I am SO thankful that God continues to teach me as a missionary that there are many ways to live a life. I mean, in Canada they serve french fries with vinegar, right? In Venezuela hamburgers include a slice of ham and maybe a fried egg. In Chile hot dogs have smashed avocado on top….
And it’s not just food differences. Etiquette and expectations differ world-wide. I was shocked during our first years in Venezuela when an older woman walked into the middle of a church service and said “Buenos dias” to everyone down the center aisle – as the preacher paused in his sermon. But, I quickly learned it was important to do the same every time I walked into a doctor’s office or boarded a bus. To skip that cordial greeting would be rude!
Sometimes I felt put-out when when after arriving punctually to a latino-hosted event, others were joyfully welcomed 2 or 3 hours later. I mean, in the States that wouldn’t be respectful. In fact, in the USA where “early is on-time and on-time is late” I was charged a fee and sometimes lost an appointment because I was a few minutes past the hour.
“Back home it’s not like this….why doesn’t everyone do it my way…” Thoughts like this often pass through our minds. If we’re smart, we hold our tongues, but secretly know EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING…
Then we come across delightful surprises like this bright green sign that caught my eye. It was hanging below the familiar golden arches, but it was something new! Kiwi? Why does Chilean McDonald’s have kiwi in their menu? I thought kiwis were a New Zealand thing….but I bought the sundae anyway and it was AMAZING!
Then, I googled Kiwi and was surprised to learn that Chile is the #2 exporter of kiwis! Quite the fascinating little story. Of course, it wasn’t news to any local Chileans. How many other surprises are there in this country for me to learn? As I said, I am SO thankful for every opportunity to see, to taste, to hear, to live! Keep your eyes open. Ask questions. Live the life God’s given you to the fullest!