While spending time in my back yard taking this amateur photo, I reflected on how in college, I not only immersed myself in courses like the business ethics of multi-national corporations and international politics, I also had the opportunity to interact with people from different parts of our shared global community. I liked that because I am not an island of one; no Country is an island of one; we are all part of a global community that spans across our entire world.
For the past 15 years, I have been inspired to continue learning from people in our shared global community. Mostly college-aged employees who take part in a local YMCA that sponsors an international work exchange program. Every summer, my family and I get to know a couple of these employees. Because they are so far from home, we host a dinner party at our home, in their honor. They rave about getting a home cooked meal and the gift of mere hospitality, fun, laughter and friendship.
Una and Chris, both from Ireland, met in America through their work at the YMCA. I cooked a New England-Irish dinner on their behalf with corned beef, onions, potatoes, carrots and cabbage. When I told Una what was for dinner she asked “is corned beef like ground beef”? Imagine in a kaleidoscope of different cultures and food, they never had a New England-Irish dinner. Not until they met me.
Because I often work long hours, the entire meal was cooked in multiple crock pots. I also cook no fuss meals so I can actually visit with guests. As I was slicing the rather large slab of corned beef, I invited them to watch. With collegial curiosity, wide and resolute eyes they watched me plate the entire meal. There were no left overs. We had many laughs and shared many stories.
They have come back to see us a couple of times. When we get together, they do not laugh about the large slab of corned beef, but about the first time they ate boiled onions.
I am inspired by this mere gift of friendship.