10/21/2014

The Comforts of Home With Our International Student

It's been an entire month since I closed a chapter in my life and started a new one.

Just as I was saying Goodbye to my TV career, there was a young man thousands of miles away packing up to move across the world and follow his dream of studying in America.

He was embarking on a new chapter, too. And apparently, our paths were meant to cross.

Meet Kazeem.
The Comforts of Home With Our International Student
Kazeem is from Nigeria.

His family still lives there. But technically, he's a big part of our family, too.
The Comforts of Home With Our International Student
We met him shortly after he moved to the U.S. when we signed up to be a host family at the local college.

Kazeem is a pre-med student, and we're confident he'll make a great cardiologist someday. Not only is he smart, he is humble. He is kind. And he is so appreciative.

For the past few months, we've welcomed Kazeem into our home.
The Comforts of Home With Our International Student
We wanted to surprise him with a taste of home, so Chris, Olivia and I road-tripped to an African grocery store about two hours away and picked up some of this:
The Comforts of Home With Our International Student
And this:
The Comforts of Home With Our International Student
Plus a few other ingredients...
The Comforts of Home With Our International Student
When we brought him to our house and he saw these familiar touches from his home in Africa, I don't think his smile left his face.

"Home is calling!" he said. And then he got to cooking.
The Comforts of Home With Our International Student
Kazeem spent almost two hours in our kitchen preparing Obe ila okro and FuFu. 
The Comforts of Home With Our International Student
It's a red pepper soup with okra and beef. 

You dip the FuFu (similar to instant mashed potatoes) in the soup to eat it. No silverware. Just your hands.

Kazeem told us stories about his grandmother teaching him how to cook, and how proud his mom would be of the meal he made.

"I am satisfied!" he said with a big smile on his face. We were, too.

It was meal that brought our family together. But more importantly, it was a familiar taste of home for him. And I've realized that while we are different -- while our families and traditions and meals are unique -- we're also so alike in that we all crave and need the comforts from home.

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