We are now a year and 1/2 into this safari ride. They say that there is a small bought of culture shock at the 6 month mark and a more strong one at the 1 year mark. It has been funny to watch each of us have our episodes and moments of that. We have had 2 dates since being here.
On the first which was about a year ago, Andrew and I packed up and left to go eat dinner which was not to far from our house but in a crazy location. We had to use the 4 wheel drive and off road it to get to this place and when we finally got to the top of what felt like a mountain, there, nestled among a bunch of houses on stilts(for the raining season I guess?) was a super nice hotel and restaurant complete with an enormous curved swimming pool, work out room, and tennis courts. This kind of thing always seems so crazy to me. On the way home it had started to rain but our windshield wipers aren't that great on this car so it just smears stuff around. It's almost better to just not turn them on. There aren't a lot of street lights so everything is so dark. And it can be alarming to drive here because the road rules are not the same and people drive down what we would call the wrong side of the road all the time. Or sometimes randomly the street will be blocked(with piles of rock) so you need to swap to the other side of the road but there is no warning for that. You just have to reverse until you get back to an opening where you can cut over and dodge oncoming traffic. There are dogs and goats crossing all the time. There are pedestrian (including small children) all over the side and middle of the road holding things to your window to sell. There are potholes. The people honk constantly at stopped traffic and everyone piles into 4 lanes where there should be one-two at the most. Andrew got a little tense driving home in all this and he had a culture shock moment. I was laughing so hard at him because he said he felt like he was in the game of Mario Kart and then would shout 'banana peel' every time we would see something in the road. At one point a car started to reverse very quickly right in front of us so he shouted 'Bowser!'. Then when we reached the point where the traffic always stops and there was the usual honking that ensues he made some other comments like 'Oh yeah, honk. I bet that some jerk up there just forgot to go. That will remind him. Oh good, honk some more!' I was hurting from laughing so hard by the time we got home but he really was stressed out. I have my moments too. About 10 years ago I lived in Togo West Africa for a short 6 month period with a group of church planters. It was 5 missionary families that had at least 2 children each. They proved to be really awesome people and I respected them then. But now, I have kids and I realize that I didn't have a clue what their lives were really like so now I have an even deeper respect for them. Those missionaries were planting churches in Togo but they had no idea that their outstanding example would be of great use 10 years later to a friend living in Sierra Leone who said she had no intentions of ever doing foreign missions. When I think of them I know I can do this.
On the second date, I was crying about leaving here. Ha! It is funny how things work out.
And I just have to tell this:
Andrew was sitting at the desk working one night when the electricity was off. As he was typing something stung his arm. He thought it must be one of the small ants that have declared this desk as their own. He kept on typing and a few seconds later he felt something strange in his hair. More and more rapidly the stinging sensation was happening and something strange and slick was getting all over him so he jumped up swatting and slapping and shouting something about a firefly from hell. When he did, he bumped his head on the candle holder that hangs from our ceiling over the desk. He had been too busy to notice he had sat directly under it and it was dropping melted wax all over his arms, hair, and clothes. That never happened in America.