In celebration of my sister's birthday, we went for an early dinner at her favorite hibachi restaurant. It was the 4 of us, my little cousins, aunts, & my sister's boyfriend.
This was my first time meeting this young man, although I've heard about him for a while now. In my mind, we were already friends; seeing each other visually was just the last puzzle piece.
We tried to joke with the dude a little...get him to relax. He's nice enough and I could see the warmnesss between he and my sister. However, we were strangers. I was new to his world and he had to put his feelers about there. Fair enough.
We all gathered around the hibachi grill, ready for some firery fun. We all picked up our menus. Sis's boyfriend read it and asked a few questions; this was his first hibachi experience. We all tried to assure him of what would happen- let him know that it's going to be good no matter what.
He was unsure.
And that's ok.
What a wonderful lesson and reminder that we all have to step out of our comfort zones sometimes. What seemed like a simple dinner celebration exposed differences in culture- even among people of the same ethnic group (oooohhhh, we're not all the same- it's true!!!)- and class. It also reminded me of similar situations in which I felt uncomfortable, but looked to others for guidance, assurance, or just a little info to help me navigate the new experiences.
Whether it's a big deal like a new city, community, or romantic interest; or a small deal like a hibachi dinner, at some point you will face a new experience. It may be minor, like ginger or white sauce....or it could be big, like a career change or dating beyond your culture.
Be open. Ask questions. Listen for the answers. Most of all, don't forget to try the good stuff. It may be scary or unfamiliar....but it's worth a try.