Tag Archives: Long Island

Say “Yes” First

“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.