Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Week 7

Hey Everyone, It is now the seventh week since I left Baton Rouge. This week I have had to miss a couple days of classes at ANCC and go into London to attend a Management Training Seminar. How many personality tests have I taken? Don't ask! The International night went well Saturday. They ate all the Mississippi mud. :) A wonderful package arrived from my great aunt and uncle containing Tony's and the instant pudding mix right before I began cooking - so that was great. The British call any warm dessert a pudding; however, they do not really have the one thing Americans would call pudding. The closest thing is custard, but it is thinner and only comes in vanilla to be poured over cake (until it is literally swimming in the bowl). Classes are going well, with plenty of information. During week 10, each of the En Route class has to give a presentation on a culture or country addressing the topics presented during the course. When I came into London last night, I was taken to a Nepali restaurant. It was very good and I enjoyed talking with the owners and employees (from Kathmandu and Pokhara). Well, this will be just a short update - as it is coming from an internet cafe. Your newsy emails are a treat to receive. Thank you for your prayers. I really do appreciate them. Alot of what is happening is transitional right now, and there are times I miss people terribly - not to say anything is 'wrong' here - it's just that I miss those who are no longer near. But God in His gentleness has provided a good place and season of time for beginning culture shock in a very supportive environment that is also providing much preparatory training as well as with many others who are going through it or have gone through it. It is a kindness. He is very good.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Noteshare: Culture Shock

Ever thought about what it may be like to leave everything and move far way? Sounds exciting, right? Yes, it can be...but allow me to introduce the chart (something I've been shown many times by now during missions orientation classes). This graph represents what occurs emotionally to people who move to another culture called "culture shock." It just happens. It's normal. It has 4 general phases, which can vary in length. It takes time, different lengths for different people in different situations. Sometimes - a long time.
  1. Honeymoon stage: Emotions are positive. Everything is so different, exciting and new! 2. Crisis: Reality begins to hit. Everything is so different - and its ... well...not so great anymore. Emotions can be very negative. High stress levels, dissatisfaction with the change and health problems may occur. One day they feel great and the next can be terrible. Disorientation (you don't even know where the bathroom is unless you can ask correctly AND can also understand what your told, hopefully before...), foreign routines (everyone else knows when to sit, stand, eat, ask, leave, eat, drink, accept, decline, look in the eyes, don't look in the eyes, let your lips touch the cup, walk in a clockwise direction, spit - what's your problem??), foreign behaviorial cues (does a nod up/down or side to side mean "yes" or "no"? Does their laughter when talking to you indicate humor, embarassment, ridicule or frustration? If pointing your feet at anyone is an insult, how do you sit?). Time? Can mean NOTHING. What's wrong with spontaneously visiting you at 6am on a workday and then sitting in silence for a long time? Food? Bad topic. Don't ask about anything even remotely related to digestive health. And foreign language? Any preschooler can communicate better than you, and people cannot always cater to your limited vocabulary in order to have "intelligent" discussions. Or maybe if they just talk louder and enunciate clearly, you will understand? No? Well then, you'll just have to eat whatever it is in the bowl. Try not to cry. People are watching. 3. Gradual Recovery: Emotions begin to get back to normal. You are beginning to feel more comfortable with the change and feel like you have some understanding of the culture. 4. Gradual Adjustment: Grows accustomed to the new culture and develops routines. Becomes concerned with basic living again as you were in the old culture. Some other time, we'll talk about reverse culture shock. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ANCC International Night Next Saturday

OK friends, I need your input! On Saturday Oct 27th, there will be an international night here. People from different countries form groups to prepare food from their homeland and can present something (skit, jokes, trivia questions). There is only one other American here. She has lived in Tennessee, Pennselvania and Kenya (Africa). So, I'm researching what Cajun foods I could make from what is available here (maybe a gumbo and/or Mississippi Mud). Next to no one even knows what Cajun food is. For a presentation showing something "American", do you have any suggestions? Do you have any good clean jokes that we could use (that would be easily understood by an international audience)? What are some funny things peculiar to American culture? Of course, my immediate ideas are going to be pretty biased to the Southern region. Sayings like y'all, darlin, coke vs pop. Foods: ketchup as a seasoning, Tabasco, grits, iced tea, Hersheys (not available here). Any ideas?

Monday, October 15, 2007

What do you think?

