Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Soup and hospitality

A Korean pastor, on sabbatical in Iowa City, teaches at a women's university. When she returns to South Korea, she wants to start up a campus ministry program. I was asked to befriend her.

This week we had our second lunch meeting. We went to a place that serves Korean food, at K's request. When we arrived, K spoke to the owner in Korean, and we were shown to a table. K asked what I wanted to order. It has been a cold few weeks in our church building (still without heat during construction) and my hands were icy to the touch. K was concerned about warming me up, and apparently told the woman at the restaurant to bring me hot soup. I ate it gratefully. Then our big bowls of noodles and vegetables arrived.

My new friend K asked "you like the soup?" and I nodded yes. I started on the vegetable dish and couldn't imagine how I'd eat it all, having eaten a large bowl of soup first. Then the wait person brought another bowl of soup! In the meantime, K asked if I'd like to try her spicy noodle dish. I was thinking a spoonful would be fine, but she called the wait person for another bowl for me! Yikes.

I wanted to finish all the food, because my friend ordered it, and it was her turn to pay for lunch. This was her best effort at hospitality. I thought it would be rude not to eat it, but finally had to say, "This is so good. But I cannot eat more." Offering hospitality is only part of the story. Receiving it can be more complicated that it appears.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

For Eliza Doolittle

"Words, words, words! I'm so sick of words!" Eliza sings in My Fair Lady. I love the song, and the character. I both agree and disagree with Eliza's sentiment about words. I love words, sometimes so much that I linger over them in a book and read the same sentences again and again. I love words which evoke colour, or sound. I love old-fashioned words that I haven't heard in years.

But I get very sick of my own words, and sometimes other peoples' words, because I also love silence.

Then there are the words that simply rub people the wrong way. Someone very dear to my heart dislikes the word "moist." I can't stand the word "hubby." It must remind me of either "cubby" or "hobby," both of which are too cute to bear. I would love to hear of words that make others of you shudder. And here's another song from my growing up years: "Silence is golden, but the eyes still see."

Monday, October 05, 2009

It must be Monday

It must be Monday, because I spilled an entire box of grape tomatoes at the grocery store checkout counter.

It must be Monday, because I brought home Chinese takeout and found I'd carried it upside down from the car to the kitchen.

It must be Monday, because after all day Saturday at Clergy Day and all day Sunday in church, committee meeting, chapter meeting, and late afternoon festive Eucharist in a nearby town, the thought of tomorrow's clergy lunch makes me a little crazy. Too many collars!! (You know I love you all, but geez...)

It must be Monday, because this is the day I cook. Tonight's menu includes fresh spinach sauteed in olive oil, garlic, and lemon, baby portabella mushrooms (sorry, E), and chicken breasts baked with oregano, lemon, white wine, red onion and capers.