There aren’t many social situations in life where I feel unsure of myself. I love meeting new people and don’t mind new environments. However, a recent visit with a new Afghan friend left me feeling a bit uncertain.
When she invited me over for afternoon tea, she immediately pulled me close to kiss my cheeks. Awkwardly, I almost bumped heads with her, surprised by her warm greeting. Then she led me to her living room, empty of furniture, covered instead with a beautiful area rug lined with pillows. When she pointed to the floor, I confidently plopped down on a pillow. She sat down as well, on the rug, and I realized that the pillows were for decoration, not for sitting. I nonchalantly slid to the floor, sitting cross legged with her.
Awkwardly, I almost bumped heads with her, surprised by her warm greeting
We chatted a while, enjoying one another’s company. Then she got the tea, nuts, and dried fruits, presented in the most ornate serving set. However, there were no spoons in each container. Hmm. Do I put my hands right in and grab a handful? Do I take one at a time? Should I wash my hands first? My mind was spinning while she patiently waited for me to help myself. You are overthinking this, I thought, and grabbed a couple pistachios.
By this time, my hips were on fire from sitting cross legged, as I am one of the least flexible women I know. I casually tried to stretch my hip flexors without appearing like I was at the gym. She handed me her baby, and by this time getting up from the floor while holding her beautiful daughter in my arms was a real challenge, my middle-aged hips now frozen in place. I hope she wasn’t worried that I would drop her! By this time, I was sweating.
I casually tried to stretch my hip flexors without appearing like I was at the gym.
We continued to chat until her other children spilled into the room after school. When the visit was over, she filled my arms with freshly baked bread and meat to take home. I had to laugh when I left, thinking of how the most familiar connections with a new friend suddenly felt awkward. Yet it was worth it to make a new friend, to receive such gracious hospitality, and even to be humbled by the experience. And the next time I see her, I will remember to stretch out first!
Tracy is an Immigration Assistant at Arrive Ministries