An Irish Blessing

Irish BlessingI am 15% Irish – a higher percentage than anyone else in my family, according to our Ancestry DNA results.

I like thinking of myself as Irish: feisty, fiery, opinionated and bold; loyal, musically gifted and a woman of strong convictions. I even have natural streaks of red in my otherwise chestnut-colored hair.

When I was but a wee lass, my da was in a barbershop quartet. I have many a fond memory of him singing around the house with the lads, his deep bass resonating through the corridors of our front entryway. Their group’s lead used to get the giggles anytime they tried to whistle a tune all the way through, and that always made me laugh, but some of my favorite memories are of sitting quietly up on the balcony outside of my bedroom and listening to them sing The Irish Blessing.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, y’all. May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Authentically Aurora

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“Princess Almond Eyes” the Stoic

It’s a wonder I don’t get stopped by airport security more often, because apparently all Middle Eastern men take one look at me and assume that I, too, am from the Middle East. Either that or, “You look like you are from my country” is the most popular pick up line from that region of the world.

Col MustardThree weeks ago, it was the Lebanese man by the milk cartons in the grocery store. Ten minutes ago, it was an Iranian man by the elevators in my office building. Who will it be next week – Colonel Mustafa with the candlestick in the library?

I get it, people. I have almond eyes and a long, regal nose. But all my ancestry points to Germany and Great Britain, not India (yes, I get that one, too).

I asked the Iranian man if it was my nose that made him think I was from his country (my schnoz is usually the culprit). Surprisingly, he said it was my eyes coupled with my voice. When he’d held the door open for me and I had thanked him, he said that my voice was “low, flat and even”.

Whatever, dude. That’s not my inner Iranian. It’s my INTJ stoicism. Genetically, I may be European, but socially, I’m all Vulcan.

Authentically Aurora

The OJ Observer

Mediterranean faces

Ridiculously attractive through I am, even I have a hard time understanding how in the world I get hit on everywhere I go, including places like the gas station and grocery store. Some days, like yesterday, I’m not sure if it’s a blessing or a curse.

I went grocery shopping after work last night to pick up some ingredients for sugar cookies. I planned to bake some as a surprise for a friend who is a new mom. While picking out what flavor of Greek yogurt I want to eat for breakfast every morning next week, I felt someone watching me. I glanced behind me and saw a man in a white dress shirt and black slacks observing me from his position near the orange juice.

I moved on to the milk section of the store and, when I turned around to put my selected carton in my grocery cart, I bumped into someone. “Excuse me,” I said, looking up. It was the OJ Observer. I smiled politely and continued on my way.

After picking out my chosen brand of butter, I saw the man start to approach me. I figured he must be the store manager or something, so I prepared to tell him that yes, I was finding everything that I needed (it’s true; their chocolate banana yogurt is stupendous). Instead, when he opened his mouth, the words that came out were, “Are you Middle Eastern?”

I get that a lot. I’m actually almost full-blooded German, but when I was in Italy, all the locals thought I was Italian. In Greece, everyone came up to me and started speaking Greek, thinking that I was the translator for my group of fellow Americans. I swear, it’s the nose. I’ve got a honker of a nose.

Based on his accent and dark features, the OJ Observer was clearly Middle Eastern himself, so I wasn’t surprised when he told me, “I’m Lebanese. You look like you are from my country.” He then proceeded to ask if we could “be friends.” Friends… riiiight.

I tilted my head to the side and said coyly, “Could I ask you a personal question? What religion would you consider yourself?”

Instead of answering, he smiled and asked me, “What religion do you consider yourself?” Hm, smarter than I gave him credit for.

After I told him that I was a Christian, he told me, “My parents are Muslim, but I am an atheist.”

I explained that we could be friends, but I only date fellow Christians. His tone instantly changed from sweet and obliging to aggressive and angry. “You don’t even know me. Why would you already decide not to date me, just because I am an atheist?!”

I gently told him that everything I do in this life, I try to do to bring God glory. “I will love God more than I love my husband, and I believe that even my marriage is intended to equip me to better serve God than I could in singleness, so it’s important that my husband shares that vision.”

The OJ Observer looked curious and thoughtful. “You seem very passionate about your faith. I would like to hear more about this God you serve.”

I’m doubtful that he really wants to hear more about Jesus, but I agreed to meet him at a public, well-lit coffee shop next week to talk about “this God [I] serve.” An opportunity to share my faith came up, so I’m taking it. But I’m also asking my parents for a DNA test this Christmas.

Authentically Aurora