You've got growin' up to do.

I'm the kind of person who's always trying to think of ways to describe things, always looking for analogies and metaphors to help make sense of the world I live in. This morning, during my daily time of coffee-drinking, Bible-reading, and thought-thinking, I found one of those funny comparisons.

Living in a foreign country is a lot like growing up.

You pack up your whole life, or at least most of it, and completely start over. If you're lucky, like myself, you get to start with a family. Either way, you wake up one day and realize you don't know what anybody is saying, and people are talking all around you but all you hear is an endless stream of sounds. Maybe you want to say something, but like a baby crying, it just comes out as a desperate look on your face. Then one by one you start to separate the sounds you hear into words, and even try saying a few of them. You feel exactly like a two year old who doesn't know how to say, "I'd jolly-well like a tall glass of cool water, please. I'm parched." But you can say "water" or maybe even "want water," so that'll have to do for awhile.

After some time, you start paying attention to the way things are done. You remember that you need to turn left or right to get to this or that place. One day, when she thinks you're ready, your mom (or roommate) sends you to the store by yourself. I remember a time when I was about 5 years old and my aunt sent me into a local gas station with a dollar to buy a pack of gum. I rehearsed in my mind what to say, how to give the money to the cashier, whether or not I should push or pull the door on my way out... And just like that, you find you're a mostly-grown woman waiting in line with a bag of what you hope is laundry soap, mentally preparing yourself to pay for it.

Then you walk home, satisfied, humming "I won't fall, I am titanium!" You grew up a bit today.

That's life, isn't it? Foreign country or hometown, it doesn't matter. There will always be change, planting you smack in the middle of something new and strange. So here's to learning, adapting, and working with change instead of against it -- in the words of Barney the Purple Dinosaur, "because I'm growing, and so are you."


Jennifer said...

So true. Growth means changing and adapting. I'm not the biggest fan of change, but lately I've been looking forward to changing and moving out of my comfort zone- sorta.

So glad you are integrating! It's fun to read. :)

Kels said...

Love this. You beautifully and 100% accurately described what it's like to fall head first into a new culture and life. :)