This week I realized that it has been 8 months since we agreed to turn an unwanted opportunity into an adventure. Today as I type this the last box has just been unpacked, the pictures are hung, and we’ve taken one quick spin around the compound on the Harley – celebrating that we are finally settled!
This weekend we shopped at one of the stores that we were in, on my first day here, causing me to reflect on that day:
- Shortly after 3 AM the anticipated call to prayer blared from a speaker.
- Once we were up we drove on roads that have lanes painted on them, however those lanes really don’t mean anything, as drivers simply drive wherever they want, whenever they want with no driving protocol or enforcement.
- As a woman – driving is not a wise option for me. (It’s not a law, but you can get arrested if you do it!)
- I was wearing my new black “cloak of invisibility.” (In case you wondered, it is effective – as my husband quickly discovered how difficult it was to identify his wife when everyone is wearing a cloaking device! Since that day we have wondered how small children learn to identify their mothers in a crowd and joked that perhaps I should add a huge Harley Davidson decal to the back of my “cloak” so he can spot me in a crowd!)
- Trying to comprehend this logic: Public displays of affection between men and women – (like holding hands while you are shopping) are frowned upon, however it is culturally acceptable for men to hold hands with each other as they shop.
- Taking a step back in time when we went for lunch as we had to watch what door we entered, what line we stood in and where we sat to eat. (All based on if you are a man or a woman or with a family. …Giving us the tiniest taste of what the deep-south was like in the United States for many years.)
- Beginning to learn that if you don’t plan well, your schedule will be interrupted multiple times a day as stores and restaurants close multiple times for prayer.
As I paused to reflect, I also looked ahead reminding myself that In our multiple moves within our home country there is a consistent pattern:
- Each time we’ve moved the first 3 months are filled with excitement and adventure!
- And just as consistently the next 3 months are the most challenging, as the adventure begins to wear off and you really really really miss the familiar.
Today I am less than 10 days away starting that “second trimester” even though my husband has been here longer.
- Part of me is sure this will be easier than in the past because of the strong expat community.
- The other part of me is not at all sure what the next few months will be like, as it is also customary for a majority of the wives and children to leave the country in the summer. (Most of them are already gone – partially to avoid the heat, and partially to avoid the month- long faith-based holiday that alters life even further.)
In the midst of those wonderings I am reminded of why I said yes to this opportunity:
- To practice what I frequently teach: There is growth and life and miracles outside of my comfort zone
- To experience a culture instead of judging it
- To travel, to learn from others, and to get much better at geography
- To really learn that no person, no law, no country, no “cloak“, no seating arrangement and no driving restrictions determine my purpose or my value
- To walk in faith believing that this is the next step in our path that we are supposed to be here to learn something that will help us live our purpose at a higher level
So this is where the metal meets the road. Where my ability to hold onto that vision sets the stage for the rest of our experience here…
There are several things I typically do to hold onto a vision and I’ll gladly share them in a future post. Today I’m looking for fresh ideas and would love to hear from you! Please share:
- Are you in the pursuit of a vision? What changes/challenges have you faced? How do you hold onto your vision when you are outside of your comfort zone?
Image credit: iStock