Newsletter – Summer 2011
Not Your Everyday Cola
My husband and I are pretty low maintenance people. However, there is one area where we are spectacularly high maintenance . . . carbonated beverages. Yes, that’s right. Sodas are serious business around our home. Some of our fizzy issues are:
First: Diet Pepsi is my favorite whereas my husband’s drink of choice is Coke Zero (not “Diet Coke” but Coke Zero).
Second: We like our sodas in plastic bottles, not cans or cups. (I’m a little pickier because some Pepsi’s come in skinnier than normal bottles — I like those best.)
Third: Temperature —the colder the better. Of course, the most perfect temperature is when they are so cold that some icy slush forms at the top. Just doesn’t get better than that. Although I know this probably borders on wacky, we even know which quick shops have the coldest sodas. We have actually been known to leave and go to a different Exxon if the cokes aren’t super cold.
Lastly: I imagine everyone agrees on this— the first swallow is by far the best and worth fighting for. (I promise that the little scar on my husband’s face had nothing to do with an I-want-the-first-swallow scuffle last year…)
Whatever your favorite drink is — sweet tea, orange crush, apple juice, or some other carbonated drink—those are all kind of ‘normal’ to us living here in Memphis. What you might not realize is that drastically different varieties of drinks exist that kids from other countries and cultures love the same way we love our cokes. Here are a few:
- Grass Jelly Drink (I swear I am not making that up.)
- Basil Seed Drink
- Chrysanthemum Tea
- Roasted Coconut Juice
- Dragon Fruit Juice
- Apple Vinegar Drink
- Aloe Vera Drink
- Sugar Cane Juice
- Pearl Soybean Drink with Tapioca Balls and Berries
- White Gourd Drink
We might look at those names and get a little queasy whereas the MNM kids’ mouths would water. But, if you grew up in Vietnam you may have drunk White Gourd Drink everyday — which would have been totally normal.
It is not unusual for refugees and immigrants to be labeled as ‘strange’ because their of diets, customs, or dress. But if we do that, I feel like we are insulting God’s creativity and unconditional love for the WHOLE world and we can miss out on the enjoyment of:
- learning new ideas
- discussing differing opinions
- discovering how others feel and what they are going through
- And realizing how BIG God’s love really is.
Here is a little cultural challenge: Be adventurous. Stop in any little international store and stroll through the dried squid, bizarre noodles and unique fruits and vegetables. Take note of the others shopping and what they are buying. Choose a few canned drinks. Greet a person in the checkout line . Thank the cashier, even if she can’t speak English.
Later settle down in a quiet, comfortable spot. Spend a few minute imagining what it would feel like to be a refugee/immigrant right now in Memphis. . . as you sip on your delicious Grass Jelly Drink…
To read entire newsletter: Newsletter summer 2011 PDF