C is for convinced!–I’m truly convinced that people here “take the cake” when it comes to hosting big events, especially weddings…well, except that they don’t always serve actual cake, which does knock off a few points. We had the honor of being invited to two weddings in the same weekend not too long ago. They were incredibly fancy!
But, besides the big celebrations, island folks are all about hospitality. It’s a given that if someone comes to your house to visit you serve them at least a drink and usually snacks of some sort. You can’t really go wrong if you make hot tea with about 3 tea spoons of sugar per cup! If you thought the south ranked on top with beverage sweetness, you haven’t been to our island yet! Even if you order tea without sugar, they might still bring you sugar on the side because it seems impossible that you would drink it “tasteless”–that’s what they call it if you get it without sugar.
One of the most recent (favorite) celebrations happened to be my 30th birthday. That sounds super conceited, but here birthdays are more about everyone else, so it was more fun. First off, who thought that a new friend of ours could make ice cream cakes in the tropics?! The flavors surprised me. He makes the ice cream from scratch and without any unnatural flavors. I have no clue how he managed to make the mint ice cream taste just like fresh garden mint, but it was perfect! The strawberry layer even had fresh berries in it! And he also made the outer shell from chocolate painted like batik (the traditional fabric motif here). I didn’t think I’d ever taste ice cream cake again, but it happened and it was splendid!
Plus, another friend shared the same birthday month, so we took the cake (well, the half that we hadn’t eaten yet) over there and we learned a new happy birthday song as we celebrated together. I loved it! Then, we took some cake to the other neighbors and got to hang out with them too. More and more our little neighborhood is feeling like family. We are so blessed to know the people around us! It matters that we are starting to feel that sense of belonging, even if we are so far off and still have huge language/culture barriers in between.
We also had reason to celebrate recently since our house helper and I managed to conjure up some chicken shwarma and top notch pita bread in the middle of the tropics!!! All of the spices were fresh (hence me learning to use the big mortar and pestle below) and I cannot explain how delicious it was. Mine never turns out that way!
Plus, the little pita breads she made turned out hot and puffy just like they do from Al Ameers or the Golden Bakery! It seemed like a miracle!
And for the final celebration, here’s to 3 months in our new home–and hopefully many more as we press on further into this new chapter of life! Keep us in your prayers, friends!