Thursday, April 12, 2012

The little things

I made my hosts some banana bread last night.

I ended up at home a couple hours before they were supposed to arrive, saw some aging bananas, and jumped into action.

It meant taking a gamble - first, that they wouldn't mind the intrusion on their pantry, and second, that they might like it!

They got home just in time, we made coffee (at 10:30 p.m.? Sure, why not!), and sat down to snack and chat about the day. Rolf and Beatrice each had a couple of pieces, so I think they at least didn't find it totally disgusting. I will admit, it was a little gooier than I prefer to make.

The bread wasn't the big success I was hoping it would have been. But I am trying. Trying to give back - just a little bit more. The sheer amount of generosity from which we have benefitted on this trip still hasn't properly registered in my mind. It is incredible. For each of us to have accomodation in ten cities, and transportation to and from three or four daily appointments, plus meals planned and arranged every day - plus dozens of other behind-the-scenes arrangements to which I am sure we are mostly ignorant - is a massive undertaking.

We are each so lucky to be a part of this Rotary International Group Study Exchange, and I expect it has already changed each of us a little bit. As Adam mentioned, I think Jussi in Lapua put it best when he said to "open your heart, and the rest will follow."

We are doing our best to do the same, and I think if any of us didn't claim it before, we have each gained a stronger appreciation for putting faith and trust in people, opening our hearts and minds, and being as giving as possible - without any expectation of return.

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