The Potluck

Unaisah - Sugar Land, Texas
Entered on February 27, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

The zesty smell of different cultural foods mingled in the air as we entered my school’s cafeteria. I furtively glanced around at the many people that had come to the dinner. My mom set down the platter of rice that we had constructed at home next to the other dishes at the filled main course table. I had complained to my mom about going to this potluck thing; it was going to be so boring. Plus, I had wanted to relax at home, it being the day before Thanksgiving. Besides, I did not see any reason to go when we didn’t even celebrate Thanksgiving. But my mom, a very determined figure, had practically dragged me to the car and driven to my elementary school.

Now I surveyed my surroundings. Everyone had brought their one plate of food from home. All around me I could see individuals conversing and socializing. The atmosphere felt comfortable and content. Soon it was time to eat. Hustling to get in line, I began to notice the startlingly amount and diversity of food. The overwhelming variety contained every kind of salad, bread, rice, meat, etc. from many different countries. Everything looked so delicious that I didn’t know what to get! When I started to eat, my mouth tasted an explosion of flavors. Every unique bite seemed to flow perfectly together. It was beyond anything I had ever tasted; I just had to get seconds. The desserts followed dinner, and they were even better than the main course dishes. The selection included cookies, cakes, cupcakes, brownies, pies, pastries, and many types of foreign sweets. Such an immense collection of delicacies made choosing a very difficult decision. The texture of desserts was so defined, and they just melted on my tongue. After that I felt so full that I couldn’t eat any more; but it was a satisfying fullness. I looked around the cafeteria. My mom chatted jubilantly to a lady whom she had just met because of her praising complement of our rice. The room buzzed with the cheerful conversation of people and their new friends. I didn’t know how to thank my mom for bringing me to this wonderful occasion. The food gave me an insightful taste of other cultures, and the gathering of everyone felt so pleasant and close. It felt great to see people getting together as a community and trying new things.

As I look back at that never-forgetting potluck, I feel enormously grateful that I chose to go through that life-changing experience. What I learned was this: You should be open to all doorways, because you don’t know what new opportunities are eagerly awaiting you behind them.