Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A New Normal

Whenever someone moves, things are different.  Somehow you have to find a way to adjust to a new community and a new way of life.  But when you move from a small missionary community in rural Africa to a big city in Canada, it’s a little more drastic.  This happened to me about seven months ago.  I’ve received a number of comments from people since I’ve come back.  Questions like “Are you happy to be back?” or comments like “That must have been such a great experience!”  To be completely honest, my life in Uganda was not an experience.  It was quite simply…well…life.  To me, it was completely normal.  It was normal to have people in and out of my house every day.  It was normal to know all of my neighbours.  It was normal to hear a different language being spoken all around me.  It was normal to go to three-hour church services where everything was translated.  It was normal to walk everywhere I went.  It was normal to have water fights on Christmas day.  It was even normal to be stared at because I looked completely different from the people around me.  But it was definitely different from my life in Canada.  And when we moved back seven months ago, that became very clear to me.  Suddenly I realized that all the things that had been normal to me seemed strange and exotic to all the people around me.  No one thought of coming to the house to ask for a cup of flour when they ran out.  No one stopped to ask me how I was doing as I walked to the mailbox.  The majority of people spoke English.  Church services had barely started before they were finished. And no one shouted “Muzungu!” at me as I walked into the grocery store.  Strange… But in the past seven months I’ve learned that these things take time.  And although it can be difficult, eventually a new normal develops.  Normal means putting on a coat before I go outside.  Normal means hot water and school in the basement and playing piano.  Normal means driving to friends’ houses and choosing between 20 different brands of six different varieties of butter.  Normal means planning activities and singing English songs at church.  Normal means fast internet and electricity all the time. (Amazing!) While all these things have become normal to me now, I still miss the old normal every day.  I miss chatting with little kids in Luganda.  I miss having a friend come for a surprise visit.  I miss the warm weather and the number of times I’m saying, “I’m fine and how are you?” But for now, I’m still learning to be satisfied with the “new normal” and I keep trying to find it every day.  

No comments:

Post a Comment