Sunday, April 28, 2013

re-entry



Alicia, Alannah and I at lunch in Sacramento.
 A beautiful part of re-entry.


There is no true way to entirely prevent culture shock, even when you are re-entering your familiar home environment.  In any society people are affected by cultural contrasts differently. 

Today was our first day back at our church’s main service.  Mario and I have been back for 48 days and after visiting the satellites decided to try the main.  It is where all of our old friends attend.  We jumped back into their lives – seeing them not much different.  If it weren’t for their KIDS who have grown like weeds on MiracleGro, we would hardly notice the difference in the people.

For the last six years we gave ourselves over to a calling of God that was beautiful, rewarding and definitely His will for our lives.  The first two years we did a lot of international travelling – we saw nineteen different African countries and two Asian ones.  The last four years were focused on the local church life in Johannesburg. 

Johannesburg is as diverse as Africa itself.  It is the melting pot of different cultures more than any other place in South Africa.  No city in South Africa can match the diversity of Johannesburg; there are 11 official languages. 

Sacramento is the capital of California, whose economy is the twelfth largest in the world.  The Spanish language is everywhere, but most people speak English. 

I stood in conversation with a friend this morning as he asked us how we were doing.

“We’re good, thank God,” I said.  “We just need to find a home of our own.” 

My thoughts flashed back to the last 48 days here.  We have shopped for (and found) a home.  We began the process of buying it, only to find that its title was not clear.  We shopped for (and found) another home that was in our price range and began the process of buying it.  This is the house we are now praying for.  The problem is, the loan company here needs bank statements from our South African bank – something that they will not provide.  Because of FICA laws, the statements have to be picked up in person by Mario – who is back at his old desk most days of the week, working full time.

“So, you don’t have a place to stay?” my friend asks, genuinely concerned. 

“We do,” I smile. “We have been staying with Nicole.”

“Oh, and how is that going?”  he asks.  

I think of the warm reception that Nicole and Summer have given us.  Their ease and acceptance during this time has been crucial.  We are staying in Nicole's one room garage apartment that has a half bathroom.  It has kept us from staying in a hotel and living out of suitcases.  Even with all of this, we still feel like we are "just visiting" the States again. 

“It’s going very well, thank God,” I say.

“So Mario’s back at work,” he says.  “What are you doing?”

I smile.  I am writing all of the time.  When I am not working out or visiting my daughter and her daughters I am writing.  I have started a new novel and will hopefully see the first one published soon.  I am grateful for the opportunity to write.  I still have not seen Vince, Joe or David (or their kids) since we have been back.  I have had little chance to see my parents and sisters, too.  Until we get a house we can’t spend much money.

“I write,” I answer.  I blog, I write fiction, I edit.  I even tutor a girl who is in Kansas City via SKYPE.  She has our dogs, Zuzu and Peaches.  They can’t come here until we have a house of our own.

We’ve got to get this house, I think. 

“You write?” my friend lifts his eyebrows and I expect no more questions.  

None come.  

Not “Have you talked to Portia and the boys since you have been back?” – not “Don’t you miss your church?” – not “What about the Ladies Prayer Group that saved your life several times...how are they?”

He just smiles, good naturedly.

“Must be nice to be a woman of leisure,” he says, winking.  I smile.

Yeah....