Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Moving to Africa...

Is the same, but different.  We said goodbye, or see you later, to our dearest friends and family.  Packed all the things we felt like we needed into 12 suitcases and brought them to the airport.  Argued with the lady at the Delta counter about how many bags we got for free.  Lost.  Asked for our bags back.  Repacked.  Checked 11 bags.  Sent one home with Miranda.  Went only $100 over budget on luggage overage charges.  Yay!  Went through security.  Forgot to unpack all the extra electronics from our carry-ons.  Set off security alerts.  Oops.  Greg went through the full body scanner—he always has to!  Repacked the carry-ons that the security people unpacked.   Sigh.  Got on some stinking long flights and didn’t sleep.  Except for Angelica, who slept all over me (and the random guy on the other side of her).  Got off the plane in Jo’burg.  All five of us, yes even the 6 year old, had to push a luggage cart.  At least SHE slept!  Got picked up at the airport by people we had met once. 

All familiar, but at the same time, all a little bit different.  Kind of like most things in Africa.  The store is familiar, but a little bit different.  So is everything in it.  Roads are the same, but different.  People are the same, but different.  The feelings of being here are the same as always, but different too.  We’ve never lived here before.  Different. 

Here’s a list of a few different things that have happened since we got here:

Julia discovered she is a monkey whisperer.  When she calls monkeys, they come.
Greg had to stop in the road to avoid hitting a cow.
I peed on the side of the road in the long savannah grass. You gotta do what you gotta do!
A man rang our gate bell at 6:00am to ask for work, or food, or money. 

I’ve heard of this thing called Culture Stress.  It’s different than culture shock, because it’s not just the surprise, or even that you don’t like something.  It’s just the overwhelmingness of the “same but different” feeling.  Makes you tired.  Things are harder than they usually are.  Harder than they are at home.  Harder than you want them to be.  We are experiencing this right now.  Tired.  But happy to be figuring things out, slowly, gradually.  It will all come together. 

Stood in worship at HPC Swaziland Sunday morning.  God is here.  At Bible study in my house before my kids wake up in the morning.  God is here.  And so we know, it will all be okay.  Better than okay.  Good, great, a treasure.  All of these experiences are a treasure.  God is making us into who we need to be.  And He needs US to be the same…but different.


Missymarie44 said...

Oh, my goodness, an overwhelming feeling of "I really miss y'all" hit me while I read your post! I'm so excited that y'all are finally there. Love y'all soooo much and I'm praying for all of you!

Miranda said...

I understand all those feelings. And I agree with Missy that an overwhelming return rush of I miss you hit me as well. I still remember the almost tangible presence of God that I felt in those first few months after I moved. I told God I would move if He did and He definitely let me know and feel that He held up His end of the deal. I'm glad to know He moved with you too!! There's such peace in that!