We're always looking for opportunities to interact with people here. I think one of the neatest things is how God continues to bring us to people who are willing to interact with us on a deeper level despite the fact that we are foreigners.
One weekend not long ago, we were invited by a friend to visit them in their family's "country home," where they like to spend most of their summers. They have a child the same age as ours, and they love to play together. Of course, we recognized this invitation as a great opportunity to spend time with nationals. We consider it an act of God whenever someone actually wants to be around us. This was an even bigger deal, as we were invited into their home, something people here just don't normally do. Our entire relationship started when my wife, desperate to find a friend, and friend, walked up to this woman siting on a bench and just started talking to her. It was a great opportunity.
I didn't want to go.
I feel bad that I didn't want to go. Really. How terrible of me to not even be the least bit excited about building a relationship with these nice people. But I felt fake. I have nothing in common with these folks. The husband is twice my age. It felt so forced, so fake.
We drove the hour-long half hour's drive in silent anticipation of that awkward feeling we've felt so many times before. In my head, I was scripting the dialogue that would inevitably take place. How do you like the weather here? How is work? Did you hear about the new movie theater they're building? I wanted to add, "Why did you invite us?" or "What's the point of all this?" I knew I wasn't really going to ask those questions, though, because I probably knew better than they did what prompted them to invite a family of foreigners to spend the day with them.