Nov 28, 2008

Thanksgiving in Saipan: Dinner at the Maycocks

Happy Thanksgiving 2008! All 20 guests gathered at our table.

What's Thanksgiving without an abundance of good food and an abundance of good friends? We had both once again, with our annual Thanksgiving dinner at our house.

The Guests

1st/2nd Grade teacher Cristina Sanchez and one of my former students, Fredo Paez

One of my students, "Little Sister", with Virle Gayatin, our office manager and accountant, and Elijah

Twyla Seaton, the newest dental hygienist at the SDA Clinic, with Carol's youngest son.

7/8 Homeroom teacher Nicole French, Andrea Stafford (the wife of Mike Stafford, one of the dentists at the SDA Clinic), and Carol Paez.

In foreground, Edna, our newest preschool teacher; On the couch, office assistant Megan "Mocca" McCollum, 5th/6th Homeroom teacher Girlie Zuinega holding one of the kids; standing, Joeie Verona, one our preschool teachers, holding another of the kids.

Antonee Aguilar, preschool teacher, and Mike Stafford.

At the Table

A view of the table from the other end.

Look at the Little Fella, sitting at the table like he's all grown up! So cute! That's our 5/6 homeroom teacher, Girlie Zuinega, holding him. She's one of Elijah's biggest fans!

Girlie and Elijah

The Game
After a delicious dinner with all the traditional favorites, we gathered in the living room to play "Mafia", an endlessly entertaining parlor game introduced to us by some of our teachers one Saturday night a month or two ago. It's simple to play--all you need is a deck of cards, but the variations of experiences, depending on who you "are" in the game make it quite fun. Here's how it works:

Each person draws a card from the deck. Some people will be "mafia" if they draw a jack, at least one player will be a doctor (if he or she draws a queen), some players will police (if they draw a king) and all the rest of players will be ordinary "townspeople." After everyone knows their identity, the cards are returned to the deck and the game begins.

For each round, there is a narrator that does not actually play the game but directs the action. The narrator instructs everyone to "go to sleep" which means everyone closes their eyes. Then the narrator instructs the mafia to open their eyes and silently point out someone they want to "kill." When the mafia agree on someone they are instructed to "go back to sleep." Then the narrator instructs the doctor to open his or her eyes and point to someone they want to "save" (they may choose to save themselves too). Keep in mind that they do not know who the mafia have targeted so they are giving their best guess as to who needs to be saved. The doctor then goes back to sleep and the cops are instructed to wake up and agree on a player. The narrator will then nod his or her head if that person is a mafia or shake his or her head of the person is not. Thus the police can over the course of the game narrow down the list of suspected mafia.

After the police have made their selection, everyone in the town is instructed to wake up and is informed that the player the mafia targeted has been killed. The townspeople must then decide on who among the players they want to formally accuse of being members of the mafia. Once the formal accusations have been made (usually after much arguing and defending on the part of all the players), then a vote is taken and the person with the most votes is out of the game. At that point they will reveal whether they indeed were the mafia or whether the townspeople guessed wrong and killed off one of their own.

The goal of the game, if you are a member of the mafia is to avoid detection. If you are not a mafia member, your goal is to figure out who is a mafia member and eliminate them from the game. The game ends when either the mafia outnumber the townspeople, or all of the mafia are eliminated (in our game, with 15 people playing we had three mafia, 2-3 police officers, and one doctor).

It is way more fun than my description probably sounds. Once you get started it's hard to stop. As soon as we finish a game everyone always wants to play one more round. Even when you're eliminated, it's still fun because then you can keep your eyes open when everyone else is asleep, know who the mafia is and watch in fascination to see whether the remaining players will catch them. The last round of our last game that we played, was as good as any movie, complete with surprise twists! You can have a lot of fun with your "characters" too. Twyla, who always drew the townsperson card throughout the evening, played a really strong game--I called her the Crusader for Justice and the Vigilante because of her bold pursuit of anyone she thought was the mafia. Cristina was a classic cop, methodically working to catch the mafia (though in that final game, in a move of smooth criminality, Antonee--one the best mafia of the evening--shut her down just when she finally figured out that he--who had been sitting quietly next to her on the couch--was the last remaining mafia, thus preventing her from revealing his identity). Fredo, who drew the doctor card twice during the evening proved quite adept at being able to correctly guess who to save thus thwarting the mafia's plans on several occasions.

It was a really fun way to round out the evening. I might see if I can get my family to play it when we're visiting them in the States this Christmas!

All in all, it was a happy Thanksgiving!


Jai said...

I'm definitely sad that I missed it. Wish I could've gone to Tokyo AND dinner at your place! Glad that you guys had fun!!

Mai said...

Looks like it was a wonderful evening! I love the pictures of Elijah sitting at the table! And what did Antonee do to his arm? I miss all of you guys, wish I was there!

rachiezate said...

I have some crazy memories of my own w/ that game!!!