Where is my home really? Yes, my nuclear family is currently living in the states, and I definitely enjoy spending quality time with them, but I have a close-knit family on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean too. It looks a little different, sure. I have teammates and friends instead of brothers and sisters, but family none-the-less.
And though my skin color will always point out to Guinensis that I'm not native to Guinea Bissau, I fit in really well. The culture feels comfortable to me. Since being in the states, I have felt really disoriented not having face-to-face people interactions from sun up to sun down.
It's disappointing to me to find that a lot of people's "family time" is whittled down to several hours sitting next to each other in front of a screen. Quality time (to me) looks more like hanging out or accomplishing a task together (I purposely didn't say "doing something together" for fear someone would argue that watching TV is doing something). I don't know. Maybe you've found a way to relationally engage the person you're sitting with while you're both holding iPhones, texting someone else. I am not that talented. Additionally, I find trying to keep up with people's conversations about trending TV shows that I've not watched utterly exhausting... I actually didn't mean for this to be an anti-screen rant... I digress.
My cousin Amber and me at my grandma's house.
The disorienting experience of "where is home?" continues...
I find my state of disorientation is exaggerated on a Sunday morning - what to wear? "Now, how could such a trivial matter send you into a state of bewilderment?" you ask. Let me preface by saying that I was never super trendy. I have my sisters to thank for anything remotely trendy in my wardrobe.
My dilemma on a Sunday morning becomes, "Do I wear what I'm comfortable in and stick out like a sore thumb or do I begin the arduous process of mixing and matching practically every article of clothing I own to find something considered 'acceptable' under the scrutiny of even amateur fashion police?"
What I would rather do, more than anything else, is to throw on a tank top, flip-flops, and a wrap-around skirt (which happens to be made of bright African fabric). Not only is this an inappropriate choice of outfit for the "coldest temperatures of the decade" that we're experiencing right now, it screams "Hello! I'm a missionary!" all over it. When you want to fit in on so many levels, drawing that much attention to yourself doesn't really help.
The view looking out our back door towards our barn. If you are like me and don a hoodie when the temps dip into the low 80's, this is cold... just saying.
Above all else though, I'm confused about how to live dependent on Jesus here in the states. Does that sound weird for a missionary to say? Don't put me on a pedestal - I'm human too. Let me give you a few examples of what I mean.
I am usually reliant on God to allow me to sleep during the hot, sticky nights of the rainy/dry season transition months. Here in the states, I live in a very comfortable climate-controlled house.
I am usually reliant on God for the availability of vegetables in the market. On the other hand, I just ate a pack of baby carrots this morning... and there's more where that came from!
I am usually reliant on God for a semi-timely transportation vehicle that has at least a foot of space for me to sit on. Contrastingly, I just jumped in the car and drove (with just me in the car and not me and 40 other people) to my dentist and eye doctor appointments today - without even praying about it.
Do you see what I mean? I'm not turning to God for these small elements of life. Things are so at my fingertips here that I have to mentally remind myself frequently, I am STILL fully reliant on God.
Back to the basics.
So... This is me trying to live life while I'm in the states. I reflect back on my original question, "Is life ever 'normal'?"