My culture is a culture of gathering.
At our Filipino family gatherings, there are aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, cousin's cousins, distant cousins and relatives you're not sure you're even blood-related to. Growing up, I didn't really know how to have just one friend over, but I did know how to prepare for a dinner party for 40. I didn't have sleepovers or invite friends over to play, but I remember spending Friday nights wrapping inordinate amounts lumpia (egg rolls) for birthdays, holidays, baby showers, and graduations.
My parents' favorite pasttime is cooking for others. They taught me how to share and to invite anyone and everyone to sit at the table. They taught me to notice what people need--a refill of mamma's cantaloupe juice, another heap of white rice, or an extra dose of love and affection. They taught me to be generous in my actions, in my words, and with my serving sizes.
Our propensity toward curating experiences for others is so special that a few years ago, we decided to brand our family and household as The Party. We are The Party, but also anyone who steps foot into our house to share a meal with us is also The Party. It is due to the enthusiasm of my brother and my sister that we have committed fully to making these experiences happen. We've hosted Filipino heritage nights, 80's dance parties with sound-sensitive disco lights, a Christmas succulent potting workshop, Flamenco dancing and paella in the backyard, outdoor movie nights on cozy couches, pajama and blanket fort birthday parties. The experience I'm most proud of is a surprise wedding vow renewal for our parents while we were on vacation in the Dominican Republic. I've never felt more proud to be a sister and daughter of the Temeña family.
When I set up for my retreats and neatly arrange the colored paper, string, markers and hot glue on the play table, I think of my mother who spends countless hours perfecting melted chocolate nameplates for guests for our Thanksgiving dinner. In developing this business, I've reflected much on how my family has shaped every ounce of my passion for creating experiences for others to feel welcome, to be seen, and to feel cared for. I want others to experience the love, the care and attention that my family has so graciously given to me.