belonging · childhood · immigrant · inclusion · outsider

Reminders

I am constantly surprised when I observe the moment when something clicks and a sense of belonging follows. Clients I train for jobs in the culinary industry come from all over the globe; from the good ole US of A to countries like Morocco, Ethiopia, India, China, Honduras, Mexico, and the list goes on and on and on. Anyway, as part of the curriculum, they learn how to make apple pie. For many, this is a very American dessert. The foreign-born women may have heard of it, but haven’t made it or had the opportunity to taste it. These women get so excited about experiencing something that makes them feel included. It just doesn’t get old for me to see. I think that when I see this happen, I’m reminded over and over how difficult it was for me growing up. At school, no one looked like me or celebrated the same holidays as me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I felt like an outsider. It seemed like I couldn’t find anyone who shared my experiences with me. I can recall, after wearing our parents down for years, we finally got to have a Thanksgiving turkey. It probably wasn’t what others may expected to find at the table and I believe my mom used Indian spices and she didn’t quite know what to do with the bird. I’m sure it was dry and not what it was supposed to be, but it felt like being part of a larger society. It felt normal and I felt a keen sense of temporarily “belonging.”We, as a society and as individuals, make some things a lot more complicated than it has to be. Imagine a world brought together by simple activities such as baking apple pie. What a wonderful world it would be.

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