By: Deanna Shoss
I’m travelling in Paris with my mom this week for her 80th birthday. And, for her birthday, it’s not just accompanying her on her dream to see Paris and making sure she doesn’t trip on the brick sidewalk and break a hip, it’s about accepting her fully and joyfully with her full regalia of predilections and vibrant personality.
And that includes not being embarrassed when she talks to strangers. Whoever they are. Wherever they are. “Mom…they’re calling our table,” as she lingers oogling over the baby in the lobby. “Mom…we’re leaving…” as she lags behind, discovering at the last minute she and the security guard both have Russian heritage.
I had a hearkening with myself just the day before when I promised to use all of my intercultural skills of listening fully, expressing curiosity, embracing “does the difference make a difference,” to really get to know and engage fully in this special time together.
All was going well on our next day outing to the Musee d’Orsay, until we sat at the restaurant on the top floor. She looked at the plate of the young man sitting next to us. He had eaten all of his beef and noodles, but had left a carefully segregated pile of peas gathered neatly on one quarter of his plate.
She looked at the plate. Pointed to the peas, not knowing if he spoke English. “Eat Your Peas!” she said.
I cringed and one of those awkward apologetic smiles spread across my face, but I refrained from intervening, waiting for the worst.
And how did our neighbor react?
Did he say, “is that your mother? How embarrassing!”
Did he say, “hey, crazy lady, leave me alone"?
Did he stand up and leave, placing a curse on us for the rest of the trip?
No…he simply ate his peas. Every single one of them!
And then it was me who couldn't resist, “Did you just eat your peas because my mom told you to?”
And that’s how we befriended the young couple from Singapore who thought we were “brilliant.” And how we took the picture above, of my mom and the young man to remember this moment. His girlfriend took the same photo.
Who doesn’t want to remember the funny story of the universal mom who got you to eat your peas. After all, you kind of know you're supposed to. “Give peas a chance.”
*Reproduced with permission from Intercultural Talk*
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DEANNA SHOSS - GENERATIONS
Deanna Shoss is founder and president of Intercultural Talk, Inc. a marketing, social-media and intercultural communications firm in Chicago, IL. Learn more on her website. http://www.interculturaltalk.com.
By Susan "Honey" Good
I know my title sounds a bit dismal and maybe even unappreciative. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is just hard for me to leave “home.”
I am so content living in my beautiful Chicago in my apartment in the sky with my husband, Sheldon Good, and my delicious pooch, Orchid. I am a homebody and yet, when I venture out, which I often do, I am a city woman who revels in the delight about everything in Chicago.
By Susan "Honey" Good
So many people think that their minds are responsible for decision making. But before you “makeup your mind,” are you aware of the importance of listening to your heart?
Your heart is your alter ego, your secondary or alternative personality, and, if you let her, she can also be your trusted friend. If you listen to your heart’s messages, your path through life will be less bumpy. It is a truism that the mysteries of the heart send our mind our true feelings. Your first goal is ‘to listen to the beat.’
Every child wants to have friends and be part of ‘a group.’
With our guiding principles we should play a role in educating our Grands on the principles of friendship, so they can choose the right friends and groups and avoid the fickle, fake, back stabbers and poor role models.
Teaching Grandchildren, through story telling, is my manner of imparting a message. I choose to tell my Olive tree story by using the tree as a symbol and guide of what characteristics to look for a group.
The Olive Tree Story
I remembered an incident in my life after reading my writer friend, Barbara Ballinger’s story, "What’s in a name" here. Her story sparked a personal memory dating back twenty-six years ago.
After attending a Friday night Sabbath service, in the oldest synagogue in Europe, my intoxicating and over the top romance with Sheldon Good almost came to an end. It was over a name.
From the moment I met Sheldon Good for the first time, I was hooked. As I write this story I envision his silhouette twenty-six years later. I see him getting out of his car in a grey suit, blue shirt, and beautiful tie. I was hooked before we spoke! He was hooked, too, seeing me walk out the revolving door of my parent’s condo building in a white silk shirt, black and white hounds tooth jacket and pleated black shirt and of course, darlings, red lipstick and high heeled shoes!
We’ve been facing a dilemma of late. How do we refer to the men we date when out in public and we want to introduce them?
US: Oh hi, Mrs. Wagner, this is my boyfriend, Bob. (At which point, she looks at us incredulously because he’s not a boy – in his 60s in Barbara’s case, or in his 70s, as in Margaret’s. And he’s certainly more than a friend.)
It was so easy when we were younger… but wasn’t everything? Long before we turned 50, he was a boyfriend and before that a date. Now that we are skipping down the path of senior citizenship or have arrived, the term sounds so teenager-ish, like trying to wear our skirts too short or our hair too long.
’ve always thought of myself as one one of those 'full speed ahead’ sort of people. But, of late, I’ve noticed that I’m holding back just a bit. When I meet new people and they reach out to me to stay in touch or plan another meeting I find myself internally re-coiling, just a bit. What’s that about? I certainly have more time than I used to have when I was working in the real world. What is making me cautious or stand-offish? Perhaps I’m just getting selfish with my time.
I’ve never been big on talking to strangers. I can fly across the country and never speak to the person next to me. But these new feelings of closing in are even more isolating than that. I’m guarding myself. From what, I’m unsure but it does feel like I’m constructing a wall.
By: Deanna Shoss
Running errands this morning I heard about the looming baguette shortage in France and it reminded me that sometimes it’s okay to grow up and turn into your mother.