A beautiful morning, bright as could be, as we headed out to visit our friend's home outside the city, where her parents have a small pi pa farm. After two lengthy bus rides, we were thankful to get out and walk a little around the hills behind her house. Her parents made us this incredible spread for lunch. "Cooking is the way of life to them," she told me. I had wondered if they enjoyed it after seeing the beauty of the finished product. Where I come from people either cook beautiful things because they love to do it, or to impress. But maybe for them it was neither, or they just didn't think about it too much.
One of the things I most love to do here is listen... listen to the stories of life and history, because it speaks so much to what we see now on the outside and also gives a depth to knowing the heart of this place and where they have come from. My friend is such a loyal daughter, caring for her parents in their aging needs and giving them a lot of personal and monetary support. And they have made sacrifices for her as well. It's a strange web of love and dedication that also translates into pressures and burdens. Nothing is easily figured out or understood. It's a sea of grey complications.
They were such humble, gracious hosts to us. I mean that not in the cliche way of they smiled and were kind and let us run around their home and then fed us (all of which is true), but that they were not pretentious, not overly concerned with impressing us, nor were they indifferent. They were generous, and humble in what they could give. Every time I have visited a family in this way, I am always taught that hospitality is not showing off what you can make or how nice your home looks. It is generosity and humility and a truly welcoming spirit that says, "What is mine is yours. You are at home here." And sometimes, beyond that, "You are special."