Intercultural life is hard. It’s also very interesting and full of stories. They are hilarious (like when you use the wrong word for something), heartbreaking (like when you come face to face with the realities of inequality), heartwarming (like when a family makes you one of their own), and flabbergasting (like when systems conspire to keep families apart).
For some time now, I’ve been dreaming of creating a forum and inviting others to share stories and insights from intercultural living. Is that something you would be interested in? Would you listen to a podcast dedicated to that type of content?
One of the unexpected delights of quarantine living has been new, truly excellent content by creatives. Phoebe Judge has been reading classic mysteries aloud and releasing a chapter daily. I love listening to books and it has been great.
Last night, I listened to Chapter 6 of The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. In light of my musings about intercultural life, I found this paragraph fascinating. The author is describing a young man who grew up attending international schools abroad.
At the age when we are all of us most apt to take our colouring, in the form of a reflection from the colouring of other people, he had been sent abroad, and had been passed on from one nation to another, before there was time for anyone colouring more than another to settle itself on him firmly. As a consequence of this, he had come back with so many different sides to his character, all more or less jarring with each other, that he seemed to pass his life in a state of perpetual contradiction with himself. He could be a busy man, and a lazy man; cloudy in the head, and clear in the head; a model of determination, and a spectacle of helplessness, all together. He had his French side, and his German side, and his Italian side—the original English foundation showing through, every now and then, as much as to say, “Here I am, sorely transmogrified, as you see, but there’s something of me left at the bottom of him still.”
Guys, this is so, so good.
I learned the word transmogrify. It means (according to Google): transform in a surprising or magical manner. Google’s example involved cucumbers to pickles (haha). What an apt description of those of us who have lived abroad.
There is an aspect of an intercultural person that is disjointed. At least there is for me. I hope I am mostly a person whose different cultures are well-integrated, but the truth is that they aren’t always. Sometimes they are in conflict with each other. Often they are in conflict with the culture I live in.
When we embrace a new culture, we do change. It is good, it is beautiful, and it is hard.
We just want to start by saying thank you to our friends and family in the US, Botswana, the UK and elsewhere for your support in various ways as we transitioned from Botswana to the US. We miss our amazing friends and family in Botswana and remain excited to be closer to other amazing friends and family in the US. We love you all so much and feel so loved by you. It has been a blessing to reconnect with many of you in Maryland and get to know others during our frequent trips into town. His People Gabs, THANK YOU for graciously and generously releasing and sending us out. Monument Church, THANK YOU for welcoming us with so much love and enthusiasm.
Increasing Dependence on God
We left Botswana over 8 months ago. Our intention was to stay with Laura’s parents in Lititz, PA area for a few weeks (up to a couple of months) while getting jobs sorted out, and then move to Gaithersburg, MD. For a lot of reasons, this seemed like a plan that would work. However, despite our efforts, that door has not opened, at least not yet. We trust that God’s plan for us has included this season of patience and persevering in faith (with lots of stumbles and lessons along the way). Our planning decreases daily while our dependency on our Father increases. His hand of direction becomes evident when He closes some doors and open some. He makes is easier to TRUST AND FOLLOW HIM when it might not all be making sense.
Act 16: 6-10: The call to Macedonia?
With the help of Laura’s parents, God has provided a home for us in Akron, PA, just outside of the city of Lancaster. The way it happened has been providential and we believe it is the Lord’s doing. It appears that, at least for the time being, He is redirecting us. We are scheduled to close and move into our new house in April. We are so grateful! Lancaster has an amazing legacy of faithful believers and we have enjoyed our visits to several local churches here. We look forward to fully engaging in one of them.
The house we are under contract for!
As for work, Laura is a StoryBrand Certified Guide, marketing consultant, and website designer. If you’re curious about what that means, you can take a look at her website: www.pulamarketing.com. She has customers locally and internationally whom she loves working with. Now that we plan to stay in Lancaster, she is continuing to grow her business while also being open to full-time jobs that would allow her to continue this line of work as part of a team. KG is continuing to provide regulatory support to some pharmaceutical companies with products in Botswana while studying hard for his pharmacy board exams in both the USA and Canada. We really appreciate prayer for us work-wise.
Children are a blessing
The girls are having a lot of fun through all this! They love and enjoy their grandparents. They think ‘Pops is tops’ and ‘Mumzy is the true Fancy Nancy’!
Our girls with their grandparents and cousins.