Xenophile: Sharing Passions Builds Relationships

I was delighted to find this word describing a common trait that I share with my daughters, one which has been built especially into my relationship with daughter Julia. Both of my girls have traveled and experienced foreign cultures and love doing that, as do I. We love exploring, talking to people and learning how we are all similar, and how our lives are different. That’s basically what a xenophile is – a person who loves foreign people and their cultures.

Me, dressed for riding the tuk tuk through the city.

The foreign part of the world that I have the most experience with is Southeast Asia, Cambodia in particular. I have taken four trips of about two weeks each time and have made many personal friends, most of them in PhnomPenh. I was so moved by the people and their way of life that I had to take Julia there, so she could experience it too.

Julia loves these kids, they love her too.

While there, our mission was to spend time with the staff and children of Asia’s Hope, an organization providing stable homes for orphans and at risk children. In a country where it is common for people in poverty to “sell” a child into slavery of one kind or another, in order to make ends meet, Asia’s Hope is committed to finding these kids and rescuing them. They are a Christian organization and want to teach children that God loves and values them, even when other people don’t. They place 20 to 25 children in a home with indigenous house parents who will raise them to college age and beyond. They will live out biblical principles and equip the children to be leaders in their own country. It is a beautiful model and it works.

So, the love part – what won me over? I can list a few of the many, many experiences that did the trick.

– arriving at the Phnom Penh airport late at night and finding the house parents and dozens of the kids waiting to greet us, grab our bags and put them in vans and get us to our lodgings.

I’m in there, the only white haired person you can pick out…

– being invited to their homes for meals highlighting their cuisine but also giving us something familiar (they learned fried chicken and spaghetti quite easily).

Their preferred “table”. They were kind enough to make sure we had chairs.

– visiting in their asian style kitchens, while the moms, cooks and older girls cooked on charcoal grills while squatting on the floor (so amazing!)

– playing games with the children outside, sitting with them inside while they overwhelmed us with laughter and hugs

– enjoying outings to the city market where each child thoughtfully chose how to spend five dollars on something they needed with no complaining or arguing.

Of course I am not in this picture because I am taking the picture.
With PE4 after a successful shopping trip. I made it into this picture, again the odd one with very white hair.

– watching them enjoy a rare trip to a pizza restaurant where dozens of wings and pizzas disappeared, again with nothing but smiles and happiness.

Pizza night, and I am given a flower for my hair…
Oh, and there was birthday cake for all to share.

– hearing their delight in learning English words and phrases, and more laughter as they listened to us trying to learn Khmer words from them

– experiencing firsthand their simple, strong faith and how content they are with so little

– and over the years, seeing them learn and grow, graduate high school and go on to university (so rare in their country).

My contact list has almost more Asian friends than American ones and my Facebook messages are filled with pictures from those beautiful friends in that exciting, culturally different but much loved country. I am suffering from xenomania. I am a xenophile.

A to Z: Selling Our House (Letter X)

Kind of a sad day, really. I’m surprised I’m not more bummed out.

 X

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See the X?

It looks like an X, doesn’t it? To the left of the X is part of what the roofers found when they uncovered the lanai roof – termite damage, maximal termite damage. Evidently they’ve been feasting for a while (dry wood termites eat slow but some of these boards are nearly gone). The good thing is that they are dead now, since we have had the house tented. But what a unXpected mess which is making no one happy.

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Termites, and how weird to find a hook on your roof joists. I’m thinking reclaimed lumber… 

In a way, it is good to feel that we are making the house safer and more sound for whoever lives here next. We really don’t like to run away from messes if we can help it. This is, of course, going to be much costlier than we had thought, or the contractor had bid. All I can say is that God is not surprised to find out about the termites, He knew. Nothing has changed except that we are also now “in the know”.

Also, today we were apprised that the handyman we have been waiting for all week has decided he is too busy to do our work. (Sigh) He Xed us out.  I think that the husband and I will be going to the home improvement store to buy our new door tonight, and some of the other things the handyman was going to do will have to be done by the handywoman. Like I’m not already wondering how I will finish the things that are on my list…

One good thing is that the photography is going to be a day later than I thought – on Friday now. Another whole 24 hours to manipulate all our stuff. I’m not kidding about this, when I wake up at night or early in the morning my mind goes to planning how it will all fit in the container, and then I decide to get rid of a few more things, and plan the next box I’m going to pack, etc… Last night I planned when and how to get the piano in the container – no small matter. Please don’t tell me I should sell the piano. I just had it repaired and it is my one weakness.  I’m getting real good at leaving other stuff behind.

Signs of the times: X

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You just don’t see a lot of X signs, so I had to snap a pic of this one for sure.