Growing up in the United States is one of the biggest blessings I feel I have in my life. We have it sooooo good here. Jay and I were talking last night about how we have it so good that not only do we take it for granted, it's hard for us to imagine anyone else feeling the same way about their own country. I mean, who would want to live anywhere else, right?
One of the unique parts of Jay's program is that ITC is completely an international school. It is a school for surveyors, mappers, photogrammetrists, urban planners and other such jobs that most of us never think about or consider, but that we need for our societies to function. Governments from all over the world send their employees here to acquire the skills needed to return to their countries and further develop infrastructures there.
Needless to say my husband, affectionately known in high school as Mayor Jay, has befriended some of the most amazing people from all corners of the globe....Tanzania, Bhutan, Nigeria, St. Vincent, Oman, China. It has been a pleasure getting to know them and their stories this week. I have met Prince Will from Nigeria, Cornelius from St. Vincent, Kalfon and Ali from Oman, and several others whose names I will not attempt to type because I would slaughter the spellings I'm sure....Each of them is so proud of his or her country. They love to share the customs and traditions of where they live. Many of those stories start with, "In my country..."
Last night we had the privilege of having dinner with the gentlemen from Oman. They quietly asked Jay yesterday if they could have a dinner in my honor. Now, I have to admit I was a little nervous about what might be served at such a dinner. I wasn't sure what the customs would be....I was nervous and even considered eating a little something beforehand in case I couldn't stomach what they cooked for us.
Imagine my delight when we showed up and were treated as if we were royal guests. They prepared a FEAST for us! We had soup, saffron rice, curried chicken stew, a cucumber and tomato salad, Lebanese bread, dates, and Omani coffee. The table was set beautifully with nice plates and glasses (we've been using plastic in Jay's room). They served us first and only filled their own plates after they had heaped ours to overflowing! It was delicious. Every part of it. Of course, Jay and I both did our best to finish, but there was just too much. The conversation was fabulous. It was so interesting to hear about what life is like in Oman. I definitely had some preconceived notions about life in the Middle East, and after dinner I would say my assumptions were both right on and completely off...if that makes any sense.
I left feeling like a whole new world had been opened up to me. I still love my country and am so proud to be an American, but there can be pride without arrogance...like I tell my kids at school ALL the time...just because something is different doesn't necessarily make it any better or worse than what you are used to. And that is what I take from my wonderful dinner last night.