Food and Fellowship

Valentines Day at The International Center
By Hanako Gavia, Relocations Intern

To celebrate Valentine’s Day this year The International Center had a Valentine’s Day pitch-in. The office was decorated with hearts in various locations and we were asked to bring food that was red, white or pink. There was a sign-up sheet for a few weeks, so we could have diverse foods, rather than just sweets. When the day came, everyone who attended the pitch-in brought something. There were plenty of sweets and entrees along with sides such as potatoes, chips and dip. The diversity of the food was wonderful with dishes originating from Germany, Mexico, China and Korea to name a few and of course chocolate and cupcakes. Though the diversity of the food would be rare in most offices, The International Center being what it is, it isn’t all that surprising. Actually, it’s to be expected, that a pitch-in at The International Center would have an array of diverse food. What stood out to me though, is that all of us went to the conference room and ate together.
All in all this shouldn’t be something particularly unexpected. My supervisor, CaSondra, often says The Center is like a family, and I have seen examples of that in many ways while I have been here. Everyone is friendly and close, talking and joking freely with one another. When everyone came back together after the holidays, they greeted each other warmly, though the vacation had only been a few weeks. Also, at lunch, it isn’t uncommon for the staff and interns to mix together, as it might be in other companies. Therefore, with the atmosphere of close friends or family, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that we sit down and have a meal together. What crossed my mind as unusual is that everyone took the time to stop and eat together. Everyone is on a different schedule and work diligently on every task and at times, it seems like everyone has a never ending amount of work they have to do. When having food catered earlier in the week, many of us took our lunch back to our desks and continued working rather than eating all together. That is why I expected the same from this lunch. As a result of my anticipation, it was a pleasant surprise that everyone sat together in the same room and enjoyed a meal.

In general, all of this reflects on the culture of The Center and how much of a privilege it is to work at a place not globally centered, but with a wonderfully friendly environment.