Tonight we had dinner with our friend Emily. She is Chinese and cooked traditional dishes for us. Dinner was at 6:30 and she told us she started cooking at 2:30. She spent 4 hours cooking these Chinese specialities to share with us. I can't tell you how honored I felt.
(On a funny side note.. one of Sophie's favorite things to do lately is wave. She loves it. Literally every time she sees someone's hand go up or someone leaves she can't wait to wave at them. So, as we were leaving, Sophie saw Emily's buddha statue. This particular Buddha had one of his hands up in the air. Sophie was so excited when she saw him, pointed and started waving Bye-Bye to Buddha. So cute!)
Earlier today I had lunch with the lady who heads up Madison Friends of International Students. It is an organization that has been around for almost 40 years and they work with international students at UW to offer them conversation partners, opportunities to eat Thanksgiving with American families, furniture loans, etc.. It is a great organization and we have been involved for 1.5 years.
Sherry asked me why I am involved with MFIS. I told her that my dad immigrated when he was 17 and left his entire family in Greece. He would share stories of people who invited him into their home and made them feel like family when he first arrived in the USA. Those acts of hospitality are what helped my dad acclimate to this culture and start a new life for himself, his family back in Greece and the future generation. He would often tell these stories and so it just stuck with me how important it is to offer hospitality to people, particularly those who are far from family.
Hospitality is an amazing thing we have as human beings. Inviting someone to share a meal in your home, going to their home to try foods you can't pronounce. Laughing. Waving at Buddhas. It is life-sharing life. And I love it.