John is attending a year-long course here in London. Roughly half of the class are international students, the other half are British and there’s only one other American. It makes for very interesting conversations when we get together as a group ~ not always pleasant, but always engaging.
We know this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get to know people from all around the world. We meant to start hosting dinners much sooner, but here we are four months into our stay in London, and we finally invited our first guests from amongst John’s fellow students ~ the Israeli family.
We served typical American fare including chocolate brownies for dessert (big hit with the girls). We did throw in a British tradition which is the famous Christmas Crackers ~ they pop when you pull them open and there is little prize inside as well as a paper crown. My prize was a mini mirror. As we travel, I love to add new traditions to our celebrations and the Christmas Cracker is definitely a keeper.
At the end of the meal, we pulled out a game and Logan chose to
torture teach them how to play “Apples to Apples” ~ it’s a fun game of word comparisons. Good way to build vocabulary. Turns out, they had so much fun with the game, the girls have asked their parents to buy the game so they can play at home.
As I expected, the conversation was fascinating and I learned many new things about living in Israel. I already knew about the compulsory military service at age 18 for both men (they serve 3 years) and women (2 years) but it was different hearing about it as I looked around the table at their four daughters and I thought about each one of them in the military. It also got me thinking about our all-volunteer military (which is less than 1% of the US population) ~ how so few do so much for so many.
Darn if they didn’t make me feel like a homebody! As much as I’ve traveled the world, they’ve traveled so much more than either John or I. Backpacking in Chile? Carnival in Rio? Hmmm…I’ve got a long way to go to catch up with their adventures. It was fascinating to hear about it though and I’ve added several places to my travel wish list. Including Israel!
As they were leaving, John’s colleague told us this was the first time he saw a Christmas tree in someone’s home. That warmed my heart as I love the idea that we were able to impart a new experience on someone who has been around the world is a great feeling.