My Story: Culture Shock, Mayonnaise, and the Last Straw

BY CARL BUSER, RADIUS INTERNATIONAL ALUMNUS

That was the last straw. I’m done with this country. I’m ready to punch this guy in the face, I said to myself silently.

One more time, I spoke slowly–patiently, even–into the phone. “Sir, please, just make the sandwich like you always do. Except this time, just don’t put mayo on it, like I asked. It’s the same sandwich! It’s just that in the process, mayo won’t be added!”

“I am sorry sir, but we do not do custom orders. We do not accept returns or refunds either.”

I now attempted to yell in this new language. “I WILL THROW THIS SANDWICH THROUGH YOUR WINDOW. I DON’T CARE IF YOU WON’T TAKE IT BACK!”

He hung up.

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How Ready Am I? FREE Self-Assessment for Global Workers, Part III: Relationships

When I moved overseas, my capacity shrank. See, the Africa slice of my pie was simply…ginormous.

Everything took about three extra steps. Need to brush your teeth? You might not want to use water from the tap. You’ll need to fill your water filter or boil it; if your water’s off for the day, you’ll need to haul it in from outside.

As this blogger posted on Go. Serve. Love a few weeks ago, surviving can feel like 90% of your life. It chomps into your availability for, say, work or ministry. My husband felt like he was only able to accomplish about 50% of what he’d normally be able to accomplish in his job.

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#BestoftheBestFriday: Phases of Life Overseas; Wishing I Wasn’t a Racist; Time-release Culture Shock

Forbidden Roots

Amy Medina writes compellingly of the seasons of overseas life. At the beginning,

the remnants of your old life stay with you for a long time. At first, keeping in touch with your friends back at home is a big priority. You get lots of packages in the mail. You grieve the loss of all that you left behind. But you are excited to be in this new place you dreamed about for so long, and that excitement keeps you going for a while. After the honeymoon wears off–which could happen in a week or a year–then it just takes grit. A lot of grit. As in, I’m going to grit my teeth and stay here even though I hate it.

Want to hear the happy ending? Guess you’ll have to click here.

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#WFMW Worked for Me Wednesdays: You Can Make That (Easily!): 21 Recipes for Food You Used to Buy

My first trip to the grocery store in East Africa was….overwhelming. There may have been some tears when I got home.

Maybe it was worse because I didn’t expect grocery shopping to be a source of stress. My friend had been raving about how she loved this grocery store. And I was excited to finally dive in to cooking for my family and not relying on the kindness of other members of our expat community for meals.

But there I was, swallowing back tears. A few example factors (many of which may seem lame, but made sense in my culturally-overwhelmed season of life):

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My Story: The 90% You’d Rather Not Hear About

Today we’re thrilled to welcome Ellie Ciccarelli, a vibrant Colorado native who found new purpose in the mountains of Kenya, were she now serves the Digo people with Africa Inland Mission. The honest thoughts in this post first appeared on Ellie’s blog, Kenya Digo It?

The next time you want to ask me, or any global worker, why we’re so tired, please read this first.

Have you ever lived abroad? Have you ever lived among another people group? Have you ever stuck out like a sore thumb no matter where you turn? Have you ever tried to speak a different language 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Have you ever had to be conscious of everything you said, you did, you wore, you ate, you implied, all the time?

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“How Rich Should I Live?” Navigating Dilemmas of Wealth Overseas

money and wealthA friend of mine lives with her husband, helping migrants in Asia. She amazes me, you know. There are 40-50 malnourished kids who gather in their compound for a healthy meal and vitamins before school (my friend’s home is half home, half community center). They run businesses out of their home, training and empowering community members. They shuttle people to the hospital at all hours. They run a summer program, where kids are tutored by their teenage neighbors so they can excel in school.

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My Story: A Day in the Life Teaching English in Cambodia

Today we’re excited to hear from Judith, an Australian volunteer English teacher in Cambodia, who sent us her story.

I brace myself for an early morning cold shower before my host family wakes, and grab a quick simple breakfast of banana and bread. My tuk tuk arrives at seven thirty. The driver tries to dodge the pot holes and puddles from the overnight rain as he navigates his way, weaving between the trucks, cars, tuk tuks, and motor bikes. I think of the students’ short journey to school: They tell me how thankful they are to avoid biking for forty-five minutes on the congested, potholed road to the government school where a teacher may not be present, or may ask for money.

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#BestoftheBestFriday: What Paul Didn’t Say; The Gospel for the Poverty-ridden; What They Don’t Tell You

Six relevant things that saint paul never said

Nicholas Davis presents six hilarious, yet oh-so-true verses that “vamp” on Scripture. Or at least what we wish it would say. A snippet:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true for you, whatever is popular, whatever is trending, whatever is pleasurable, whenever you think you’re falling in love, whatever really famous people say, and if it’s something that will give you a higher status, think about such things and say them publicly on Facebook—like, all the time.  

A GOSPEL FOR THE HOMELESS

Because many global workers will focus on poverty development, Kevin Deane’s article on “A Gospel for the Homeless” has some thoughts germane and timeless for work overseas, too. Like this:

I’ve discovered that ‘homeless people,’ – just like ‘immigrants’ and ‘First Nations’ – are often mistakenly talked about as one big organic unit. As though they all think and act the same. Before you start anything, get to know who you are reaching. 

25 Things They Don’t Put in the Life Abroad Brochure

Jerry Jones over at A Life Overseas (we recommend you subscribe! Great stuff) writes these particularly for all of you: those packing it up to go there, serve Him, and love them. Don’t miss his myth-busting remarks about real life abroad.

 

 

My Story: Cafe 1040–and normalizing the exotic

All this isn’t just talk: We want you to actually go there–and experience serving Him and loving them well. Enter our brand-new Adventures tab, showcasing experiences to help you get a taste–and a little training–for crossing cultures immersively.

Today, we’re hosting Cafe 1040. They exist to help mobilize the next generation of global workers to the 3.1 billion people have little to no access to the story of Jesus. We invite young adults to come walk alongside long-term global workers to see what their life could look like telling the story of Jesus among an unreached people group. Check out their Go. Serve. Love page here.

Taking his newly-acquired Arabic out for a spin in a Muslim country, Adam* thought he was asking for a large water. What he really said? “I want the greatest water.”

“No, no, no,” said his waiter in Arabic, “You want a big water. God is the greatest. You want a big water.” An excellent distinction.

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He Said/She Said. You Say? “What do you wish you’d known before you went?” Part I

“I wish I knew how to deal with conflict.”

Answer from Paul, who served in Uganda and Rwanda for two years.

When you want a job you usually put on your best for your prospective employer; it’s like a first date, you hide all the bad and accentuate the positive. Unfortunately, I discovered after two failed attempts to work with agencies, this not a good way to “get married” to a sending organization.

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