Yall know I'm kuntry so I welcomed them to the neighborhood when they moved in. Cool.
I invited them to dinner once and the wife said she'd check with her husband and let me know. Later...the husband came over and said they couldn't make it.
Last week the wife rang the doorbell with a tray of FABULOUS looking food. She started off by saying she wanted to tell me something.
She stated that she and her husband didn't know how to tell us that they only eat Kosher-ish food and that's why they couldn't come to dinner. I said...no problem and that I understood.
She said she brought the food over as a way of thanking us for inviting them over and hoped we enjoyed it.
Did I mention they are from Pakistan? So I know they aren't Kosher and they are really Halal but probably didn't want to SAY Halal thinking we wouldn't know what that was and that we would probably be more familiar with Kosher without needing further explanation.
I OVERstand that.
Now...where I'm from you don't return empty containers and her containers were extremely nice. I would have usually cooked something Creole and shared or baked a cake or given a bottle of wine or something but...knowing they had certain restrictions...I didn't want to be insulting to their culture without meaning to by being simply ignorant of their customs.
So I asked Mr. Google and read up more on Halal which was pretty intense and interesting. I realized I wouldn't be able to get them something Halal REALLY quickly. LOL! I then read that a bottle of wine would have been a MAJOR no-no.
Next I found out that whatever I gave them should be given with either BOTH hands or just with my RIGHT hand and that if it was wrapped the wrapping paper should be red or green but NEVER white because white symbolizes death in their culture.
I still didn't know what to give them and it was going on Day 4 from the food drop so I was getting "KUNTRY WORRIED" about it. So...I ended up asking one of my friends who is Iranian-American and she said to get them a nice pastry because pastry isn't subjected to Halal rules.
And that's just what I bought from Whole Foods. A nice fruit tart.
Now here is the funny part.
At least...TO ME.
The husband came to the door and I handed him the package with my right hand and then I went back home proud of myself.
Later that day we had a conversation:
Wife: You didn't have to give us anything!
Me: I'm from the South...we never return an empty container.
Husband (to wife with HUGE CHEESE EATING GRIN): I TOLD YOU! See! She's Southern! That's how they do!
Wife: (delighted to learn something) OH! How nice!
Me (to husband): Did you notice I gave it to you with my right hand?
Husband: YES! I DID!
Me: And I now know after researching Halal and gift giving customs of your culture that should I ever give you a gift it should be wrapped in green or red paper and never in white!
The wife looked sooooooooooooooooo overjoyed that I even KNEW the word Halal and the husband was cheesing so hard I thought he was gonna topple over. LOL!
In a world where so much ridiculousness goes on because folks are too arrogant to consider other cultures can exist without it being a threat to THEIR culture...I try to go out of my way to be thoughtful. My neighbors should feel comfortable enough in their own neighborhood to be real with their culture and not believe the people next door to them should feel some kinda way about the fact they are practicing Muslims.
They are good people and should be treated accordingly. They learned something about OUR customs...we learned something about THEIR customs and I do believe we are all the better for it.
Granted there is a lot we don't know about their culture but at least they know we're open TO learning out of respect for them as PEOPLE. Don't believe all the ish the media is shoving down our throats regarding people of different skin colors and cultures mostly having prejudices against each other. I truly believe there are more of US than there are of THEM.
Did YOU learn something from our experience? Would YOU have researched a proper "gift?"