Autumn Treasures

There are days– or weeks –as a mom of 3 (or right-now 4) young children where I feel like my life has become routine and a bit stagnant.  (Not boring!  Ever!  Just routine).

Earlier this week I got a text from a seventh- grade friend, Manae.  Her family has been ministry partners of ours over the last five years in Sanda, and I’ve always enjoyed her.  (Plus I think related to her as we are both the second of fourth children!)  We texted back and forth a bit, and then I asked if she would like to go for cake this weekend. We did today.  I had about a 2 hour window between Eric’s commitments when he could watch the kids.

I went and picked her up, wondering if I would know what on earth to talk about with a seventh grader.  It’s been a LONG time since I was that age… We drove to a country cake shop somewhat in the middle of nowhere called “Alice’s.”  It was surrounded by quaint little garden spots, carved rocks and fountains.

They only make two kinds of cake each day.  Today’s specials were — fig tart and chestnut cake.  Ugh.  Neither of my two favorites.  We both went for the chestnut cake.

I have to say that chestnuts are one of those food obsessions in fall here that I just have never understood.  They always taste dry and bland, but Japanese LOVE LOVE chestnuts in all forms and ways.  So, I thought I’d give it one last shot.

And discovered a new treasure — this chestnut cake was divine.

photo_2The chestnut cake, the ripe persimmon served with it, the autumnal skies beyond the large glass windows made it a perfect fall event.

Earl Kreps, a speaker who came to our Asian Access retreat two years ago, talked about a concept called Reverse Mentoring.  Older peers can learn from younger peers.  As we sat there, I loved entering into the life of a seventh grader.  Manae began to share more about what her life is like. (Did you know:  more than half of her class has their own cell phone –but not Manae!;  everyone in seventh grade joins a club — she is on the  tennis team, and she has practice EVERY day until 6 pm plus half days on Saturday and Sunday;  she is not allowed to bike to school so she walks home in the dark on a country road every evening at 6 pm!)

During our time I felt like, despite the 30-some years difference, that I was having cake and coffee with a friend.  I hope we can do it again soon.  I have a lot to learn.  And maybe next time I’ll venture out and try and the fig tart…

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