Sunday, January 6, 2008

Being the odd duck out

It's funny, sometimes it is the little things that make you miss home and sometimes it can be those same little things that bring you laughter and make you feel accepted and loved.
Second to our goofy accent, our eating habits really make us stand out :) It is not just the foods we like, but actually the way we consume our foods; the way we use our knife and fork. South Africans find it baffling that we use the side of our fork to try to cut our food and then "stab the food as if it is not already dead", as our Pastor so beautifully put it. They on the other hand hold their fork in the left hand and the knife in the right. These utensils never get sat down during the meal and you usually push your food with the knife onto the BACK of the fork. I'm not quite talented enough to manage that yet.
Just the other day, I was out to lunch with a young lady. We both ordered wrap sandwiches. I start by picking mine up with my fingers and she starts by cutting her wrap up in pieces and eating it with a knife and fork. We laughed about the differences, but at the end of the conversation she still felt that the way I ate was weird and I felt culturally "different".
Yet today, we had a South African Transworld Radio missionary family to Swaziland over for dinner. (Their son went to Bible School with Lily.) They've been around Americans for years and we had a wonderful laugh about the differences and funny habits. At the end of that conversation, I felt understood by them and embraced. Talking about our differences was a great way to open conversation and get to know them.
There will probably always be times when I feel like I just don't fit in, but I'll sure cherish those times when, even in spite of my eating habits, we are accepted!

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