I must confess I am not big on office parties in general. My days of unrelenting dinners and receptions, courtesy of the Embassy, I thought had ended when I resigned from my position and when I immigrated to the US. I thought I would never revisit such ritual until I was invited to attend two Holiday parties this week – back-to-back. The first one was related to my current job, and the second one from one of my professional memberships. The latter is seen by many as the must do holiday networking plum to zero in on the perfect potential career opportunity. Now you see why, despite my apathy for social gatherings, I said yes to both invitations.
The first invite came from one of the board members of our school. Since, as a teacher, I am most of the time locked up inside my classroom, I rarely get opportunities to meet these people. So when the request appeared in my inbox, as you can imagine, the host’s face appeared totally blank in my mind. Nevertheless, I still exerted the respectful effort to RSVP the host ASAP. Since the address was in our neighborhood, my husband and I decided to check out the location before the day of the event. From the outside it was just a simple and modest residence (albeit on the beach, it was in the million dollar row). Well, that was what I thought until the big day came, and the husband’s host welcomed me (and my colleagues) at the door. My jaw literally dropped.
It was a beach house – and, I must say, it was a gorgeous one! Their foyer was decorated by beautiful paintings of palm trees, beach scenes, and sunsets. The walls were freshly painted by a coat of white paint which not only makes the space light and bright, but it also brings out more of the natural color of their wooden floors. The foyer opened up to the sunken kitchen with its large island in the middle. Wooden steps colorfully painted led to the lovely living room which continued a beach motif as well. I was captivated by the idea of their glass coffee table holding sand and seashells inside. From the paintings, artistic steps, and coffee table I could easily tell that there was an artist in the family. And, I was right, our host is a prolific painter. Decorations that reflect the natural beauty of the holiday season are the delightful backdrop in the living room: A festive Christmas tree on display, small pine cones in bowls, and finally stockings hanging from the fireplace mantel. I thought the decorations made the home cozy and very cheerful. The sliding door connecting the living room to the balcony was what I found the most interesting part of the house. It invited the outdoors in, giving the living room an-ocean inspired look for the holidays. On the balcony was the dining table sitting next to lounge chairs for those who seek a respite. I also saw on one corner a hot tub and hammock which I imagined are hits in summertime. Sitting down on the balcony I was greeted by a fresh ocean breeze coming from the beach which was just a few steps away. From where I sat, I could hear the sound of the waves as they crashed came ashore. It was like a music to my ears – very relaxing! I couldn’t help wondering how it would feel to sit in this beautiful cozy beach house every day, watching the sky at sunset as it shows off its tapestries of colors. It must be blissful, I told myself. Well, what was the coincidence then? I discovered I pass this house every time I go for my beach walk. It’s just a few steps away from our home, and my husband and I have often wondered what this small home would look like inside. Yet, I have never thought that what appeared to be a small residence outside, is indeed an impressive home inside. Surely, “you cannot judge a book by its cover.” The host and her family were very gracious to have invited us to their lovely beach home. I enjoyed the food, the home’s ambiance, the interesting conversations, and I was just glad to have said yes to this invite.
“A coincidence is when God performs a miracle and decides to remain anonymous.”