Come, Eat at My Table 

When I was in elementary school, my Mom signed me up for French classes after school.

An attractive dinner setting

An attractive dinner setting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we moved from Iowa to Texas, she found me a French tutor.

In high school, she opened our home to host students who were staying in the United States for a short time and wanted to meet Americans, eat dinner in a typical American home and celebrate normal American holidays.

Except for my Dad’s two years of military service in Brazil in World War II, my parents never left the country until my Mom won a free one-week, all-expenses trip for two to Mexico City when I was in high school.

They had two children left at home, so paid for us to go with them to Mexico City.

Before then, they thought we should be exposed to the larger world but needed a way that didn’t involve packing up a family of five to travel.

The answer was to invite foreign students to come to our house.

We met people from all over the world at our dinner table.

How Do You Introduce Your Children to the World?

Though we traveled so much we’d had 12 addresses by the time we had been married for 8 years, when we finally settled down, I decided to copy what my parents had done and invite foreign students to eat dinner with us.

I signed us up at the Meridian International Center, in Washington, DC.

Most of their visitors were young professionals, not students. I think my Mom had signed up with a university in Dallas, Texas.

All the visitors the Meridian Center sent us were looking to talk to regular Americans, in their own homes.

Again, we met people from all over the world at our dinner table.

Away from Home

One night, I decided I would fix a typical American meal, pot roast with potatoes and gravy.

The young woman from South America at our table that Sunday afternoon began to cry as soon as she sat down to eat.

“Don’t you like beef? I can certainly get you something else quickly,” I tried to soothe her, thinking an omelet or a pot of homemade soup could be rustled up easily.

“No, it’s not that,” she sobbed quietly.

“This is exactly the dinner my Mom makes for us every Sunday. I miss her.”

My grandchildren both learned French before kindergarten.

I’m happy to pass on a love of meeting the world.

When did you first leave the country? Why? Job? Vacation?

Did your parents travel?

Have your grandchildren ever traveled overseas?

To you and sharing a love of the wider world with your grandchildren.

 

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers

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