I first ate a Ramen Noodle with my Mammaw Ruth. It was love at first slurp. I stayed with her a lot that summer as my parents both worked and Ramen was a treat for lunch. She had just purchased an appliance that had gained popularity in kitchens across the U.S. We were all convinced that staring into the glass would give you eyeball cancer.
The microwave made the enjoyment of Ramen quick and delicious. Those days were some of the best of my life.
That summer of bike rides, snuggling puppies, ice cream and Ramen with Mammaw passed quickly, and Ramen ceased being a novelty as I grew older. There were other things to explore, like pizza rolls and Hot Pockets...
Until I went off to college at age seventeen and would rapidly eat up every point on my meal card by mid-semester. It was at this time that I rediscovered the wonder of Ramen. A block of Ramen was 18¢. Combined with a little shredded cheese, an egg thrown in for protein, and a diced up jalapeño pepper, I had a tasty bowl that filled the stomach. Ramen was my staple diet for the 2nd half of each semester for four years.
Again, I found Ramen during an incredible time of my life. My college years were the first time I began to love learning, and started figuring out what life was about. Those days were difficult, but they were also filled with friends, laughter, and some of the best memories I've ever had.
And then life happened and we all get much more sophisticated. Ramen again fell to the background as I worked for a grocer and became trained in gourmet cooking and tried to keep up with my fabulous wife who has a natural knack for creating great meals. Ramen was forgotten.
Fast forward about 15 years to a night at the house of a friend. Kayci asked me if I wanted to share some noodles with him. I shrugged and said, "yeah sure." To my amusement he went to the garage and carried back a shoe-size block of Asian Ramen. He dropped it into a pot of boiling water, added hot peppers, dehydrated mushrooms, and it was a delicious mixture of spice, memories of old, and a new shared experience. Once again, Ramen was a component of one of the best times of life.
I do miss seeing my friend. Our families were together every Friday night. Of all the things we left behind, that companionship is what I miss the most.
January is a tough month for missionaries. Funding is always tight. In addition to this I miscalculated our cut-off at the end of December and $1,200.00 that we were expecting this month will not arrive until the first week of February. It isn't a crisis, but it did cause us to reshape our January budget.
And so... I am re-united with Ramen. And once again, Ramen does not disappoint. This time it is a Guatemalan brand, and if you add the spice packet, be prepared to sweat and snot. I like it with a fresh avocado sliced into the mix. And again... Ramen is a side item of an incredible time of our life.
Our mission has taken real focus and direction, our kids are doing great at school, and our souls feel at rest with the work and challenges of each day. Life is busy, life is full.
And Ramen is once again filling my belly.