So I'm sitting at my desk at the Youth Center, looking particularly scraggy today, thinking I had a quiet day in to do whatever it is that I do. (Keeping in mind I haven't showered in 5 days) I get a phone call from my counter-part. He was at a lunch benefit for the childrens hospital. He informed me that I needed to walk over immedietly, since,of course, the celebration had already begun. This was the first I had heard about it. My house is 3 kilometers away, and time was ticking, so I went as is. Let me describe my dress; gray dickies, gray thermal, maroon hoodie, black northface jacket, black stocking cap, and big boots. I looked like a homeless person.
On my way to the benefit I was annoyed, embarassed, and mad all at the same time. Nazim, a friend and co-worker went with me. He would later abandon me at the benefit. I knew the luncheon was going to be a big deal, and it was. The place was packed, suits and ties everywhere. I'll give you one good guess as to what happened when I walked in, everyone noticed the American, and the word started spreading. As we paraded ourselves to our seats, my head slumped lower and lower and I felt more and more self counscience.
We finally made it to our seats, sat down, and watched the performance with everyone else. The kids were great. There were multiple dances, songs performed, karate demonstration, Santa Clause, the works. The longer I sat there, I realized, no one really cared about me or what I looked like, and if they did, given the circumstances, I didn't care. It was about the kids, and I was happy to be there. And as for Nezim leaving, it was no big deal. I talked to the suits at the table I was at. I think they were important people. Everyone kept coming over to make sure their drinks were poured and plates full. We talked. They laughed at my Azeri, then told me it was good. It surprises people to see homeless looking Americans speak their language. It turned out to be a really good experience.
I'mtrying to add a few photos from the event, doesn't seem to be working. My favorite part was when the balloons dropped from the ceiling. They hadn't hit the ground before the kids started popping them. In a matter of a minute the 100 or so balloons had been popped. It was hilarious, and I was laughing out loud. Everyone was happy.