“mama said there be days like this…”

yeah, the Van Morrison song, not the similarly titled one by the Shirelles although that’s great for dancing around the house. Today, I am not dancing. I have been in my house for a day and a half, mostly in bed. I wonder if my Mama knew that I’d run off one day with my old man to some foreign country?

When I was about  4 years old my mom had a book club subscription and in addition to Dr. Seuss and P. D. Eastman we received oversized books on various countries with a language glossary in the back. I remember sitting on the floor with those giant books in my lap practicing how to say hello and No! in Russian, French and Italian. My mom had taught me how to read at 3 1/2 so I would give her some peace. Books have always been my friends. Thanks Mom, wherever you are.

There be days like this…when I don’t want to hear any other language but my own. I don’t want to study another irregular verb! I truly understand how language divides people now. I have always thought languages are so cool, and still do. And yet, I also see how languages divide. The Tower of Babel rears it’s ugly head everyday in our world as we struggle (or not) to understand those who don’t speak our language. They don’t speak US! That’s what makes the language of truth so beautiful. We have commonality that transcends any language or cultural barrier.

I spoke to a sister in our hall who majored in English here before coming into the truth. I confided how overwhelmed I feel at times…not emotionally equipped at times to deal with all the hugging and kissing at every meeting & every greeting…After the 15th person sometimes I am done, but you can’t be because it’s rude here and I truly don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. She told me I have no idea how many times she’s heard that from foreign sisters, both North American and Australian, that emotionally it can be quite daunting. That made me feel better, I am not such an odd duck!

odd duck

There are times when you start the same conversation over 5 times because it is the culture here to interrupt and kiss and hug and greet with “Como Estas” or some variation. It is not interrupting here, it is greeting. Most days I flow with it. Other days, few thank goodness but it happens, I can’t handle it. Those are the days when I miss my daughter and my son and our family and friends back in the States. Those are the days when I just want to walk into Walmart (did I say I hated that place…I take it back!!!) get a box of Hostess Snowballs and eat the whole thing in my car while watching all the crazy looking people walk by! Those are the days when I walk down the street and I am not reveling in the fact that Cuenca is awash in Spanish, Quechua, Italian, German, French and Chinese speaking people. I don’t care on those days.

So on days like this I go into my Hidey Hole, known as my bedroom. I sleep, eat my favorite cold cereal with rice milk and listen to Van Morrison. I pray for the day when we all will be understood. When we will respect and love our universal culture as well as the differences we will all still have. We will be able to chat and laugh about US in one beautiful language, whatever that will be….on the “Bright Side Of The Road”…yeah more Van.


7 thoughts on ““mama said there be days like this…”

  1. Liss says:

    Hi Chante,

    I do enjoy reading your posts. Entiendo completely what you are talking about as I often feel like that being here in our Spanish cong in the Cayman Islands. One couple who went through the same thing suggested that when we feel like that, we visit perhaps visit an English congregation and enjoy the full program in our own language. We have tried it and it worked for us. It was a nice little boost. I am sure there are many who appreciate your very hard effort to learn a new language so as to help them learn about Jehovah. You are certainly encouraging to my hubby and I who moved to the Spanish cong as of Jan 1 in preparation for our move to Ecuador in near future. Jehovah surely does appreciate it and will bless you both tremendously. Keep up the fine work. Agape -Liss

    1. Liss, I can’t tell you how much we both appreciated your comment. After prayerful thought we have decided to visit the English probably 1x per month, for instance the upcoming Special Talk. We had a telecast of the Branch meeting on Sunday and it was such a treat that the last hour long talk was given by a brother from Brooklyn and translated into Spanish. We were on cloud nine! Keep up the good work and hope to meet you soon!

  2. Shannon Mundy says:

    Dear Chante’

    You are such a clever gifted writer. I feel like I am sitting right next to you wanting to laugh or cry with you. We are traveling to Conocoto in June for 3 weeks to participate in Spanish and English ministry. Troy and Lorene Saunders will be our guides. I am so excited but also am realistic that there will be culture shock so I read everything I could find. Viola! Your words of insight have been so helpful! Thank you for sharing your life.

    Love from a rainbow family in Lexington, KY (University Congregation)
    Shannon Mundy

  3. Kim McLin says:

    Hang in there! Tomorrow always holds the possibility of feeling completely different! Miss y’all! Love you too. I think when you look back on all this, you’ll be glad to have had the experience despite the homesick awkward times and you’ll have your memoir (which is almost like a book now) to recount the times. I am very proud of my dad and stepmom, and I know that I and many others in in the states and in Ecuador are encouraged and inspired by your (plural) courage and ministry. We really do enjoy and look forward to your posts. I hope today is extra sunny. Love, Love Love from your family! Xoxo

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