San Antonio Sabbatical

More Meetups

Posted on: October 16, 2010

I’ve attended a couple of Meetup gatherings within the last few days.

First, on Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. I was at La Taza Coffee House again for my Spanish Language Meetup.  We had a bigger group this month.  There were 14 members in attendance, including several new members.  While drinking iced green tea and eating chocolate-filled cookies, I chatted with several people.  We started out having one large conversation in Spanish about news events (the rescued miners in Chile), then broke off into smaller groups or one-on-ones.  During these individual conversations I spoke mostly in English because the people with whom I was speaking had less knowledge of Spanish that I do.  The conversations with two women in particular — (1) a returned Peace Corps volunteer and social worker who is new to San Antonio, and (2) a long-time resident of San Antonio with a strong desire to travel and learn Spanish — were particularly satisfying.  We have things in common and shared some resources.  We also exchanged contact information and plan to keep in touch.  After the 1½ hour official Spanish Language Meetup meeting had ended, I stayed for an additional 1¾ hours in order to talk with them individually.

Second, on Friday (yesterday) my Book Lovers Meetup group met at 5:30 for “happy hour” at El Jarro de Arturo Mexican Restaurant.  This was a new restaurant for me so I was really looking forward to attending.  Initially, there was some confusion regarding seating because we didn’t have a reservation (there were ten of us) and we ended up being placed together at small tables inside the restaurant rather than out on the patio as several of us wanted.  Despite this glitch, which was clearly our fault, our El Jarro experience was a good one.  The service was very good and the food was delicious.  I ordered a virgin Strawberry Margarita (I don’t like alcohol) and the Sombrero Salad (crispy flour tortilla bowl with lettuce, tomatoes, jicama, and beef taco meat — no cheese).  Others in the group ordered drinks, appetizers, and entrees.  We enjoyed casual conversations about an assortment of topics such as work, home, books, news, hobbies, and travel.  I appreciated getting to know some of the group members a little better.  I was pleasantly surprised to meet another writer.

I’m glad that I was able to attend these latest Meetup activities because I won’t be able to attend my regularly scheduled Meetup meetings in November due to a schedule conflict.  The NLPA conference will be held during those times.

Other recent activities I’ve done include reading another book and watching a movie.  The book was a memoir, Weekends at Bellevue: Nine Years on the Night Shift at the Psych ER by Julie Holland, M.D. (2009, Bantam  Books/Random House).  The movie, which I saw this morning after doing my grocery shopping, was Waiting for Superman (2010).  Both the book and the movie contained troubling “deep thought” content.  Weekends at Bellevue is a chronicle of a psychiatrist’s professional and personal struggles.  Waiting for Superman is a documentary about the failing public school system in the United States.  I usually read books and watch movies as entertainment, however, these most recent selections were so emotionally gripping that they were more freaky than fun.  But, sadly, this is the world in which we live and sometimes reality is harsh.

(Slightly Off Topic) — A Good News Story:  Wednesday, October 13th marked the completion of the successful rescue of 33 miners trapped underground for 70 days in Copiapó, Chile.  This incredible feat is unprecedented and gained worldwide attention.  These men are a hardy bunch and they and their rescuers deserve the praise they are getting.  So glad this story had a happy ending.  ¡Gracias a Dios!

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