Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Reverse Culture Shock

It all started when I was looking at a friend's Instagram feed.  There was nothing abnormal about it. She had pictures of her family in a grocery store.  It was a grocery store I used to go to a lot when we lived in PA and plan to go to when we get back.  I took one look at the picture and was overwhelmed. I thought:

" all.."

Honestly we have been dreaming about visiting a grocery store in the States maybe since we came.  Like a lot of countries there is significantly less available here than what we had been used to in PA.  One time Nathanael even joked about running up and down supermarket isles jubilantly celebrating how much food is on the shelves.

Seriously though, it hit me like a ton of bricks. What originally seemed like it would be exciting all of the sudden seemed overwhelming.

I thought about how it would feel to have so many choices.

I thought about what it would look like to enter our new church on the first Sunday back. Our church has grown both with people and in their building size.  We have lived in a smaller house, gone to a small church, and visited smaller grocery stores. We even are in a smaller country.  There are no trains, and very few paved roads. What would take us minutes to travel in the States takes us hours on a bus.

We are used to it (most of the time). Our children have become excellent travelers on the bus. (although tablets do help!).

While we've all now transitioned on to the field I am the only one who has transitioned back.  I remember 18 years ago, after returning from Mexico, how big my house felt.  I did some odd things like cleaning my parents bedroom without their permission.

What I am asking of you... our faithful supporters both physically, spiritually, and emotionally is to recognize when you first see us that we're again in transition.

 You may be the first person (or 50th) who has asked us "How was Belize?" Look at the "large" world from our perspective. It is fun and amazing when you haven't seen it for a year.  At the same time it's overwhelming. We may even feel unsure of how to react to it.

The owner of our local grocery store in Perkasie won't come up and shake my hand each time we enter the store, or give our children treats. No strangers will rub Zephaniah's head as he walks by. We will have to walk more than a few steps to get a quick item from the store.

Take a moment to see the world through our eyes. Love on us, and give us grace.

Thanks so much each one of you for your faithful support! We look forward to seeing you soon. Prayer page updated. (I am trying to do it weekly)


  1. Such great advice to all of us who are looking forward to seeing you guys! Thanks for sharing

  2. I think I read this a while ago. Did you know my husband is from Argentina and he has been in the states almost 3 years (3 years in September)? When he first came here he was BLOWN AWAY by all the food we have here... all the choices. They do have large shopping centers in Argentina but what Americans have is choice. Lots and lots of choice. He would take pictures of all the food in the grocery store and send them to his cousins in Argentina. Right around the time he got here we were in Walmart and he saw their halloween candy, it takes up both sides of one aisle. It was pretty mind blowing for him.

    We will visit Argentina again in August for the first time in 3 years and I am curious to see how things will pan out both in going there and in coming back here after being there :)