Thursday, October 24, 2013

Our friends from India, Lebanon, Nairobi, and the Ukraine

I saw this quote "I haven't been everywhere, but its on my list."

My friend Renee wrote the following about an enchanting encounter she had at a literacy festival with a fascinating woman.

"There was a 92-year-old great-grandmother of 11 in attendance wearing a chic linen suit whom I sat next to at lunch. And here is what I thought after talking with her: I want to be just like her RIGHT now AND when I’m 92. And do you know what that requires? It requires grabbing hold to whatever chance for learning you have that comes your way. Always say yes to opportunities within the realm of possibility for you. She said she is always enrolled in at least one course. She also shared that she always wanted to go to Norway, but never could afford it. Instead, she made friends with some random exchange student from Norway that crossed her path and has him skype with her now that he is back home."

One of the hundreds of reasons I love living where we do is the overwhelming generosity of our friends when babies are born.  We are still receiving meals each week and it is probably the best gift when a new baby is born.  Due to God's goodness, we have been able to meet and get to know well many families from different ethnic backgrounds.  We share many common interests, but what I love most is the introduction of different kinds of food to our children.

Last week, we received food from the Mwania family.  The father, Solomon, is from Nairobi. They have six children about the same ages as our children.  They had our family over this past summer and he made us authentic African food.  I loved listening to his stories about their culture.  He told us about a eatery called "The Carnival."  You can order almost any type of meat including zebra. 

My good friend Sandra is from Lebanon.  She and her husband have five boys similar in ages to our kids. I love Lebanese food and she knows it.   Amongst her many wonderful gifts, their culture is second to none when it comes to generosity.  She has brought over so many meals since Kapaun was born.  She went to the grocery store and brought over two grocery bags full of food just for ME to enjoy.  She has offered to come hold Kapaun at night if I need to get anything done.  She offered to watch my other kids during the day if I need to get anything done.   She printed off recipes for me that she adapted that contained food Kapaun could tolerate.  Foods with names like "Mdardra" and a spice mixture named "Zataar."

Pictured below is our friend, Anand.  He is from India, but is now living in Colorado with his wife, daughter, and baby on the way. 
Anand was in town this past weekend.  He intended to swing by our home for a short visit in the afternoon.  We ended up talking with him until 9:00 PM that night.  We discussed food, cultures, raising children, our faith, and a fascinating topic that I hope he writes about later for me on the absence of extended family culture.  Our children were completely taken by him mostly due to the fact that he was so good to include them constantly in our conversations by trying to draw them in with questions and funny jokes.  He was a natural with Kapaun and enjoyed trying to soothe him. 
We had a big pot of beef soup simmering on the stove for supper that evening.  As we discussed our love of Indian food, he promptly offered to make Chicken Tikka Masala for dinner.  How could I refuse?  Authentic Indian food from and Indian person.  Yes PLEASE!  My sister and husband were coming over so he made enough for everybody. He eagerly loaded up our four older kids to run to the store and fetch the needed ingredients.  He had his specialty spices with him in his suitcase.

My brother-in-law Jora is from the Ukraine.  We ate at his parents home last year.  Jora is the third of sixteen children.  That is not a typo!  He has 15 brothers and sisters. What I will remember about that incredible meal was the amount of food the Russians prepare for each meal.  I couldn't believe the amount of side dishes and desserts at the meal and my sister said that is normal for their family on a daily basis.  I am lucky to get one side dish made, but his mother had at least 5 side dishes and 5 desserts.  She was a machine, but relaxed as the gift of food was something very second nature to her.  Our kids still remember eating over at their home because of the desserts.
I value our friendships with each of these people and although our children may never visit these places at least they have had the opportunity to learn so much from our friendships and the food they share with us. 


  1. Anand's busted now!!! He was supposed to stop at our house too on Saturday and never showed we know why. You owe us chicken tikki masala, Bheemar!!!

  2. know Lindsey and Anand..small world. I love being able to experience different cultures and hope to share that with Gabe.

  3. Exposing our children to people from different cultures is one of the BEST things we can do for them. The world is big and there is good everywhere. I loved this post!

  4. Love this! My friend has Ukrainian heritage (her mother's mother emigrated here) and every year for Christmas Eve, they'd have a huge, vegetarian (since that used to be a day of abstinence from meat) multi-course meal! I was always fascinated by their culture!

  5. Your ability to have so many (diverse) friends really speaks well to the kind of inclusive and inviting people you are.