Monday, 11 February 2013

Culture Overload

I've lived in Rwanda for over 7 years now full-time.
I'm pretty good at knowing what it is about the culture that pushes my buttons. 
Today ... I wasn't so good at recognizing it and I had a meltdown.
We're on our last big push to get our house finished. We want to be in by next weekend. Hence, there continues to be lots of work going on - painting, tile, finishing the washrooms .... all the finishing stuff. Takes lots of time and money to do it but we're managing through it.
Today I was not managing.
I thought the doors were finished. I thought the ceilings were finished.
Guess not. The workers all said they were finished this past Friday ... and they looked good to me!
On a Monday, in a week where I thought life was moving forward, life seemed to move backward. ARG!
I sat down in the corner of my soon to be new office / library and cried. Cried my eyes out.
It was in that time that I recognized that it was culture clash.
I did want the doors to look good. I did want the ceilings to look good.
I had just been blindsided with what words and actions meaning something different.
Coming from a culture where your word means something ... it's not always easy.
A good cry, time to be apart ... and some chocolate ... and my day turned for the better.
As Serge and I debriefed it later, he asked me why after 7 years plus in this country, this sorts of things still surprise / get to me?
I don't know why today.
What I know is, tomorrow is a new day, God's mercies are new every morning, and I'm ready for what tomorrow brings!


Davina said...

Sounds overwhelming! Praying for your peace of mind.

Lisa Barber said...

I think Jen, that part of our struggle with cultural adaptation is that, there are some things we really LIKE about how things are in our "home culture" --- we KNOW there is a different (and to us, a BETTER) way for something to be done. Though it may be "the way it is" in our host culture, we KNOW it is "NOT the way it HAS to be" -- it can be, in fact is, different in other places! So we LONG for "the better way" of which we have tasted! I think this is also how it is for us on earth who have "tasted" of the goodness of God's Kingdom -- we cry over all that is "broken" as we long for more of God's Ways to break into our world and TRANSFORM not only us, but our societies as well! It is a longing for what is good, not just for us, but also for our neighbour! :-) May all your struggles turn into "fuel" for the Mission of God -- the Kingdom of God made evident to those who are hungry, thirsty, ready, for something better!

Ken said...

Yep...what Lisa said. And let me just add...

Hahaha...I've SO been there! =) Sorry to laugh but I'm so happy that someone I know and respect as a missionary has those moments too. So...feel encouraged that you blessed me. =)

Love ya!