We've just finished another wonderful evening with our Fijian-Indian neighbours. They're delightful people; we enjoy their company so much.
While the four boys (two of theirs, two of ours) were killing each other in the loungeroom under the supervision of the mums, us two blokes prepared dinner in the kitchen.
With some excellent guidance from my wife, we ended up doing an Indian dish (which was quite different to the Fijian-influenced food our friends make). This one was taken from the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Book 1 (the lamb and spinach curry from p.166 if you're interested - a really nice dish, especially when served with our friends' spicy kiwifruit chutney).
So here I am reflecting back over this evening with a full stomach and a satisfied disposition. Once again I marvel that though our backgrounds are diverse, we seem to have just 'clicked'. Actually, I'm convinced it is the diversity that makes our friendship the richer.
Whether it's chopping vegies and talking with him, or putting up kitchen cabinets, or sharing a beer on the front lawn after work, or spraying his front verge with highly toxic herbicides, there's a real enjoyment in his company - and of our two families together.
We spend a lot of time discussing and quizzing each other about culture, about values, beliefs, convictions, raising kids, making delicious food, living in our street, doing business, making sense of life.
Nothing can replace getting to know people this way. There are no shortcuts to these friendships. How much richer life is when you get to spend time with friends from other cultures!