Lessons from the Breakfast Buffet

This week, as our honeymoon wound to its sad conclusion, my husband and I had a discussion about what we learned about each other on this trip. He confided, with deep concern, that he had learned I eat breakfast like a dog. “I knew it, but I didn’t really know [it].” He said. “Now I see.”

He was not being offensive, he assured me. Rather, he was simply making a physiological assessment that my breakfast eating practices are most akin to those of the canine species. Dogs, of course, eat until they get sick.

He’s right, of course.

But, to be fair, it’s not really my fault. You see, all these lovely Asian countries (well, really all countries in the world that are not the USA), specialize in free breakfasts as a part of one’s hotel costs. Sometimes, these are buffets. Even when these aren’t buffets, I have found, you are allowed to order multiple entrees and multiple beverages. You also are allowed to tell your spouse to do the same, thereby potentially quadrupling the number of breakfast entrees you can taste. When given such plenty, it’s hard for me to say no, and after most hotel breakfasts you can find me in bed, moaning.

Watching me at a breakfast buffet, for a husband, is apparently a simultaneously pitying and terrifying experience.

For example, yesterday at the Ritz Carlton’s $40 breakfast, I managed to savor the following items:

Miso soup, fried egg, omelette with ham and cheese, brown bread (3 pieces), brie cheese, unidentifiable cheese, pancake with strawberries and whipped cream, tea with milk and sugar (3 cups), guava juice (2 cups), orange juice (1 cup), yogurt, cantaloupe, watermelon, potsticker (1), blueberry muffin, marmalade, dried apricots, porridge.

Now I do not eat large amounts of any of these items, by any means, but with the numbers of items being tasted so high, there is bound to be sickness involved. But let’s not forget the joy. In the list of 20 items I put on my plate(s) at a typical breakfast buffet, I am never quite sure which will prove the most delectable. It’s hit or miss, I know, and so I make sure to get a lot of balls in the air. Yesterday, the brown bread and brie left me heading back for more.

Similarly (and this is the part of the post where I nebulously attempt to connect this commentary on breakfast to somewhat larger life-related lesson), conferences are a bit the same way. I speak at and attend many a conference, and many of these events are new to me, meaning I know little of what to expect.  Yesterday, I was reminded of how you never know when you’ll hit the jackpot, and why.

After my presentation at Social Media World Forum yesterday in Singapore, I led a truly delightful panel with some of the most interesting folks I’ve chatted with in a while. Smart, passionate, professional, internationals from MTV, Unicef, Oxfam and Habitat for Humanity had me truly enthralled, and I hardly minded the late hour and the departing audience members. Many, many thanks to Ruici Tio, Taipida Moodhitapron, Jim Yarbrough, and Geoffrey Keele. If I remembered your Twitter handles, I would hug you on that medium as well right now.

The only thing better than our panel was our wonderful hour of conversing beforehand on all those things I like to talk about: development, Iraq, books, North Korea, international universities in Thailand for Kenyan teens, Panama, digital media, journalism, fundraising, Operation Smile, international flight routings, and the like.

Had I not been inexplicably missing the first 5 slides of my powerpoint, and had I not tasted the potsticker at breakfast, it would have been just a perfect day.

Hit or miss, you see.

 

 

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