After another busy day of 6:00 AM cross country practice for my girls (one middle schooler, one daughter, and one exchange student), a full day of school (depending on which girl, it was double full because of all the brain work translating into Chinese or Korean) and then another after school run for the high schoolers, I picked up the girls to head home for dinner. Since they have only been here for 3 weeks, we do still have some “new” things to make for them. And, little did we know the simplicity of Tacos would be such a big score!
After dealing with the over excited flavor pouring our of the ranch dressing bottles, the avocado chunks, and the actual folding of the soft taco, they really liked them. With minor modifications, they both had a second taco that disappeared nearly as quickly as the first. Although we had more soft tacos, they chose to make LOTS of little mini spoon tacos. By this I mean, they scooped out a little bit of meat, put some lettuce on their plates, and then sprinkled some cheese on it prior to scooping it onto their spoon. (They have adapted to knife and spoon much better than I would have adapted to chopsticks.) It was somewhere during there 4 or 5 spoon taco where I asked, “What year this is?” (The implication was in the Chinese cycle.)
With some thinking, she recalled, “It is the year of the horse.”
After responding to each of our requests for what animal our birth year was assigned, She gave an abbreviated story about how the order of the 12 animals that formed the Chinese Zodiac. She didn’t seem very clear on a good bit of the story (She could not recall all 12 animals in order off the top of her head. Our Korean student tried to help recite them in Chinese, but was scolded by our Chinese student as she said, “That is not Chinese.”) She only recalled the first 5 or 6 animals that crossed the finish line. And, the rat won because he was on the oxes back.
Besides being educated in the Chinese Zodiac, I did my PeeWee Herman laugh. Meal times are so much fun. Whether it is tacos or Korean BBQ or just grilled vegetables, all of the teenagers are wonderful to engage with us and contribute so well to the conversation. They don’t finish eating and think, “If I don’t talk, I can be done more quickly.” They recognize what knowledge can be transferred in post-dinner conversations. They are well-mannered enough where they will not jump up without being excused. So, I don’t care if it is 2014, the year of the Horse, or the Year of the Taco, it is a great year to share our culture and to absorb one of the many other cultures that make this world so amazing.