Less than two weeks and I’m off to London for girl’s weekend trip. This would be an interesting meet-up because I only know Nikki who’s originally from here but now resides in Assen, and will be meeting others from Assen and one from Oman! So we could call it an international girl’s trip with jam-packed schedule of shopping, drinking and dining, everything that screams expensive and posh. We would be having dinner at The Ivy – a place that guarantees celebrities’ exposure so who knows you’d see my picture on the next edition of OK! or Hello grinning next to Madonna – and Bambou, and drinks at The Soho and Purple Bar. Those places must be booked waaaay in advanced (I think even I am not allowed to enter Purple Bar unless invited by guest who stays there, that’s how snobbish posh they are!).
But before that, I had to be a host for this month’s arisan, and this is why I got pissed off on Friday.
Arisan (a-ree-san) is a monthly social gathering between friends and relatives who chip in money to be won in turns through a lucky draw. The one that I am involved at the moment is my very first participation on such event. It’s initialised by some Indonesian ladies who live in Aberdeen as a way of meeting others, share gossips, and (I think, most importantly to many of them), try out Indonesian food. At first I joined with such a high spirit because it’s a useful for me to meet other people and expand my network.
The such gathering usually takes place at the member’s house. It has an unwritten rule that whoever wins the draw will be the host for the next month. The winner is expected to provide some meals too, even though usually everybody will turn up with something and we’d have a big selection of everything.
I did win last month draw, so inevitably, consequently, I would be the host for this month. I have given a heads up that I would be away to London at the end of the month so we need to do it beforehand. I have also mentioned that since our place is not suitable for young mothers who will bring buggies (prams/strollers) and their children (our place is on the third floor), I will host it in Stuart’s grandma’s place, who’s more than delighted with the prospect of a bunch little people running around her house. She also has a huge back garden so children can investigate the nature. She even promises to make us some of her famous pancakes. I came up with 17th as the date and sent the information to several members whose numbers I’ve got.
The replies came that several of them are still back in Indonesia for holiday, so they will miss the event. Some will be away for midterm school holiday, so they wonder if we could do it before 17th. And some said they’re not comfortable with the venue suggestion. Some suggested to meet up in town (although when I said that grandma’s place is right in the city center, 5 minutes walk and we’d reach Union Street, no one responded). One suggested her place instead, but I think since I’m the host, I should take the responsibility to provide it this time.
No matter hard I assured them, that the Gran is not a scary old woman carrying broomstick all around the house chasing shadow, or a grumpy old lady who will be annoyed by the noise we would make, that she would enjoy having lots of people around her, apparently, they already judged that the place, even though none of them have ever set their foot in it let alone meet the Gran, makes them uncomfortable. They will never understand that she’d probably sit down in the middle of us and enjoy the whole scene (she’s like the female version of Don Corleone) and that she will have a great time questioning each of them (and will remember every detail more than I would!). If you see the picture, it was the Gran last year in Italy. She was 93 in the picture (she just celebrated her 94th birthday in June), complete with trendy sunglasses and borrowed Poggio. Tell me if you ever meet a 94-year-old woman who could work on the computer, reads emails regularly, and does webcam chatting? Yeah, the Gran kicks a**, but she’s also very sweet and funny, and there is no reason for these young Indonesian ladies to be afraid of her unless they’re drug smugglers. But they still say no.
So with the disagreement over the date and the venue, I gave in, and suggested to move it earlier to next Tuesday and I also suggested the place, Woodbank. The place is a recreational centre, owned and run by a large oil & gas company for its staffs and families, but is open for public as well for the hotel and cafe/restaurant parts. It’s not far from the city center, it’s quiet so we can have our own privacy and less likely to be kicked out if we only order one cup of coffee for the entire afternoon, it has an outdoor playground for children, so I think the place is perfect. From the picture, you can see that it’s gorgeous, right?
But I got replies that majority doesn’t want to go to Woodbank and insist that the arisan is to be held on another member’s house.
And I thought I was the hostess!
I was insulted, first because they rejected both venues I proposed without any obvious reason, and second because they didn’t even bother to ask me (a.k.a this month’s host) whether I was ok if we move it to somebody else’s house. They decided to go on with it, just like that. Where is their manner? I feel like I am being punished because my place is not suitable for children (since I don’t have my own children, I could just ignore this potential issue and host it in my place, and let those young mothers climb up the staircases carrying their buggies and children and spend the rest of the afternoon worrying their kids might fall over the steps!), but despite all the effort I have tried to think about everyone’s comfort and to provide the best alternative, they still decide it’s not enough. The strange thing is this type gathering is not a crazy or uncontrolled one. It’s very brief as many of them must pick their kids up from nurseries or schools in the afternoon, and there is no loud music, alcohol or drugs involved, let alone a young stud as a prize – like some gatherings I’ve heard in Jakarta – to be taken home and er… utilised by the winner, there is no stuff for sale (some arisans in Indonesia practically become mobile shops with ladies selling everything, from handbags to diamonds) so there is no danger of someone gets out of the house broke. We’d just basically move from one plate to another and do the “ooh” and “aah” over others’ kids. We might gossip about something or someone, but that’s it. So why they’re afraid to have it held at the Gran’s or at Woodbank, I have no idea!
Well, sod it.
Lesson learned. This would be my first and last gathering, when the period ends in December I wouldn’t extend my participation. I will continue what I have to do and fulfill my duty – whatever that is – but I don’t want to have anything to do with the gathering/arisan/whatever the name is anymore.
Now I’d rather spending my time worrying over the dress I should wear for The Ivy. Who knows I might bump into Daniel Craig this time…