Of course sharing of our time and helping our new friends with basic necessities and toys for the children is what this annual event of giving and sharing is expected to be, but there is more. The cultural exchanges, smiles and camaraderie are just as important. When offered some tea by the Iraqi family we visited last Saturday, we were touched that they wished to host us as friends with a cup of tea. We were pleasantly surprised by a hint of something different in the tea, and inquired about it. We were shown the Arabic Ceylon tea packaging, but we knew it was something more as we have that particular tea at home. When I inquired further that there was something else in the tea, the wife nodded and ran back into the kitchen. She returned with green cardamom seeds and explained that she crushed these and placed them in the teapot to steep with the tea. It is absolutely delicious, and something which we learned from our new Iraqi friends.
Tonight, at home, we are enjoying the same tea with cardamom, and thinking of our cultural exchange and a wonderful new way of having tea!