Do you remember that one thing called culture shock? Yep well it’s been said that there are four different stages. Excitement, Frustration, Adjustment, and Acceptance. I’ve been in South Asia for almost four months now and I think I’m slowly working through the frustration phase. Three months ago if you could read my mind it would have gone something like this, “I love all the colors of this place! The food is amazing and I love talking to the people. Everything about this place is so exciting.” About a week ago it went like this, “Why do people here drive like maniacs? I don’t understand the mindset of only doing whatever you can to get ahead! Where is everyone and why can they only meet in the evenings when it’s inconvenient for me?! Ugh I just don’t understand this place!” Of course a moment later I become more like myself and try to be more optimistic.
As I take a step back, I realize that honestly I’ve become like my little niece born last year. I become like a baby again learning how to walk and grow up. My mood changes several times in a day, with excitement and frustration. I’m content and at peace during devotions, then I become frustrated with language. Later, I crack some secret in the language learning to uplift my mood again. I’ve been spending a lot of time listening and observing which is what a baby does when they’re born. It’s amazing to me how babies learn so much just by observing and copying their mom and dad’s facial expressions or sounds. After months of listening and duplicating words, to my great surprise I love when I can actually make some sort of Hindi baby talk and others understand me. Especially on days like today, when I was able to carry a small conversation in Hindi that is more than how you’re feeling and the cold weather. Over the past several months I’ve been able to continually digest more and more Hindi as we study. This is the most exciting. On the contrary, the most frustrating part lately has been that I want to be so much further than I am..basically I want to be fluent, which at the present moment is very unrealistic. I’m sure if I could read Naomi’s mind, she would desperately want to walk, but can’t figure out her balance and where to put her feet. For me, I don’t know where to put my words to form a sentence and can’t spend enough time speaking conversational Hindi. Here’s the most exciting part though, as a baby quickly gets the hang of walking, I believe that as I gain more language I’ll quickly get the hang of speaking conversational. So even in this stage of frustration I’ve determined that I would take it one step at a time. Literally step by step every day. Step by step looking for where God is present and where His light is leading me, to the right people who are spiritually seeking or practicing language. Step by step in prayer for this part of the world and multiple prayer requests I hear of. Step by step in finding ways to cope with missing family or America. Step by step in playing the role that God has cast for me in this real life story that He has written.