Re-entry Culture Block

It’s a curious thing, returning to your passport country after an extended time in another country. I thought we were over the “re-entry culture shock”. I’ve done this a billion times. More specifically, this is our 7th time. Still.

More than ever, people are asking how we are doing. People who care. People who want to know if we’ve adjusted yet. I don’t even know what that means anymore. Adjusting to cross-cultural living means being OK in a certain state of chaos. Being OK with suitcases that are never fully unpacked. Being OK with always feeling like a part of me is somewhere else. Maybe today my mind is in Kenya, and maybe tomorrow my mind wil be on the trips we are taking while on furlough. So so many details to work out and I’m not a detail person. So many people to call and all I want to do is hibernate.

My husband asked me what was on my mind the other day- he’s got an uncanny ability to almost read my mind, but even he was confused. My answer?

“I want to see friends and I don’t want to see anyone. I want to talk about how I’m doing and I don’t want to say anything at all. I want to go to a pizza buffet and I want to eat healthy. I want to do fun things with the kids and I want to stay at home by myself. I’ve literally forgotten how to cook now that I’m in the land of the all the ingredients I ever wanted. I can’t make a single decision and I want to plan out the next six months right now.”

I could go on but I think you see where I’m going. This is a confusing time. I’m usually pretty stable, but I feel like I’ve lost that part of me.

We miss our home. So many things about it. Our furniture, our dog, our view of the sunrise and our friends. We weren’t quite ready to leave.

And then again, we were. We were ready to leave the stresses that accompany that life, and get a breather. I just don’t feel like I’m breathing yet. I feel like every time I open my mouth, I’m talking ninety miles a minute about things I haven’t processed.

And then I get a FaceTime call from a friend who lives this life, who is going through the same stuff- the emotions, the constant sickness from new germs, the fatigue and adrenaline and excitement and dread…. And I can relax and smile. I’m not alone.

Things are going to level out. We are truly happy to be here, and already feeling so blessed by the people who have invited us over, included us in their schedules, listened to our unprocessed thoughts, redecorated an incredible mission house, written us checks to help out with the transition expenses- it’s all been amazing.

If I ever forget that self-sufficiency is a bad thing, and forget to lean into my Jesus who gives me all the love and grace and strength I need, then I just need to move back to my other country. His grace is sufficient for me, especially in the midst of the upheaval of my normal things. I’m ready for the adventure.


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