When I was eight, my parents moved us into their first house, in central PA. They didn’t have any friends in the area, so they called everyone in the phone book with a Chinese-sounding last name (being central PA, this was not many people) and invited them to a pizza party. I was a kid then, so my only significant memory of that gathering was the pizza. But I’m aware that twenty years later, some of their best friends were the strangers with the right last names in the phone book.
I sort of envy this systematic way of gathering random people. It’s not like now where people are unevenly findable because everyone’s on different web sites and has to opt-in. Of course, it’s lucky that my parents sought a factor available in a phone book, which doesn’t contain very deep data. The lack of deep data may also be a positive, because it assured that the people my parents befriended were diverse too. (Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are many different kinds of Chinese people, or any minority group.)
This is all to say that gatherings are important, and I hope everyone’s found a nice one of their own for Thanksgiving!