Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: EMBARRASS(ED) (11/03/16)
- TITLE: Bring a Plate
By Lois Farrow
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Sandra’s husband, David, had settled in well to his new job. Now that Sandra had the house organised, she was going to start looking for a part time job herself. She needed something to get her out of the house and in a position to meet people. She knew when they started a family it would be easier, with more networks for young mothers, but in the meantime she had to take the initiative.
Now an invitation had come from one of David’s colleagues. They were invited to a dinner with some other staff members, and it would be a chance for Sandra to meet his work mates and their partners. She was looking forward to it.
“I wonder what type of meal it will be,” she mused when David brought home the invitation. “It says here it is casual, and to bring a plate. What does that mean?”
David didn’t know. He had already encountered several terms and sayings of which he had no idea of the meanings. Sometimes he asked, but most times he kept quiet and tried to figure it out. They might have transferred to a new country very similar to their own, but they had already encountered a surprising number of cultural differences.
“I guess it means what it says,” he said. “We should take a plate.”
“There are two of us, does it mean we take one each?”
“I’ll let you decide that one,” he said.
Sandra made her selection, and wrapped two plates in tissue paper. Fortunately her bag was big enough to take them comfortably. She looked forward to showing them and telling of the special stories that went with them.
Lively music greeted David and Sandra as they arrived. Their hosts called a friendly greeting as they came forward to meet Sandra. Julie reached out her hands, but stopped when she realised that Sandra was not offering anything. The awkward moment passed, but when the next couple arrived with a large bowl of salad, Sandra felt uneasy.
“Were we supposed to bring something?” she asked.
“Yes,” Julie replied. “We said ‘bring a plate’. That means you bring a contribution to the meal. It always makes a great meal when everyone brings their favourite dish, and we have fun tasting each other’s cooking.”
Sandra could feel her face flushing. She didn’t dare look at David.
“I am so sorry,” she apologised. “I didn’t know the term.” She was too embarrassed to mention the empty plates in her bag. “I’ve come empty handed. Shall I go and buy something?”
“No, no,” Julie reassured her. “There’s always plenty. Anyway, you are our guests this time. Don’t worry about it, just enjoy the meal. You’ll know for next time.”
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