HE SAID/SHE SAID. YOU SAY? “WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN BEFORE YOU WENT?” PART II

Missed Part I? Grab it here!

“I wish I’d known how hard it really is.”

I would have gotten more cross-cultural training, especially focused on the culture to which I was going. I would have taken more time in language learning. But most of all, I needed realistic expectations.

Working in a foreign field is the same as being in a war. I know: I’ve fought in both. And the similarities are striking.

There is not much glorious about warfare. It may look exciting on TV or in the movies, but in the trenches it’s a lot of hard work. And the enemy has ambushes everywhere. Often you can’t tell the enemy from the friendly. And your friends get injured and killed. It hurts.

The culture won’t make a bit of sense. You’ll even resent the people sometimes, or think how they do things is ridiculous.

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Help Your Marriage Thrive Overseas! Part III

Missed Part I and II? Grab ’em here.

Moving to Africa was like seeing a new version of my husband.

Sure; in some ways it aged us and strained us in ways we could have never experienced. But it was also extremely cool to see my husband as the guy tooling around an African metropolis, learning to navigate the streets to care for his family. I would have never anticipated the overwhelming generosity he possessed; the crazy-cool gifts of cultural understanding and helping Africans through heartbreaking conflicts and difficulties. What if I’d never seen the African version of him? And as I at last realized my dream of moving overseas, we laughed out loud about the “Afro-disiac” it was for our marriage!

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Help Your Marriage Thrive Overseas! Part II

Missed Part I? Grab it here.

Like going overseas, marriage is a form of faith—even more in God than in your spouse.

And as C.S. Lewis has written, Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods.

All of us encounter those days where we’re thinking, if he throws his socks beside the hamper one more time, I am going to tell him exactly where he should put them. Or, Honey, I get hormones. But does PMS really last all month? 

And living overseas tacks on its own version. Did we really need to stay at a six-hour church service on your only real day off? Or, We set aside tonight for a movie night because we don’t even have the energy to talk. And now the electricity’s out. Again.

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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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#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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