The stares. The squeals. The breeching of our space bubbles. The hair touching, especially the curly kind. The cheek pinching. The not-so-sneaky pictures. The in-your-face pictures, without even asking. The positioning of kids for pictures, again, without asking. The pure confusion written on their faces, trying to make sense of our diverse family.
Some of these scenarios can be maddening, right? When these are daily occurrences, it can get a tad old. No, I didn’t perm my toddler’s hair. Yes, my kids have different colors of skin. No, they look nothing like me. Sure, we can take a picture, but please don’t put your arm around me. Yes, my family is all from the same country. NO, one of my children is not more handsome than the other just because his skin is lighter.
It can be exhausting, huh? Because it’s not just once in a while, it’s every time we walk out of our home.
Even if you don’t look different than the culture you live in, you may act differently, and there can be just as many questions. Why aren’t you wearing more clothes? Because it’s 75*F, not 40*F. Why can’t you speak the local language? Because even though we may look alike, I didn’t grow up here. Why are you eating ice cream? Eating cold things isn’t good for you. It’s 104*F and it cools me down with it’s sugary goodness.
Although these conversations are many and we can all have our days where we just don’t want to engage, I have to keep reminding myself they ask these questions because they’re curious. I mean, wouldn’t you be intrigued, too, if you had never seen anyone look too different from yourself? That’s hard for me to even imagine! Are they purposely trying to offend me? I like to think not. Are they racist because they think one child is cuter than the other because of his lighter skin? Perhaps, but I’ll show them grace. Grace laced with truth that skin color doesn’t define cuteness—they’re both super adorable.
I also have to keep reminding myself that Jesus was a foreigner on this earth. He was ridiculed and insulted numerous times. His responses? Grace and truth.
I like how Peter puts it: “To sum it up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving blessing instead.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)
We have the unique opportunity to not only show this Love to the lost around us, but to teach them that the big ol’ world out there that they can’t see, and may never get to see? It’s diverse and beautiful, and of course messy. But what a powerful thing to be a part in teaching others that curiosity can lead to deep, meaningful relationships, no matter the culture or skin color. And while we’re at it, I hope we can be just as curious about their culture. Because, until we dive in, who knows what sort of major offenses we’re committing!
In the culture you live in, how are you different from the locals? How do they react to you? How do you handle all the extra attention? How do your kids handle it?
A few years ago while in language school, my friend Amanda brought these chicken wings to a meal we shared with several others. I immediately hunted her down for the recipe. I was pleasantly surprised to find out they are so easy!! It takes a smidge of forethought to marinade them early enough to get a good flavor, but after that, you just throw them on a pan and bake! When I make these, my kids literally jump for joy, then proceed to eat as many as their tummies will allow…with sticky goodness covering half their bodies afterwards. Now that’s a sign of good food!
The simple sauce. You may even already have the ingredients on hand!
Marinading. Feel free to stir them halfway through the time to be sure all the pieces get equal flavor.
Parchment paper or foil is a must for easy clean up!
Sweet and savory and crunchy and tender. So, so good!
The JOY on these cute little faces speaks for how good these are! (Thanks again, Amanda!)
Honey Garlic Chicken Wings
Ready in: 45 minutes (plus 8 hours to marinade)
Recipe courtesy of Amanda
30 chicken wings/drumlets
½ cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons oil/sesame oil
2 teaspoons salt
garlic powder to taste (Crushed or chopped fresh garlic is good, too!)
In a small saucepan, combine the honey, soy sauce, oil, salt and garlic (as you can see, I love garlic). Cook and stir on low heat until blended. Cool.
Place the chicken wings in a large bowl (or a Ziploc bag); add honey mixture and mix. For best results refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. But whenever I don’t plan ahead, just coating the wings with the marinade right before baking works as well.
Place wings in a well-greased baking pan, or a lined cookie sheet with baking paper. Bake uncovered at 180 degrees C/375 degrees F for 30 minutes. Turn chicken wings. Bake 20-25 minutes longer or until glaze is set.