On Wednesdays at ANCC, we split up into small groups in order to discuss a case study or topic relevant to missions. This past week was very interesting. We were given a story to read and then asked to discuss several questions. I will give you the story summary, and then tell me what you think by clicking on the "comment" link immediately below this post. If you do not want your comments publicly posted, just write that in. Case Study: A highly respected, degreed older man named Graham and his wife agree to serve as missionaries within an African mission. Upon arrival, Graham is told that the position he expected to fill has instead been filled by a very young African man named Geoffrey. Apparently, there are very few African men with qualifications, so the candidates have a great deal of power in selection and in keeping the position even if they do not perform their duties well. The older missionary is placed under the young candidate and given teaching assignments far below what he would ordinarily be expected due to his years of teaching experience. The younger candidate asks to see the older man's teaching materials and then "borrows" them without asking, declaring that he will not need them for his duties. The young candidate does not do his duties well at all while the older missionary is relegated to duties such as arranging the coke drinks for the Bishop meeting coming to town. The Africans do not seem appreciative or even concerned with Graham. Graham's wife is offended that these people are treating her husband like this. Why doesn't someone do something? Graham patiently endures and ploddingly serves, doing as he is requested. The young candidate grows worse in his teaching duties and still no one does anything. Eventually, Graham health fails and he has an incident with his heart. Doctors tell him to go back to his homeland. Suddenly, the church arranges a wonderful party with gifts and the Bishop even comes to tell him goodbye. Why are they behaving so differently? The Bishop explains that normally within African culture an older, more experienced man is respected; however, Graham's humble attitude under mistreatment during the entire term spoke loudly to everyone. Graham had taught everyone much by the way he lived. Why didn't the Bishop deal with the young man who was shirking his duties? The Bishop said that confrontation is not acceptable within the African culture. It is not their culture. They wait for the Holy Spirit to confront a person. In fact, the younger candidate just resigned on his own a few days ago and returned all of Graham's books to the main office. The end. Questions: Was Graham's family right to be defensive of him? How would you have handled the change of role if you were Graham? Was the Bishop weak? Do you think he could have handled it better? Should he have confronted the young candidate? How do you feel when you are passed over or sidelined? What motivates you for your mission (or goals)? How does your culture define success? How does the Bible define success? Are you ready for disappointments? Do our motivations require us to have success as the world defines it?

David & Jonathan Student Video

At ANCC, the student body meets in small groups, called tutorial groups, about three times a week to discuss topics, view missions presentations or pray. Every Wednesday morning, the entire student body meets and one of the tutorial groups will present a "lesson" using a Bible story. Apparently, a popular approach is for the students to carry around a video camera and make their own "home movie" version of the Bible story after which there will be a talk etc. Last week's focus was on friendships using the story of David and Jonathan. Strangely enough, Olga and I were drafted one afternoon for one of the scenes. It may not be as funny for you, but it was hilarious here - as we know all sites and people in the skit. Simeon (aka Jonathan) is on my morning chores team and agreed to post it on Youtube. He wasn't able to put the beginning scenes on which were set up Star Wars (Saul Wars) style with background descriptions fading into distant galaxies. King Saul is played by a favorite lecturer here. and yes, it is raining in one of the scenes. Hope that you enjoy it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp-6dHbszRQ

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Photoshare: Walk into Ware

These photos come from a weekend walk with some classmates. I've learned that a European "walk" is usually at least a couple hours long. :) The nearest Anglican church: St. Andrews.

The trees are turning colors beautifully. Most homes consist of two connected units (sort of like town homes). It is very expesive to have a separate home. There are some really lovely gardens. We stopped somewhere for some tea.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Question

Could someone please tell me how to start new paragraphs within blog postings? Sometimes it seems to do it, other times it turns my post into one long paragraph - even when the preview looks different. It seems to ignore every time I hit enter to separate paragraphs or points! Help!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Intro to my En Route Class

video

My En Route Class:

Ernst & Meike (German, parents of "beautiful baby" Sophia)

Olga (my German roommate)

Thea (Dutch)

Tim (UK)

Mike (UK)

David (UK)

Huai En (Taiwan)

Eva (Taiwan)

Phil (UK)

Carolina (Brazil)

Chillie (Norway)

Liz (UK)

Andrea (UK/missionary to Nepal - helping to develop this as an ecourse)

Paul Davies (UK/10yrs Argentina/1yr Mississippi -guest lecturer this week)

Carolyn (UK - another course leader)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Olga & Jantina

video

Why am I up late tonight??? I really do not mind too much because my German roommate, Olga, is helping a Dutch student, Jantina (pronounced Yantina), with a Russian song. It is very pretty to listen to, yes?