Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Reverse Culture Shock

Reverse culture shock refers to the difficulty missionaries have returning to their home culture after living and serving in a foreign land. Many say that reverse culture shock is worse than the original shock of moving to the mission field. I thought I'd share a few manifestations of reverse culture shock that we have seen or experienced.
You know you're in reverse culture shock when
1. You begin every other sentence with "In Africa we did it this way" even though you notice people's eyes glazing over.
2. You feel like the Beverly Hillbillies when you walk into the Apple Store and see all the newest computer technology. It's all you can do to keep from saying, "GOLLY, look at that!"
3. You get in on the wrong side of the car--often. And you just hope you will remember which side of the road to drive on.
4. You watch TV shows, amazed that people can actually say and do those things on TV now.
5. You can't get enough hamburgers or good Mexican food.
6. You feel guilty when you take a shower because you're using more than a bucket of water.
7. You wonder what your Zambian friends are doing--all the time.
8. You can't understand ANY of the Lost finale.
9. You try not to say, "But there are starving children in Africa" when you see people wasting money (in your opinion anyway).
10. You can't get over how fast your internet works.

New Pictures of Jacob

Grandparenting is wonderful!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Can You NOT Live Without?

David and I joke that we are currently jobless and homeless. My sister-in-law quipped that by taking us out to eat yesterday she was fulfilling her obligation to feed the homeless.

Seriously, though, we are not in the desperate straits that many are facing in the current economy. This article provides some thought-provoking information about what Americans consider to be essentials. I wonder if the results would have been different if only Christians had been surveyed?

A Chicken Blog

I do miss my chickens, so I couldn't resist sharing this chicken story. My love for chickens has apparently been handed down to my nephew Wyatt. He and his wife Rachel have decided to raise chickens on their acreage in Columbia, Missouri. My sister Jan and her husband David are there this week babysitting their four grandsons, all under eight, while Wyatt and Rachel are on a trip to New Zealand. Jan writes:

The red chickens were about 3 weeks old when we arrived, and Wyatt had mostly finished a chicken house (12 x 12) down a significant hill from the house.

Wyatt left with the chicken house needing more work. David has done a wonderful job of finishing the work, buying and spreading litter and so on. Last night we had a Chicken Release Celebration and moved half of the 23-member flock to the building. They survived the night and the rest get moved today. The chickens had been in a temporary coop in the garage and had certainly outgrown it.

We've bought big waterer, feeder, etc. to finish the project. Now we just want the birds to stay alive until the real parents get home. It seems the neighbor's dogs love the smell of fresh chick!

Next week Rahcel's mother will arrive to take over with the boys. Since she hasn't had experience with chickens, our goal this week is to have Coulton (age eight) know all that's needed to care for them next week when she's here by herself. Yesterday I told him that if a chicken is sick, the easiest thing to tell by is their poop. I pointed out healthy poop and then just about cracked up as he and Aaron (age six) walked around the chicken house investigating each little pile of poop. Aaron kept saying "Yep, this looks fine" as he peered closely at the little piles.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Memories of Zambian Travel

I thought our days of dodging farm animals in the road were over. But when I went for a jog near my mother-in-law's house, this pig ambled across the road in front of me. Made me a little homesick...

Saturday, May 01, 2010


Several have asked us, "What do you miss about Africa?" So here goes:
Breathtaking sunrises and sunsets
The splendor of the Milky Way in an inky night sky
Jason and George
My chickens!
Meagan, Jana, Kelsey, Courtney, and Betsy
Mrs. Nyee at the Mini-Mart (and the free Cokes she often gave me)
Rodgers Namuswa roaring up to the front door on his motorbike
Congregational singing in a thatch-roofed village church building
Wearing Teva sport sandals seven days a week
Rocking and rolling on potholed roads in our Toyota pickup (okay, I only miss that a little bit)

And now the things I do NOT miss:
The electricity going off at random times almost every day
SLOW internet connection
Watching for snakes
Wearing skirts all day every day
Events that are scheduled for 9:00 but actually start at 10:30 . . .
Mosquito nets
Paying for everything in cash, and no one ever seems to have the right change

And the things I still marvel at about life in America
Clean public restrooms with warm water, soap, and paper towels
Roads without potholes
Paved roads in general
Stores whose inventory approximates the gross national product of Zambia

Punster Revealed

Back in March, I wrote about an anonymous punster who sent us puns on pieces of paper taped to seasoning packets. When David preached at Brentwood recently, he told the congregation about the punster and read one of the groaners. He ended with a tongue-in-cheek request for whoever had done it to "confess and repent." Well, she confessed but will not repent--Donna Hamm was the secret purveyor of puns. I'm glad we had a chance to thank her at last for bringing us laughs and smiles during our time in Africa.