(Reverse) Culture Shock

I’ve been back in the US for a week now. My family picked me up at the airport in Dallas. My parents met me inside the building and my brother waited with his dog (my niece, Alleigh) outside. I was happy to see them all and happy to be off the plane and be able to walk freely and stretch my legs. Until the heat hit me, and then I was happy to be in an air conditioned car. Our first stop was for ice cream and our second stop was to get me a fishing license, then we went to a state park and camped for a few days. I drowned several worms and caught no fish, but it was fun. We played cards and horseshoes. I was struggling pretty badly with jet lag, and my brother took it upon himself to keep me awake each day.
Not counting jet lag, I believe there is something about me that makes travelling easier than it might be for others. I always hear about “culture shock,” but when I arrived in Uganda, I didn’t feel a strong sense of culture shock. It was more like mild surprise. Of course, there were things that were different and things that took time to get accustomed to, but I never felt real anxiety about my unfamiliar surroundings. The fact that I was staying with a couple from North America probably made things easier.
I attended church this morning in my hometown church. I’m probably not on their member lists anymore since I spent 5 years away at 2 universities, but I’ve considered it my church since high school. It’s a conservative church in a conservative area. The last church I went to before this morning was Watoto Church. My church here is slightly different. For instance, there’s space between people. The worship team sang, standing still on the stage with their mic stands. Some people worshipped quietly where they stood. Half the congregation looked half-asleep. There was no one shouting, clapping, or dancing. There were no elderly choir members running down the stairs and off the stage to run around the front of the church in sheer joy. In fact, there is no choir. Cue the mild culture surprise.
Today was a ministry fair, where they had videos made and booths set up outside the sanctuary to make everyone in the body aware of the different ministries our church is involved in. It did my heart good to hear about the prison ministry and the juvenile detention center ministry, as well as the involvement different church members have in Africa. The guest speaker today was a guy from South Africa whose ministry is planting churches all over the continent. They showed pictures of people from my church teaching and discipling people in Uganda and in other African countries. My mom leaned over to me and asked if seeing all those images was making me homesick. I smiled. Yes.

Things I miss about Uganda:
Friends
Watoto
Watoto farms
Feeling good about work
Pineapple
Good bananas
Stoney Tangawizi

Difficult things:
I’m at a turning point in my life. I have no idea where I will live next or what I will be doing.
Answering everyone’s favorite question: “So, what will you do next?” (See above)

Things I’m enjoying here:
Family
Friends
Pets
Mexican food
Iced tea
Strawberries
Cheap ice cream
Driving

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