February 16, 2007

6 months and a week...

So we've been here 6 months now. Anthony got to blogger last Friday before I did, and I didn't want to usurp his post.
It's amazing all that's happened in 6 months.
This might be long...but read if you want.

I'm here to share some of the ways we've changed.
Or maybe just describe our existence now.
As much as you may think of us as our "pre-move" selves,
We're different.
It's inevitable.
Our change was ordained long ago.
For us to walk in...for our good.

I can't go outside to check the mail or get something out of the car
without having my legs covered to the knees.
Our neighbors might see me and think the worst.
"There goes the neighborhood" translates into other languages you know.
So most of the time, I just leave whatever it is I need in the car...
It can wait.
I don't want to go outside because that means putting on pants...
and pants are hot.

But I do wear pants everyday when I go 'out.'
Out for real I mean, not just to the car.
I love these people and their modesty.
Because of their modesty, I had an excuse to buy
super-cute pants at JCrew before I left.
I also bought a couple cute long-sleeve shirts from the likes of
Ann Taylor Loft, Gap, JCrew, and uh...what was the name of that other one?
Not sure...I forget...It's been 6 months.

And 6 months of long sleeves and cute JCrew pants ain't half bad.
Even when the average temperature is 28.
That's right...we're learning CELSIUS temperatures.
They're shocked to hear that our home state of Florida can reach 40 degrees in the summer.
"40 degrees? Wow...panas lah"-is what they say.
"Yuh...sangat panas di musim panas"- is my confirmation to them.

Not that my language skills are that great.
Anthony is pulling ahead.
He's so smart. I love it when he speaks Bahasa.
He speaks with an American accent...
that's where my "ghetto" genius comes in...I'm smart too...
but with sounding like them, not necessarily using the right words.
The guys in Chinatown here believe me when I declare
"MAHAL NYA!" at their ridiculous price...
That means "EXPENSIVE!"
Then I say a lower price, in Bahasa, and I get it...

But its incredible to speak another language.
However craptacular I speak it.
Am I really becoming a person that is bi-lingual?
Gosh that's a cool title.
Bi-lingual? Oh yes, Sharon's bi-lingual.
My friend Cara speaks 2 languages, my friend Sarah speaks 3, my Indian neighbor's son speaks 4, and the Senegalese dishwasher at Outback in Louisville speaks 8.
I'm excited about becoming truly bi-lingual...in a couple years or so.
But I'm sure if any of you came here now, you'd notice a difference in us when we relate to our neighbors.
Can't put my finger on that difference, but you'd realize it.

Maybe its a change in how we view those that are 'different.'
Different colors
Different religions
Different languages
Don't get me wrong. My mama didn't raise no fool.
I've always had friends that were 'different' than me.
You can't really not in the US
But now we realize that the precious (That's right, she's precious!)
Mexican woman at Wal-mart with kids around her is totally confused as to what she should buy.
She might stare at someone hoping they help her.
I'll never again hold it against 'her' that she hasn't "picked up" English yet.

The Mexican guys loitering outside the grocery store do it because they like it.
Not to bother me. Not to make me feel afraid.
They're just chillin'- and NO, they don't understand the "No Loitering" sign.
But they'd understand way more in Mexico than I ever could.
They're probably hoping for someone to hire them for a small job of some sort too.
As illegal as it might be, as someone in another country that hopes she can find a job and get a work visa when the time comes...
I feel their desperation.
And the lost feeling at the grocery store.

We've asked for a heart for the nations...
one of the differences is that we realize the heart we can have at home for the nations.
My heart inevitably changed when I was that woman confused as to how to buy vegetables at Tesco. (British version of Walmart)
Here I have to take it to the lady who weighs it and puts the price sticker on it IN the produce department.
That may seem like nothing, but when I took my bananas, tomatoes, and green beans up to the check-out counter and the lady looked at me like I was crazy, I didn't even know how to ask what was wrong.
Then she turned to the bag boy and said something that I didn't understand.
The Chinese people in line behind me could have killed with the "You're stupid" looks.
That really happened.
After recovering from the humiliation and frustration
(Because I'm SO capable of going to the grocery store back home...don't they know that?)
I remember how I was that lady giving the 'UGH!" stares behind the Spanish-speaking lady in front of me that didn't understand what she could use her food stamps for.

