I have decided something. I have decided that people from other countries are much more giving than I am. I need to work on this.
In 2005, Kerry and I went to Russia to be with Erik Lauritzen at the end of his mission. As we were getting all of the visas, passports, and everything else we would need in place, our travel agent suggested we take gifts with us to give to the Russian people, for they would be giving them to us.
I had no idea what to take. I heard that they love Levi jeans, but I couldn't pack up a suitcase full of them, not knowing the size of anyone.
I tried to think of something "American", and my mind was blank.
Finally, the agent suggested something that the Russian people love that they can't get in Russia -- Lawry's Seasoned Salt and Kool-aid.
She assured me they would be loved by the many people we saw. So, I went to Big Lots, and loaded up my cart with as many as I could find. Then, off we went.
They we were warm and welcoming. And, as we would leave each home, we exchanged our gifts. I gave them salt and Kool-aid. They gave me Russian nesting dolls, hand-carved boxes, handmade lace, tablecloths, crystal bowls, fur hats, etc.
I was mortified!
But, they really did love my gifts. They would open the salt, take a whiff, and just moan. They made the Kool-aid, not even adding sugar, and drank it with gusto! Their version of the drink was using what was left in the bottom of a jam/jelly glass, and adding water to it.
Today I received a beautiful gift, and I am always stymied at what I can do in return.