I miss people.
I miss writing. I miss productivity. I miss Velveeta and Rotel dip.
And sausage. And cornbread. And fountain drinks.
I miss Southern drawls. I miss driving laws. I miss Hobby Lobby.
They told me this would happen. That I would hit a wall of inexplicable frustration and the rainbows and sunshine would no longer hover over my world in Southeast Asia.
They told me that I would feel overwhelmingly tired. That I would no longer think the best in people I met on the street. That I would switch between wanting to stay in bed all day and wanting to beat my head against a concrete wall.
They said it would happen after I’d been overseas for 6-7 months.
Hey, Month 7, I see you.
I see you on my bedroom ceiling as I force my head out from under the covers.
I see you in today’s fourth cup of coffee.
I see you in the mounds of paperwork piling up, unfinished on my desk.
Culture shock. Culture fatigue. Culture stress. Culture rub.
Yeah, you’re all over me, culture.
And if it weren’t for a gracious husband, a lovely daughter, and an incredible community surrounding me from across the globe, you might just be beating me.
It’s not that I’m angry. It’s not that I’m defeated.
I’m just at a point of feeling—shall I say—well, meh about life.
The more I learn this language, the more I realize what I can’t say.
The more I interact with local society, the more I realize I don’t fit in.
The more I pursue opportunities to Teach, the more I realize this is no short task.
Don’t worry, I knew this was coming. But no amount of cross-cultural orientation can protect you from the dynamics of cross-cultural adaptation.
You have to go through it. You have to live it and breathe it. You have to have a personal encounter with it.
It’s like I’ve been running a race since March, with this hurdle getting closer and closer. I’ve expected it. I’ve anticipated how I would tackle it.
But now, instead of gracefully launching my body over the thing, I’m planted in front of it with my arms flailing in annoyance as I say, Did you REALLY have to come and get all up in my business???
Yeah, culture shock, I’m talking to you.
We were doing great, Asia and me. Pho noodles and me. Terrible heat and me.
And you, YOU…you had to come and interrupt us, didn’t you?
This is me in my current state. My love affair with *trying new things* has come to an end.
I’m making a lot of mashed potatoes and watching a lot of Parenthood. I’m jacking up our electric bill from the excessive use of our air-con.
I’m also finding hope in the fact that this is a phase. I’ll be all right. And in a few short months, this place may even feel like home.
My precious friends, your generous donations are not wasted. Your prayers are not in vain. My family is here for the long haul, and we can rejoice in this milestone.
As soon as we get down on ourselves for giving into the crushing fatigue, we recognize that there’s still no part of us that regrets this decision.
The past two Sundays, I have sung I Surrender All with a gloriously ruined chorus of voices. And oh the tears that streamed down my face both times.
In times of sorrow, frustration, confusion, and pain, my heart is ripped open and my faith truly exposed.
The raw, imperfect, honest parts of my being are so sensitive and so tender, and these are the times when my worship is unabashed.
Shameless. Bold. Unrestricted.
I would live this season over and over and over again if I could forever worship like this.
The Father is truly the Lifter of my head. And that’s all I need for today.