Mostrando entradas de octubre, 2013

It's Finally Connecting

It was a typical day in rainy season. The air felt heavy and sticky, and it looked as if it could rain soon.  I carried my umbrella under my arm, along with a bag carrying my bible, some water, some paper and crayons.
Today was our first day of the new ladies bible study.  They had asked me to go through a bible study book with them, but I hoped to teach it in a way that would connect. 
I am always a little nervous before leading a Bible study.  When I arrived at the church, the front gate was locked.  I maneuvered through the mud, over to the pastor's house to ask for the key. Thankfully his son was outside and soon fetched it for me.
But then the pastor's wife, Marienela, came out. She didn't think we should start the bible study today. A couple of the ladies were away, and she didn't want them to miss out. I sighed, pushing down my frustration. I had planned the whole week around this Bible study, and had turned down another invitation because I had said I would be her…

Culture Shock

I am writing this from my Dad's office in Oregon. The weather is cool but sunny, and a little over a week ago I was in Panama.  I love coming home, and I love to see everyone, but I don't look forward to switching cultures.
When you go live in another culture, much of your energy is spent trying to learn the new rules.  Your eyes are always open, observing how people interact, and trying to learn what is appropriate in each situation.
When you are in your home culture, it's all pretty automatic.  You know what is right and wrong, acceptable or unacceptable to the culture.  And you feel free to challenge those norms as you wish, since it is your own culture.
The tricky part comes in when you return to your own culture after an absence. After spending so much time learning about your host culture, you find yourself back home, but nothing seems to fit anymore.  What used to be intuitive now feels uncomfortable.
I find that for me, the emotionally energy needed can be exhausting. …