More on the 'Power of Yes' - Trang's Graduation Party

Greetings! Across the years you might have noticed that some of my favorite themes in life seem to be marinating myself in serendipitous situations. I practice noticing the small everyday happenings, and perhaps saying yes, when it would be just as easy to say no.
Well, last Sunday was just such a day. As my husband Ken winds up his girls’ wrestling season at the high school, he has been invited to some of the senior girls’ family graduation parties. Last Sunday, he wondered if I would like to join him at one of them? Up for a new experience, but not holding any particular expectations, I joined in for what turned out to be such a thought provoking and sensational feast that days later I am still thinking about it.
We arrived at a beautiful Spanish colonial house on a hill in San Clemente, greeted by Trang, the wrestler and her father. We met a few other guests in a room with about ten people who had also arrived right on time. Within a few minutes, Trang’s mother, Linh, came up to me and said, “The food is ready!” I could see that the thing to do was to grab a plate and get started. As my eyes took in the expansive offering of, perhaps, a dozen Vietnamese dishes, I caught my breath. Incredulous, I asked of the hostess, “Did you cook all day?” Smiling she confessed that she and her daughter indeed had cooked all day, perhaps even some the day before.
Her commitment to her daughter, the party, and the guests, filled me with awe. I understand Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages and to see the language of Acts of Service performed by Linh for her wonderful family warmed my soul.
As the first guest to be invited to the food buffet that dominated Linh’s kitchen island, I was so stunned by the presentation that I asked if I might take a photo. Not having my phone with me, she offered to take some for me. I pulled her family into the picture as we posed in front of the colorful dishes. Seeing my enthusiasm she explained some of the what was offered.
Fascinated, I asked further, learning that she had been a sous chef at the Riverside 3 Hotel in Da Nang City where she met her American husband, a retired Marine. I did not know what all of the many dishes were, but I identified chicken parmesan, tender beef ribs, a meat skewer, barbecue pork spring rolls with rice paper (goi cuon), salads, homemade cream puffs, homemade cheese cake, and cut up melon. Following up the next day, I texted Linh my questions about the food. I learned that there was a pasta salad and a banana flowers salad with chicken.
With my plate full of a sampling of most of it, I found a seat at a long table and joined the others, who by now also had plates. The conversations were easy and I enjoyed making some new acquaintances, but what has lingered with me is witnessing Linh acting out her devotion to her family.
She has invited me to coffee and she is offering me her story. For now I know that she with her two daughters, and her new husband, arrived in the US in 2017. Upon arrival, Linh and her teen girls had little English. I admire her bravery to take on a new land, new culture and new language. I know that her daughter Trang is an A+ student with a bright future at the University of Arizona. Linh and I are planning on becoming friends. I feel energized by having had a cultural adventure. When we meet for coffee I will learn more of her life.
I’m still smiling about that day. I said yes, wandered out of my comfort zone by the fact that I knew no one at that gathering, and I was honored to get to be a part of something very special, just because I said ‘yes.” Maybe this is something for all of us to think about as our global seclusion comes to an end. Maybe it’s time we simply wander outside of our comfort zones, and put ourselves in the path of new opportunities. This is our precious time on the planet and it just seems like we should make the most of it. For now I admire the courage of this one mother of two who came to a new land.
I love to hear what you are thinking. My best, donna