“I am not a terrorist” were the first words to us out of Mr. Si’s mouth.  Words for which I was thankful, considering we were standing right outside an indoor playground watching our kids play.  But with those warm and engaging words my little family struck up a conversation and later a friendship with Si and his wife, who was always darned in head to toe black.  This friendship later led us on a two-hour drive up into the mountains to stay the weekend with Mr. Si and his family.

We were fairly new in the country, at this point, and had a very limited vocabulary.  I remember lots of smiling and nodding that weekend.  And confusion.  Lots of confusion.

We were sitting outside and eating a few fishy flavored crackers around a fire when an elderly woman stumbled up on our small friendly gathering.  Mr. Si jumped up and proclaimed, “This is my grandma!” Finally, something I understood.  So, my husband and I stood up to greet Grandma with the traditional handshake-hand-to-the-heart when Grandma did the most surprising thing. She lifted up my shirt to expose my round white belly (I forgot to mention I was 6 months pregnant at the time).  And if that wasn’t strange enough, she then proceeded to lick her thumb and stick it, dripping wet, square into my belly button.  After a little chant (later we were told it was a “blessing”), she walks away never to be seen again. My husband’s eyes were as big as saucers and I was in a state of shock.  How does one even respond to an experience like that?  Well, we just sat down and did a little more smiling and nodding while I secretely prayed that I would soon forget the feeling of the strange lady’s wet thumb in my belly button.

Later that night, as I lay awake in a strange house staring at the ceiling, I wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into.  I wondered if I would even wake in the morning or if Mr. Si had another surprise for us that night. But I did wake. I survived to tell the tale.  And now I know to always hold my shirt down when meeting grandmothers (especially when pregnant).

What is the wackiest experience you have had overseas?  Please share and lets laugh together!



Photo Credit: amberlynnlane via Compfight cc