Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hide in your shell

This weekend I found myself at a place that was . . . unexpected.

The hubby and the kids and I went to my brother’s new house to visit and see how things were coming along with the unpacking. The bonus for us is that Uncle Jeremy’s house came equipped with a swing set. It’s rickety, and actually leaning at least twelve inches to the right, but the kids don’t seem to mind and their little toddler weights haven’t affected the sad, little structure’s stability thus far. But you won’t catch me on the swings—I’m just sayin’!

I’m digressing.

Okay, so we are outside, avoiding the demolition of my brother’s new, non-baby-proofed home, enjoying the thick, balmy air that is likely laced with 100 percent humidity, when my brother’s neighbor invites—no insists, that we join the party across the fence. After a few awkward moments of polite refusal and some heavily accented guilt-tripping, the man manages to wrangle my brood of boys (brother included) over to his wife’s birthday celebration on their lavish patio.

This is how I ended up spending Saturday night at an Authentic Polish Barbeque.

The vibrancy of their dress, the foreign tang of the spices in the air, the weaving of languages . . . it all sort of awakened my senses, made my world a little bit bigger.

Immersed me in a state of culture shock.

Oh, there was some very questionable food, strange homemade spirits forced into our hands by the kindly, eighty-year old Polish man who doted on me for the duration of the party. He not only made the aged cognac himself but watched intently as we sipped the burning liquid out of courtesy. And at one point, the entire population of Polish-American transplants broke out into a native song, raising there glasses to honor their lovely hosts who treated all—even the motley crew of strangers from next door—as family.

Sometimes I am amazed at life’s little oddities. We dig in our heels, fight against the inevitable discomfort of the unknown, but then . . . when we give in and find ourselves someplace completely out of our element, or doing something way beyond our comfort zone, we find it’s (dare I say it) . . . fun.

Yes, it was completely insane. I felt like the whole thing was straight from a movie script. But when I finally let go of my notions of escape, I opened myself up to the possibility of something new. Something great.

How often does our stubbornness rob us of these beautifully rare moments?

We hide away in our routine, in our comforts, and we miss the party going on right next door.

Have you ever had one of these moments? When was the last time you ditched practicality and did something crazy? Are you glad you did?

I’d love to hear your Polish Barbeque experience.