of three grown ups approached our gang of six and asked if we are Filipinos. Of course, we’re looking for the same party!
Finally, after what seemed to be another 5 minutes or so, we found the group. Guess what? We were one of the early ones! Just like a normal Pinoy party, the early ones get to help set up and eat first. But don’t feel sorry for those who are on Filipino time. As more people arrived, more food suddenly appeared.
Hot and humid was an understatement to describe that day. Can you believe the actual temperature reached 107 degrees fahrenheit? Yup, this was taken just before we left the picnic grounds.
Anyway, despite of the Philippine like weather, everyone, including my two preteen girls enjoyed the picnic. The atmosphere was relaxed, unstructured, full of conversations, children playing and of course, an endless buffet of food. It is something what my children refer to as “An event to meet more long lost Titos and Titas.” Yes, my kids felt at home with family. Even though most of us just knew one another that very day, there was a bond that held us together.
Personally, I enjoyed seeing the children learn to play an updated version of tumbang preso.
That’s my son who refused to take off his sandals and used my sneakers to hit the cups.
And the less competitive (violent) pabitin.
Since a party wouldn’t be complete without any “What a small world moment”, I was so happy to meet a long time reader of Nanay’s Choice. Emy of Pinoy Roots even asked what happened to me when I just stopped posting 3 years ago. It’s like meeting an old friend.
Last but definitely not the least, I’m so glad to finally met in “real life” my Facebook friend Venessa Manzano. She’s the person behind all this get together. We both can’t believe we’ve been exchanging messages for more than 5 years!
They say, Filipinos innately have the art of making everyone feel welcome. This event really showed that. I can’t wait to see these newfound friends again. Till next year.