“Take a ________ for the road,” he said. He was gesturing at a pile of fruit, and speaking to me in Arabic.
I had been studying some basic Arabic for months, in anticipation of moving to the Middle East, but I still wasn’t quite sure what he was offering– apple? avocado? There were also bunches of bananas, but sadly I am allergic to those, so I hoped that wasn’t it. Somewhere between his third and fourth offers, I accepted.
I did not know what I was saying yes to.
This weekend, a Chinese youth group and a fellowship in Long Island welcomed me to tell part of my story. I told them the part about going overseas right after college graduation, before I knew what I was saying yes to. I had been on short-term trips to Spanish-speaking areas, had read lots and lots of books, and knew some people who had done international work. So I said yes, got on the plane, and soon figured out that much of what I’d anticipated/expected was not reality.
Some of the realities were incredibly sweet; others very difficult to swallow. But I learned that even if I can’t predict all that will happen, “yes” is sometimes still the right answer.
I got a banana. Couldn’t eat it, but a friend really enjoyed it. And now I know the word for “banana” in Arabic.