This past weekend we were invited to the karate "studio" to celebrate their one year anniversary. You just never know what to expect in a different culture. We arrived a few minutes late with Josiah upset that we were going to miss something. If you've ever lived in a Latin culture, then you know that by arriving a few minutes late, you are still very early! The event started at 6:00 and included refreshments that we were all supposed to bring. We were told that it was very informal and so we thought we would just get there at 6:00 and stay for about a half an hour and then go home and eat supper. Of course there were just a couple of people there when we arrived (including the other Americans!) and then the instructor had to go buy some cups for the drinks. So, we waited and waited and then things finally got rolling around 7:00. We all sat in a circle and the instructor gave a speech. Then we each got a cup of champagne and toasted to another year. After that, everyone took their cups back to the table and they served us some crackers and candy. Then, they served us some Coke. After that round everyone took their cups back to the table. Then we were served cheese sandwiches and some more Coke. After that round everyone took their cups back to the table. It was at this point that Lynette (another MAF missionary) said, how strange that they keep taking their cups up there..........that's when I realized that they were using the same cups for each "round"!!!! EWWWW! There are just some cultural things that I will never get used to!!
It's about as bad as when Josiah was showing his grandparents his pre-school classroom after the school year was over. Let me back up a bit. At the beginning of the year they asked that we send a toothbrush to school because they would serve the kids lunch before they came home. Anyway, I sent all his supplies with his name on them - because that's what we do in the US. Never thought anything else about it. So, on the tour of the pre-school classroom, Josiah points out where they kept their toothbrushes. It was one big cup and there were about 30 toothbrushes to pick from! I guess it didn't matter if you had your own, as long as you had one. Clean teeth is important! Let's just say that Josiah was sick A LOT that year!
Ok, back to karate.... Sometimes it is hard not to look down on your host culture. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking our customs etc. are the right way and theirs are not. We grumbled about going to the "social", but I'm so glad we went. I think it meant a lot to the instructor and I'm not so sure that we are involved in karate just to learn karate. I think that God may have a higher purpose than that. Please pray for Edgar the instructor. He is not a Christian and he has asked Chad some interesting questions about faith. The kids too have been sharing about their faith with him - which makes their Mom pretty proud!