I hope your summer is going great. Ours is a little sad right now. For the last year, we welcomed a foreign exchange student as the fifth member of our household. We recently dropped her off for the long trip home. I heard my son say he’d never seen me cry before.
Mimi was such a wonderful fit and taught us much. She was always sunny and upbeat. My wife remarked about observing Mimi face the normal disappointments of teen life. Mostly things like the anticipated social plans that fell through last minute. She would be down for a moment, and shake it off in a matter of minutes and be back to her normal demeanor. Mimi was an immediate hit in her US high school and had plenty of friends. I think her demeanor was a big part of it. She greeted everyone and everything with a big genuine smile.
Mimi is Danish. One of the things that surprised her the most about America was typical food habits. We took her out to eat and there were a few times where she stayed with other families for up to a week at a time. She said that in Denmark, people ate much less food, they ate fewer meals and snacks, and they ate less processed food.
She missed Danish bread the most. I often wonder how much of our problems with gluten are related to the scores of unlisted chemicals used in grain processing that aren’t used in much of the of the world. We tried so hard to find Rye bread like she was used to. I was sure that she would like the health food store frozen dense loaves with rye as a single ingredient. Nope, they still weren’t close.
Thankfully, Dr. Linda Khoshaba from our clinic saved the day. She traveled to Copenhagen this winter and came home with two loaves of real Danish Rye bread. I set it up as if I baked bread for Mimi hoping it would be like what she missed. After tasting it her eyes opened wide and she exclaimed that it was just like what she had at home. I laughed and confessed to the true source.
Often we assume that our struggles are personal. One of the benefits of interacting with other cultures is that we can start to see the difference between our culture and the universal human experience. Modern culture causes much of our stress and poor health. Understanding our connections that span cultural divisions can be a powerful source of healing.
Hope to see you soon Mimi. You always have a home with us!