I’ve realized that of the Meetups I’ve been to, the most interesting times have been when the group is a big mish-mash of different people from different countries and parts of the world, and we’re generally eating ethnic food. Interesting food is what brings interesting people together.
Tonight, I went to a South Indian food meetup in Midtown East. I arrived later than most of the others because I get off work later than they do, so initially it seemed awkward because no one was talking. No one really started talking until we started talking about different food, which led to discussions about politics, cultures, and living in different parts of the world. We had two Indian guys from India, a girl from Malaysia who studied in Delaware and now works here, another who went to school in D.C. and now works at the Federal Reserve, someone else who is originally from Singapore, but his family immigrated to Sydney when he was young, and now, he never spends more than two years at a time in one place because of his contracting job as a statistician. We had two teachers, one who teaches kindergarten and another who teaches community college courses on substance abuse in the Bronx. Three of us work in tech.
I learned a lot of interesting things tonight. I learned but forgot that Alaska was mostly made up of men, but didn’t realize that the men who are there, due to the fact that Alaska is in the middle of nowhere, gets 23 hours of darkness for half the year, and is cold as hell then, results in five times the number of domestic violence cases as the rest of the country (this is told by the guy who never lives anywhere that long from Sydney). I also heard interesting hypotheses on why Australia is so Asian yet remains racist – hypotheses that I can actually believe. Maybe this will be my new goal – stop going to fru-fru restaurants for Meetups and stick with the well-priced, ethnic holes-in-the-wall. I definitely was not bored tonight.