The Kitchen Table

My favorite event of the week happened this Saturday night. I just finished eating dinner when Hazel, an older girl at CICRN, asked if Hannah, a girl on my team, and I wanted to come into the kitchen with her and make something. Side note: One of the rules here is to not invade on the cooks’ space. The kitchen is usually off limits, but the cook had left for the night and I was thrilled with the opportunity to enter unmarked territory. Hannah is the translator of the group; so I could communicate through her to understand what I was suppose to be doing. However, about five minutes in Hannah had to leave because she was feeling sick. CAN WE SAY AWKWARD? Casually chopping some potato looking thing that is non existent in America and listening to five Spanish speaking people have a full out conversation around me. Not my idea of a relaxing Saturday night.


Then something magical happened. Someone brought leftover icing and set it on the table in front of us. We licked the dish clean, and smeared some of the blue and pink frosting on each other’s faces. It took our love for icing to show me that just because we speak different languages, doesn’t mean that we do not like the same things (obviously EVERYONE likes icing, dancing, and Justin Bieber). So then I just went for it. I just began to talk and act and smize (talk with my eyes) like never before.


Hazel is eighteen and is working on learning English. Unfortunately we are almost at the same level of learning each other’s language (not far at all). We quickly began to read each other’s eyes and body language. While I was shredding “the unknown” I understood what was being said. I have no clue how it was possible. While I have moved a little further then “Hola” it is only on to “adios”, but while I was shredding “the unknown” I actually got to know Hazel and her sister Melina. We whispered secrets in the blazing hot kitchen. They asked about my family, and they told me about their crushes. We talked about our hopes for the future, and what we want to do with our lives. Also we bonded on having to use towels to wipe of the disgusting amount of sweat that was pouring from our bodies. How in the world did all of that happen? We may have missed a few words, but we just jumped in and went with it. We made homemade honey, and served our “unknown dessert” to all the kids for a movie night (I have no clue what it was… maybe a mix between a hash brown with honey and a funnel cake).


This week I understood why I am here for more then a normal one-week mission trip. The benefit to a longer mission trip is you actually get to know the people you are serving. I know that Hazel is the oldest and is always watching out for the younger kids. I know that Hazel wakes up early to do her two sisters hair for school. I know that Hazel does nails to make a small profit for herself. I also know that some days are hard for Hazel. I have seen Hazel cry and get irritated when the kids won’t sit still in church. I thought I knew about always being around kids, but Hazel never gets a break. It is so cool that in just two weeks I know all of this about Hazel and I get to have an actual relationship with her. She is such a blessing. She is teaching me to do laundry, she is (attempting) to teach me to dance, she is helping me learn Spanish, and she is teaching me so much about life in general. When we finished serving the kids and we cleaned up the kitchen we looked at each other at the same time we said in two different languages “what is said in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen”, and that’s my favorite thing about Hazel.. that chica is REAL.


Ever since our night in the kitchen I have felt like one of the sisters. At church she pulled me around introducing me to her friends. She threw the sweetest baby in my hand and continued pulling me around. Side note: The bus had to wait on me because it took me so long to find the babies mother because when you hold a cute baby and continuously ask “who’s child is this?” it phases no one. Hazel has accepted me completely for who I am. Even though I have no rhythm and I speak ten Spanish words she still goes out of her way to show me love.

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