Cultural Assimilation

by - February 10, 2016

Sometimes I practice my Dirty Harry face.  I squint up my eyes and kind of squinch up my lips to try and look a little more tough, and a little less like a target as I walk through crowded streets in far away lands where the trees talk.  Our partners are always so attentive and try to protect me/us from people who may be willing to risk taking a chance on me to get my backpack or phone.  That kind of thing could happen anywhere, but there have been a few places lately where we had to think about it a little more.   I’ve been told I do not blend in well, so I do a little extra to look like someone that may not blend in, but is not easy to mess with.  I’m sure it works. Some times I sneak a smile at someone who’s eye I catch.  Especially if they are very young or very old.  Have I mentioned I love older people?  What if no one else has been friendly to them today?  What if they prayed for someone to just see them today?  It’s the Jesus and Glenda in me.  The Haley in me is all Dirty Harry faced and nothing but business as she strolls through your streets in her black knee high boots, that one half-price Dillard’s outfit she has to do training in and her purple back pack strapped around front so you can’t get into it behind her. All spice no sugar.

I got my first lesson in blending in many years ago during my first trip to New York during another lifetime.  I wore my cuuute red capris and a great shirt with some splashes of color on it.  It was my “I’m going to New York and I’m cute” outfit.  I walked into the office of my New York bosses and one of them looked me up and down and asked what other clothes I brought.  I assured her everything else was black.  The next day, dressed in black,  I greeted everyone who got on the elevator we were riding with a little “good morning” or “hello.”  I was told “we don’t speak to everyone who gets on the elevator.”  Noted.  Wear black. Don’t speak.  She was just helping me culturally assimilate.  Right? Right.

Today, I’m not wearing red capris.  Today,  I’m wearing my red Canadian Mounty winter coat.  I’m sure to culturally assimilate in this.  This morning’s 4 am wake up call came about 30 minutes after I actually woke up.  Tomorrow’s wake up call will be even earlier as we head to the next airport, the next plane, and next destination.  But, not just the next people.  My heart is already there.  I met these friends last year, and I’m so excited to be with them again.  These journeys can be a little stressful, but following Jesus wherever He leads is always worth it, and the people I get to call friends change me a little bit at every stop.  Sometimes I get a little distracted by the stress of the journey.  I really wish I didn’t waste that time.  I love this beautiful life and am so very thankful.  Sometimes stressful. Sometimes isolating.  Sometimes exhausting.  I’m not sure why none of my flights can be at a time that does not leave me feeling a bit like a walking zombie.  (I’m just assuming how walking Zombie’s feel) and (I don’t really believe in Zombies), but when I am weak…Someone else’s strength is more real to me.  I will boast in and be thankful for my weakness for just that reason. His grace is always sufficient for me.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)  I’m not nearly such a boss when I’m tired and cold and have some kind of inner ear/sinus thing happening.  But, He.  He is a boss.  The mountains He moves…  I pray wherever you are as you read this you might stop and ask where He is in your life?  Have you looked for him?  Jeremiah 29:13-14.

I’m at my fun friend’s house now smelling crock pot chicken and mashed potatoes. I've already started faking a Canadian accent.  It just happens, and I don't know how to stop it.  I’m all checked into their guest room, and am feeling at home, far away from home.  Happy sigh.

Flying into Canada looks a lot different than flying into South America… Here was the view out my window earlier today. I was a little intimidated by the forecasted temperature.  And it is cold, but it is still planet Earth.  People are walking around.  No one is a frozen statue as soon as they walk outside.  Groceries are being bought, coffee is being drunk.  Schools are in session.  Church doors are open.  Cars are driving around with people inside of them.  It's just cold.   I like it up here.

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