Friday, June 23, 2006
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I remember enduring stress as fifteen year old, when my family took our first out-of-the-country trip to Argentina to visit with my grandfather and relatives for a few weeks. I had been taking Spanish to help prepare, but found myself longing for home, my friends, and familiar ways of doing things. Everything was 'weird' and it didn't take long for me to be counting the days until departure for SC.
After graduating college, two weeks after 9/11, I had a chance to visit friends in Austria and the Czech Republic. For the first hour that I was in Europe, I think I cried, worried, and almost peed my pants while a taxi driver whom I was convinced was really part of the Austrian Mafia ready to take me to a schnitzel house and slit my throat tried to figure out where he was supposed to take me through a language barrier. (Note: for more details on this story, please inquire personally).
My journal entry from my first mission trip to Sri Lanka is complete with drawings of streets with cows, rickshaws, bicycles, people, and mud...my first experience there involved the Missions Director praying over me so I wouldn't get carsick (I had never dealt with motion sickness before) and me just barely making it to the toilet in the lobby of the hotel before losing my airplane breakfast.
I could go on....I may be boring you. Am I boring you????
Well, for your time's sake and mine, I'll fast forward to this experience in Israel/Palestine, and would like to share a little bit of wisdom and knowledge that I have obtained from my way-too-expensive Master's Degree in Cross Cultural Studies and Leadership Development...
Culture Shock is a very real issue that people must deal with not only when they arrive in a host country, but also sometimes when they return home.
Some symptoms of culture shock:
- Heightened irritabilty
- Constant complaints
- Criticism of people & culture
- Preoccupation of being robbed or cheated
- Refusal to learn language
- Utopian ideas of home culture
- Preoccupation with going home
A lot of culture shock
I'll suffice it to say that we have been experiencing some culture shock within our 'team' and need a little extra time and space. But that is NORMAL and OKAY. Ah, the joys of traveling.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
The Adventure Begins!
We made it into Tel Aviv on Friday, June 9, and were greeted by John, Pepper, John and Denice (Brandon's Bro, Sis-in-Law, Dad and Mom) at the airport. It was late, but Tel Aviv was hopping! We stayed at a hostel about 2 blocks from the beach, and the nightclubs were bumping their beats well into the morning...actually all night until the sun came up. They say, "Work in Haifa, Worship in Jerusalem, and Play in Tel Aviv." I guess the people there got the memo.
We headed to Galilee via Nazareth, and spent some time at an reenactment of a 1st Century Nazareth village where Jesus probably lived and learned carpentry. As we drove through the hills of the countryside, we all got excited to see the Sea of Galilee where the disciples were called and Jesus did much of his ministry. We stayed with an American couple who have a Study Center/house there, and were very thankful for the wonderful accomodations and yummy food while overlooking the breathtaking water. Throughout our 3 day stay in Galilee we hit almost all of the toursity sites. Our personal highlights: Tabgah: the area where Jesus met the disciples after the resurrection and instructed them to throw their net over the other side of the boat, a 3000 year old gate thought to be the one Abraham walked through when he was being obedient to God and came from Ur, Peter mother-in-law's home, which is said to be one of the first house churches, & the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. Here, we stood in different spots on the mountain that was naturally shaped like a roman ampitheatre, and Papa John stood down at the bottom as Jesus was believed to have been. From there, he spoke in a normal voice, and we were all able to hear him as he read from Matthew 5-7. It was a great experience, and really made the Word come alive to us!
Also, to remind ourselves that it is a small world...
While we were in the northern Galilee area of Tel Dan (the place where the tribe of Dan finally settled), we were exploring the ruins of the city walls and gates when someone called out, "Nicole!". I turned around and gasped to see at friend and co-worker of my mom's coming towards me. Heather Matthews was a news broadcaster in Columbia for many years before she made the move to Nexsen Pruet, where my mom also worked. There they became friends, and Heather's love for the Lord and sweet personality was evident to Mom. I also enjoyed getting to know Heather during my visits to the office, and was really surprised to see her there...out of business attire and into tourist mode! She and her husband, Jim, had come with a group from Columbia and just happened upon us in a remote area of Israel! What a glimmer of encouragement that Our Father knows us where we are, and is even concerned enough to allow small spurts of joy throughout our day.