We wanted to invite one of our sweet friends over for dinner since we hadn’t really gotten to connect with her in a while, but when we invited her, we found out she had sold her house and bought a new one (seriously, it had only been 3 weeks!) and moved in with a friend while her new house was finished. So, we extended the invitation to her roommate, who is also a friend of ours and was moving at the end of the week to Shanghai. It turned into a goodbye meal of sorts.
Then, while we were at that seaside birthday party, Cameron invited one more lady to come. She, in turn, made the decision to invite a few more friends. I think we were up to seven at this point.
I kept thinking, “this would never happen in America! You don’t just invite people to come with you!”
We cooked and cleaned and moved tables to accommodate the crowd. Keeping the menu simple with grilled chicken gyros, pita, hummus, and veggies, there was still a bit of anxiety about our guests enjoying the meal. One lady, we found out while eating, doesn’t eat meat. She, however made an exception and tried the chicken, much to her friend’s surprise. They also said she only eats healthy things so she usually brings her own food, but since this meal was so healthy, not cooked in oil, it was great for her. Stranges for the win!
I made some chocolate chip cookies for a sweet thing to follow the meal with, thinking that they wouldn’t be too sweet for our guests. When I noticed they were eating a bite of cookie chased by a bite of cucumber to cut the sweet, I realized I was wrong.
When our group of friends, old and new, arrived, they came with gifts. They brought me a HUGE bouquet of flowers that smelled glorious and looked like art and each of my girls received a fresh flower headband, tied on with a ribbon. Cameron got a bottle of wine that we aren’t sure what to do with, but the box and bottle are also beautiful.
After dinner, it was like show and tell for my girls. Having people to our home usually brings this out in the girls. In America, we didn’t allow it, but in China, our friends really like the glimpse into their world that it shows. They also like to learn how to do all the crafty things that Faith usually drags out. She brought out one of the special books that Shawna (our sister-in-law) sent us, and the crowd went wild! They all asked if she could come to China to teach them how to make the books. I think it’s a fabulous idea…Although our intimately planned dinner for 2 friends turned into a table full of people we didn’t know well, we couldn’t have planned a better night. It is such a testimony of how their hearts are opening to us. We were honored that they wanted to extend the invitation to others and that they came with smiles, laughter, and a willingness to share their life. This night will always provoke warm feelings in my heart and was definitely a night that I see as one of the turning points of our life in China.