Helping Expats Relocate
If you have read Parents on the Move! (see the Useful Books page above) you will know all about "The Dinner Party Test." This is the test where you truly check out your comfort level when far from home. I am one of those awkward Level 4 people, who can't stand cultural dominancy when it comes to sharing bread and wine. I like a variety of languages and passports and even ages around the table. This month I am focusing on hospitality as a way of finding the support you need for living contentedly in a country not your own.
This month our church is hosting a Hospitality Sunday, with the tag line, "Generous Hospitality-let us share life together." The emphasis is on practising hospitality, and eating together with glad hearts (Acts 2:46 for the glad hearts bit). As a former Mission Deacon wrote in the newsletter, "We have different styles, but let's be ourselves and appreciate our differences."
So, what if you are new in town and no one is being generous with the invites? You know the answer is that you must be the one to start the hosting trend. The former Missions Deacon also has a word of caution for setting the environment. Apparently, Jack King (Anglican minister in the USA) talks about "scruffy hospitality." I am not sure I am up for "scruffy," but I like the focus on hospitality being about friendship and not house inspection!"
So what if all you have for a table is packing crates! No oven working yet? Find the local grocery store or even a street merchant to supply the food. You will soon find who is adaptable and ready to befriend you. The Baptist Disaster Relief trainer I met in Sarasota, Florida was fond of saying "Blessed are the flexible." Well, you will soon learn who is and isn't flexible!
Let's get over trying to make a certain impression, and do a little of the work needed to make some new friends. If after an "evening in" you find you weren't that comfortable with those around the table; ask yourself if you need to "check your level" or if God just was calling you to a little practice.
Parents on the Move! is on sale for the whole month of August!