Well, we pulled it off. The second InterNations meeting turned out to be a great success! Many thanks to all of those who were able to participate and to those who showed interest but who were not able to attend this particular meeting for one reason or another. About 17 of our members gathered at the very comfortable and accommodating Balsamico Cafe and a good time was had by all.
I am particularly grateful to Rizwan who really made this possible by coordinating things while I was in Peru and also to the group for postponing the event until my return so that I could attend.
The location was perfect, the food was great and the staff were attentive and very patient with our large group. Two female members were in attendance as well and there was never any concern with regard to a mixed group of friends enjoying a night out.
That being said, I was able to speak with several of the attendees and I believe a consensus was reached that we will begin to plan to have these events in compound environments when possible in the future so that members can mingle in a more relaxed environment and get to know one another more easily. The idea of a poolside bar-b-que was mentioned as a popular alternative to a public restaurant or cafe.
Also discussed was the most effective and secure way to announce events in the future and it was generally agreed that personal messenges (PM's) will be sent out to those who have interest in meet-ups in the future. The reason for this is to respect the local culture and the sensitivities of our members. We are a group of ex-patriots (for the most part) and many of us are accustomed to socializing in a manner that could provoke misunderstandings and/or offense to some of our members or the general public. Therefore, I would ask that if you are interested in attending InterNations meetings in the future that you send me a PM and I will create a contact list to notify those who would like to be notified of these events. You can also contact me through my personal email at mtwilson. Protected content if you prefere.
I also made a general statement to the folks in attendance last night that this is our group and no single person runs things (especially not me ;). I am willing to help facilitate, but I ask each of you to please pitch in with ideas and suggestions so that we can expand our friendships and enjoy this fascinating part of the world a little bit more together.
I will close by saying that I was so impressed by what a lovely and warm group of people we have here in our InterNations - Jeddah family. Everyone there last night seemed to genuinely enjoy each other's company and I am looking forward to getting together again soon.
And as a personal note, my new bride, Marina, should be joining us soon from Peru and although she speaks very little english, she is quite excited to meet my new friends here at InterNations in Jeddah.
Send me your PM's or emails and we will try to have another memorable get together in the next few weeks!