I had the good fortune of being invited for lunch recently by the wife of the US ambassador to Indonesia.
Normally, I’d concoct some flimsy excuse to avoid attending invites like this but not this time: it is extremely hard to “make indian” a most charming and genuinely friendly kababayan.
And so off I went with Pam, my wife, to the sprawling US Ambassador’s residence on Jalan Imam Bonjol which I reckon had the floor area of one wing of SM Megamall.
(I kid you not.)
Just a little dossier on our down-to-earth kababayan hostess…
Mae Marciel finished high school at St. Paul College QC and is an economics graduate of the University of Santo Tomas.
After graduation, Mae found herself working at every Pinoy’s favorite destination – the US embassy in Manila. Working in the visa section, she met her Prince Charming who was then a rising star in the consular office.
RIght after the People Power revolt in Manila, the young couple decided to get hitched and flew back to America.
They’ve been inseparable ever since.
Currently, Mae plays FIrst Lady to U.S Ambassador Scot Marciel in the land that President Obama considers a “second home” – Indonesia.
Back to lunch…
The front door (after a long walk and stringent, but understandable, security checks) opens to a high-ceilinged foyer where a baby grand (out of the camera’s view, unfortunately) is the centerpiece.
From where I sat, I espied a group of gardeners sprucing up the football arena-sized garden for the 4th of July celebrations where a thousand diplomats and VIPs were to celebrate Uncle Sam’s birthday
Souvenirs, trinkets and memories from past foreign gigs – Turkey, Hong Kong, Brazil – liven up the house.
In my past, I must have done something good. Every day in Jakarta – without fail – I am surrounded by lovely ladies. And that day was no exception.
One final ‘kodakan’ with the gracious Madame Ambassador.
Next came the sumptuous lunch – with Hotdog’s Greatest Hits playing in the background.
Life is wonderful.