In the beginning, it was a task, a project. Acclimation. It was the goal—to acclimate to our new culture, language, environment. For three years I made acclimation my goal. It was easy to find humor in the things that seemed so different. I blogged about these things. I was able to see the differences through the lens of 'acclimation.' Then, I hit a wall. My kids had settled down into the rhythm of life in all its dissonance. My husband, more or less, morphs to his environment and goes with the flow. I roll like a wooden block. I fight to change my environment to work for me. I am task oriented and enjoy a project. However, when acclimating ceased to be a task and became an upleasant reality of “this is life”--I crumbled.
So for a year (and intensely for 5 months), I have struggled with the reality of my new life in a culture and environment that smacks hard against my boundaries of comfort, ability, tolerance and functionality. I have OCD (not the cute kind that people refer to when they like things in order, but the kind that interrupts your daily life in a drastic way... I will blog about it more in the future). I have come to believe that while I experience an extra measure of God's grace and mercy on a daily basis, I still struggle with living in a chaotic and unpredictable environment. Ambiguity and I mix like oil and water. And my new culture seems to be the definition of ambiguity.
Cross-cultural living is challening at best, but it seems more-so for certain personality types...like mine apparently. We did our cross-cultural training, we had our pre-field psychological evaluations, we did our due-diligence before moving cross-culturally. However, the apparent fact is: this lifestyle costs something. And for some, the price-tag is far higher than it is for others. (I knew I had expensive taste!).
So, what now? Well, I am trying to figure out what God means when He says He is our refuge and hope. That sounds nice when I am sitting on my sofa in the coolness of the morning before I am hit with cultural stress; but what does it look like practically when I am hot, sweating and entertaining visitors that didn't tell us that they were coming over for the afternoon? As I blogged about previously since my return to the world-of-blog, I have surrendered. This has been huge in giving me freedom and peace (ironic, I know). I am working on taking things day-by-day and choosing to surrender anew each day. Is it easy? Yeah, right! Yet, it is what brings me in step with the Lord.