In this #taxichat, Laini and I reminisce about birthday parties we used to throw for Lotus’ friends. In chapter five of The Spare Room, I introduce Lotus, a teenager who grew up living in a brothel. This tenacious-passionate-obscenely rude-tender hearted girl lived with us for about six months… six of the most challenging months of my life. They were also six of the most soul-searching, eye-opening, and life-changing months of my life.

I won’t go into her story here, as you can read about Lotus in the book. But as Laini and I were chatting in the car, we remembered a tradition we began with Lotus, which isn’t included in her chapter. One day, Lotus asked my husband if he would be willing to cook American food for the kids in her old neighborhood. She shared that they’d never tasted many of the flavors she now enjoyed every day in our home. In fact, many of them might go a day or two without eating anything at all, if they hadn’t managed to find anything salvageable in public waste bins.

We learned so much from living with Lotus, and she reminded us every single day about how very blessed we were. She reminded us to not take anything for granted… not even the fact that we had food on the table three times a day. For her and for these lessons, we are deeply grateful.