Never again.

We're not even gonna get into the food.
Well, maybe a little.
We eat with one hand at our friends' homes.
While sitting on the floor.
Ever peeled a shrimp with one hand? (while you're balancing your plate as your legs go to sleep because you're on the floor?)

I have this "Drink to food" ratio that must be equal for me to enjoy my food.
The cups are abnormally small here.
At a birthday party Tuesday night I went half the meal without a cup even in sight.
I'm not looking for sympathy.
And don't hold it against my hostess.
Be excited for me.
I get to eat shrimp with one hand, mix spicy veges with rice, and bare it all without much to drink.
The cups are half the size I 'need' when they do come.
It's just not 'their' way of doing things.
And its ok. They're so hospitable...and I love shrimp
even if its mangled by the time it gets to my mouth.
Although I have wondered what they'd think about the ginormous tea glasses at Sonny's BBQ.

We think of home.
We wonder if it will ever be 'home' again.
We see how home prepared us for here.
Our friends, family, and experiences were all exactly what we needed before moving here.
Here is great.
When we have kids, they'll think of this as home.
One handed shrimp eating, small glasses, and tile floors will be home.
Not Sonny's BBQ.
Hopefully they'll be bi-lingual.

Weird as it is, we're learning to live, accept, and even love it.
So when we come back- hopefully not for another couple years or so,
we may not act the same.
Sorry if you don't feel like you know us as well then.
It's ok.
We'll be altered.
But probably still funny.
My JCrew pants will be SO out of style by then.
But if your heart trusts in the Lord, praise him with us for all that he's doing.
Doing to change us.
To make us different.
To adapt us to here so we're not so weird to those we need to show Love to.
Love that will change them for the better...
just like it's changing us.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful way to start my day so that I can think upon it throughout - thank you for sharing your heart...and yes, you both will always be funny! MammaL

Chanclers said...

you make me so happy. and I kinda want to cry. but I won't. I usually hate change. but this change is really really cool.

Anthony and Sharon said...

SOMEbody's extra emotional...
but yes, this change is double cool.

Cara said...

I actually DID get a little misty! *sniffle*
Also, thanks for the BFF shout-out. <3 you guys...

Doug Jett said...

Preach it girl!! You're right on the money. I have the same problem with the glasses here. One drink and I'm ready for a refill (by the way, refills aren't free). Even shopping I couldn't find a glass big enough, so I had a friend bring some with him when he came for a visit. And it's so funny how modesty can be so different from place to place. Here, the tighter, and less material the better. Thanks for the post. I'll be reading.

Amish said...

Lori and I have been following your blog for a while now. This post demands a comment because it so moved me. You touched me where I live. In self-appointed better-than-thou land. Lord, please forgive me.

donna said...

Wow I miss you guys so much...I am sitting here with Joanna talking about a summer I spent in SEA and all that happened. We want to come visit but money is too tight right now. Praying for you. Great plans are in the works for me as I'll be finishing school...hopefully setting out on my own adventures in a year or so!

Jennifer B said...

Anthony and Sharon....you guys are so good at expressing what is inside. When I can't understand my own feelings, I think I'll check out your blog because chances are, there will be something written there that will put my feelings into words for me. :-) I'm going to have my parents read this! (they come in 10 days!!!!) Jennifer B

elizabeth said...

Sharon... this is probably the most delayed blog comment ever sent or received, but I couldn't resist... well actually I can because there's so much I want to say in response that I think I should send an email instead. Thanks for sharing your heart and all the ways you are changing.