Not long ago I ran a boarding home which, by design, became a magnet for cultural diversity, attracting tenants from around the world.
My kitchen became a hub of story-sharing, culinary aromas and delights (often shared with whomever was present), questions, answers, cultural faux pas and learnings, and plenty of laughter.
We had a lot of impromptu shared meals in my home, which often become the highlight of my day. The diversity of cultures, religions, languages, ages, races, experiences, goals, genders, and journeys made for the most fascinating conversations.
When setting the table, I loved that I had to ask in all seriousness, “Will you be using chopsticks or a fork tonight?” (I never guessed correctly) or “No, there’s no pork in this dish” for my Muslim friends or “This punch has no alcohol” for my Mormon housemate. Often, I’d arrive home from work to find a plate of steaming pad thai waiting for me on the table or a scoop of spicy Indian deliciousness in the fridge.
We had monthly house potlucks where everyone would bring a dish of their choice but typically from their home country. They were some of the best meals ever! I learned that I love eating with my hands as is often done in Thailand: take a thinly sliced piece of meat, scoop up a ball of sticky rice and use it to claim a bite-size slice of thinly cut beef, dip in spicy sauce. Of course we’d use coconut oil to keep the sticky rice from sticking to our fingers. Pair the spicy sauce with pickled onions and a slice of raw cabbage or mustard leaf to cut the bite and there you have it!
What stories do you have from a positive or humorous cross cultural exchange? Share in the Comments. I look forward to reading them!
Wishing you many fascinating experiences and connections that light your soul and widen your window of awareness and possibility.
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