Monday, September 11, 2006
Opposites and Foo Yong Hai
Yesterday M and I went to the Aquazoo in Düsseldorf with Sheila and her fiancé. It was fun, because even though we've been friends for, probably, six years now, this was the first time the four of us went somewhere together. We usually just hang out and play games or watch movies together.
While driving over there Sheila and I checked out bridal gowns in bridal magazines (Sheila is getting married in June), which was interesting. If you don't know Sheila, check out her log. It tells you a lot about her style and who she is. Her style and mine are very different.
We've had lots of discussions about our friendship and how it's funny that, even though we are very different, we really like one another. And we also do have a lot in common.
Sheila's parents are both from Indonesia so she was raised in a different culture than I was, even though she was born in the Netherlands and is also very Dutch. Even after those six years of friendship we sometimes find something that is so totally different that it's funny we didn't notice that before. Looking back at that, it always raises a situation that I find very uncomfortable at the moment it happens. But then we talk about it and it ends up being funny.
For instance, yesterday I asked her for a recipe for Foo Yong Hai. She told me that she wasn't going to share it. I was surprised, because I've shared recipes (and other things) with her before, and vice versa, and it's never been a problem. But yesterday she was really firm in her not sharing the recipe. She explained to me that in the Indonesian culture recipes are handed down generation to generation, and it's not done to share it with others outside the family. I thought that was funny because in my family we also have recipes like that (like grandma's apple pie and mom's purple cabbage) but anybody who likes them can have them. But apparently in their culture food is so important that you just don't do that.
It took me a while to understand the whole thing. I was very surprised and at first a little shocked. She was suprised by the way I reacted. I thought: "why won't she give me the recipe? We're such good friends! Did I just totally insult her?" But then she explained why it was so important to her to keep the recipe to herself. Thank goodness she said she wasn't insulted and did offer to make the dish for me whenever I want to eat it. And in the mean time, I'll just try fixing something like Foo Yong Hai with the ready made spice mixes offered by our good friend Mr.Conimex!
This story reminded me that the differences between us are one of the things that make our friendship special. Sheila teaches me lots of things that I never realised. And it's good to have someone close to you who reminds you every once in a while that there are lots of different perspectives to lots of different things.