Each time a new student comes to live with us, there is always a time of adjustment. We tread carefully as we learn about each other's culture and customs. We've learned the importance of having lots of conversations to avoid misunderstandings. Those misunderstandings are inevitable due to language and cultural differences. A simple example comes from our daughter's time in Turkey. Annie's Turkish host mom was horrified that she would walk around the house with wet hair after showering. That's a big no-no in Turkey. I'm sure I've offended our exchange daughters without meaning to. It's easy to trip up along the way.
Spending time in the kitchen with the girls has been my way to ease into each new relationship. Lucky for me, they've all been willing to hang out with me as we cook together.
Sana and I bonded over cooking an Indian dinner when she first arrived. We bonded even more at the dinner table when she invited our family to eat with our hands, like they do in India. That night will forever be a favorite of mine. Sana learned how to make chocolate chip cookies when she lived with us. Anyone who likes to bake cookies with me has a forever spot in my heart.
Fiona and I discovered quickly that we enjoyed baking together. We shared recipes...her German desserts, my American favorites. Fiona was a whiz in the kitchen...there were many times I'd come home from work to fresh baked cookies. She made us so many German treats, which we gladly gobbled up.
And now, Chanju has joined our family. What do we have in common? Strawberry shortcake. After dinner tonight, I asked her if she wanted to go out for ice cream when her homework was done. I thought for sure she'd want to go. Instead, she said no, she'd like to have strawberry shortcake. I shouldn't be surprised. It's my favorite spring time dessert and I make it a lot. So, off we went to the kitchen (because it's always time for strawberry shortcake..homework done or not). She sliced strawberries while I whipped the cream. We cut thick slices of angel food cake, slathered it with fresh strawberries, and topped it with white mounds of whipped cream. It was the perfect way to end our meal. The best part? My husband cleaned up the mess. And guess what? She likes to make cookies too. :)