Monday, April 8, 2013

Accepting Hospitality

ALEM is a pretty tight knit community.  Most of the team rides to and from work together, comida is eaten as a group, and there are occasional group outings that are always really fun.  It's also common for someone to bring or buy snacks and share with everyone.  Today, for example, Raul brought a package of donuts and a 2 liter of coca cola to share with everyone.  I caught myself this afternoon trying to figure out how I can reciprocate, what type of snack I can bring to share with everyone.
Now, I don't think it's a bad thing to want to share with my coworkers.  Rather it was the mindset I went into it with.  Thinking that I have to contribute something too, in order to be more a part of the team and not always on the receiving end. 
Receiving hospitality.  Why is that so difficult?  Why can't I just gratefully accept my cold glass of coke on a hot afternoon, rather than worrying about how I can pay someone back? 
It is one of the more difficult parts of my YAGM year.  Recognizing that accepting the hospitality of my host community is one of the best ways to truly become a part of this community, while also recognizing that my cultural upbringing in the U.S. has taught me to not be a bother when I'm a guest, to be self-sufficient.  But that doesn't work here.  It isolates me.  And I don't want to isolate myself here.

Special thanks to the Buller family, who financially sponsored this past week in memory of their daughter Sarah.  Happy 23rd Birthday Sarah!