Tuesday, November 30, 2010

take that, rewind it back

two thursdays ago, we had our immigration stories meal with friends,
also known as our pre-thanksgiving meal.
(i wrote about it last year too)
i said it last year and i'll say it again, there is something rare and wonderful about sitting down for a meal with friends and delving deeper into each others stories. i think that in the old days (whenever that was), people often stayed in the same place for a long time. generations were born, lived, and died on the same soil, and so over time you didn't have to tell each other your stories because those stories were already known and experienced by the community around you. it doesn't usually work like that anymore. i probably live in a place that is the apex of transiency-people come and go around here. so to sit and talk for a few hours about snippets from our past is a gift.
chris gets the turkey ready for mass consumption.
(how kendra (chris' wife) always makes the very best meat/poultry despite being a vegetarian is a mystery to me. but seriously. her turkey was -as usual- so good.)
getting ready to dive in to food and stories...
ruby got to come along to hang out with us, 
even though it was past m's bedtime so she stayed home with grandma.
feeding frenzy, or at least a heavily laden plate, begins.
at this point the ratio is lots of food to less talk.
you have to have at least one posed picture. right?
connie & i getting ready to feast
connie and her fiance peter made steamed fish.
since the first thanksgiving probably rocked a healthy amount of creatures of the sea 
(or creek or other body of water), we were only trying to be authentic.
gratuitous turkey shot
even more importantly, a gratuitous stuffing shot.
yum, my mom's recipe-so delicious. 
(to be honest, i need no other thanksgiving item besides this stuffing)
once the meal was consumed we settled in to hear our stories of journey and history and place: how our ancestral families had come to america, how our immediate families had come to oakland, how we had come to be a part of this community of friends meeting on thursdays. i was sitting around a table with friends- most of whom i have known for years- and i learned something new about each one of them.

this year i think i was most struck how the many of the moments that had the most impact on our lives were small ones. it seemed like the trajectory of our lives weren't determined most often by a large and momentous occasion, but by the adding up of little decisions in our own lives or in the lives of others.

i shared about my dad's side of the family, and brought an old photograph along. it was bittersweet to think of this history i have- so many broken relationships, truths and promises in my lineage, and yet so much goodness has come despite from these moral and human failings. and that's what life is, isn't it- a jumble of brokenness and beauty, insignificant moments and forgettable days that end up changing everything.

in all, a reminder to linger over dinner longer, to ask those who are older and wiser about who you are and where you come from- even if you don't like the answer, and to tell our stories to each other.

(p.s. sorry the picture quality is so crappy. i accidentally uploaded a low resolution version.)


  1. i am reminded how much i appreciate that life's narrative is made up of all the itty bitty details instead of being defined by big boisterous moments.

  2. a. did you bring the ruff towels you stole from the hotel in germany to explain your family heritage? and 2. when are we having bake day. i want to have some deep talks too. ps please note the 'ruby face' in these photos as well. deer in the headlights.

  3. dang it! i meant to. instead i brought some martin luther costumes to recreate how we'd dress up for reformation day.

    my poor daughter-she will hate me someday.


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