The main guest of honour was refreshingly honest: "I'd like to apologize that I don't know everyone's names." She might have been surprised to hear this, but I didn't know everyone's names either, and I launched the group and co-organized the event. Our group had somehow rippled outwards from being a few close friends and neighbors to being something larger, involving community leaders, local heroes and strangers willing to show up on a dark January night to bring a dish to our welcome potluck, held in the party room of the family's apartment building.
Sunday, January 3, 2016
In theory, sponsors get 10 days' advance notification of the arrival of their refugee families. In practice, it's been a bit chaotic lately. We found out about our family's arrival less than 48 hours before their plane touched down, and, crucially, just a few hours before No Frills supermarket closed its doors for the two-day city-wide Christmas-Boxing Day holiday. We had already stocked the family's apartment with rice, lentils and other dry goods, but their fridge was empty. Have you been to No Frills late afternoon on Christmas Eve? It felt weirdly festive, if a bit panicky, the way many things have felt lately.