I knew coming back would be different. It always is. I always get culture shock coming back. But though I expected it to be different, some things just catch me off-guard. For example:
~I was in awe when I landed in Brisbane and saw miles of paved freeways surrounded by huge cement buildings and shiny cars! I’d forgotten roads that didn’t have missing sections. I realized that I was all tensed up sitting in the back of the taxi and couldn’t figure out why until I realized that I was waiting for him to hit the breaks for a pothole…we’d been driving fast for too long. There had to be a pothole soon!
~Meat-lover’s pizza, already-made chocolate milk, and Krispy Kream donuts…all to be had by walking in and picking them up! (After paying, of course!) No prep work on my part!
~Milk in a plastic jug and not a waxed cardboard box? Wonders never cease!
~Flour balls…nowhere to be found. Sad.
~Do you realize how big a Wal-Mart Super Center really is? It’s enormous! And very overwhelming! Stimulation overload! I took my third trip in yesterday and realized that even after 3 weeks home I still feel overwhelmed in there!
~And American coins are smaller.
~I can barely hear the rain on my roof.
~I’m not coming home to any of the homes I’ve had before…I came home to live and work in a building under construction. My mom has worked hard and made our living areas very comfortable but it’s still not the traditional “home” I think of.
~Not only have my surroundings changed but my whole routine has changed. I don’t have regular work hours assigned to me. I don’t have a specific schedule or role. I am no longer a foreign missionary. No longer a Clinic nurse. But do you know what I still am? I am still a daughter of the King whom I serve. I am still a well-loved daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin,…and an aunt to an adorable little boy who wins hearts everywhere with his “cheesy” face!
~I hear politics discussed EVERYWHERE.
~The first two stores I go into upon coming back, all I hear is complaining from the employees…no joy or pride in their work (and not much work being done!) or gratitude that they have a job in an area where so many are unemployed.
~Second-handing is still great!
~I forgot how important a clock is here.
~Mail comes daily and there is a store for just about anything you might ever want to buy within a 30 mile radius! And fast internet and shipping for buying everything else!
~I don’t have to find a driver if I want to go somewhere. I can just drive myself there!
~There are no mountains outside my window.
~I left the eternal summer to come back to winter; not much is green outside my window. And the skies have been mostly grey and cloudy; no hint of the blue skies I’d grown used to seeing pretty much every day. But it’s surprising how much it helps to see two large magnolia trees outside my window all the time that are full of shiny green leaves, even as the snow gathers on them, and to see some hardy snapdragon flowers still showing their delicate pink blossoms in the front garden. Summer’s here; it’s just in hiding at the moment!
~And did you know that when it is cold enough to snow…it’s really cold? Really!
~And even with the cloudy skies and cold temps, I still have hot water!
~Did you know that laundry CAN be done at night? There I was after 5pm, disappointed that I had not remembered to start my laundry that morning, when it hit me…we have a DRYER!!! Miraculous inventions!
~The people I see every day are different than the ones I’ve been seeing for the past 10 months.
Yes, things are different. Not bad, just different. Life here has continued without me and I feel as though I’ve been “beamed up” out of one life and “beamed down” into another. Nothing much has changed for everyone else. But to me, there are still new discoveries everywhere!
(By the way, did you know that most of the U.S. does not speak Pidgin??? It’s true. I hadn’t realized how much Pidgin had crept into my speaking until I saw the blank looks of the people I was talking to. Then I struggled to find the English words to translate it into! Like I said…new discoveries everywhere!)