Lessons to Learn

Upon returning home we were bound to notice differences between our lives in Africa and our lives in Tucson. Here are just a few that stuck out:

Quality/ Constant Family Time-

One thing I absolutely love about our life in Tanzania is that it is so centered around family time. The lifestyle here promotes families doing everything together.  In fact, it is difficult to not do things together. I found that being in Tucson I was jealous of Austin’s time with others. Not in a crazy wife way, but simply because we spend so much time together here. We work together, hang out with friends together, go to the store together, live together and pretty much do everything together here. There are very few things we do separately. When we got to Tucson, we each got our own cars and headed off to hang out with our own friends and that was that. Although I liked the girl time, and I know he really misses the guy time in Africa, I love being able to do so much together. This is one thing I hope that we can bring back to our lives in Tucson when we are back home.

Image is Not an Issue-

Once in Tucson, I realized that I had not looked in a long mirror in 8 months, and I did not miss it one bit. As soon as we were there I wanted to check the mirror, make sure I looked good, put on more make up etc. In Tanzania, women who are bigger are seen as beautiful. When selling clothes the put women’s clothes on hangers that stretch them out so they are bigger because they are more appealing to the women here. If a women tells you, you are looking fatter it is nothing but a compliment. On top of that, the constant advertising that you get in the States with magazines, TV, movies and so much more is almost non-existent.

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting dressed up and most of the time I am over dressed for occasions here it is just not a priority here (besides your clothes get ruined too easily anyways.)

What I love about this is that getting your hair or nails done, shopping, or the other frivolous things that take up so much time in my life in America don’t even matter here. Instead, I can spend time with friends just hanging out and being real, reading a book, and saving oh so much money.

Sadly, while we were there many of my friends were talking about getting cosmetic surgery to enhance their beauty. I find this absolutely tragic. I am only 25 and girls my age feel the need to get surgery to fix themselves, and these are beautiful girls. I pray that they can find their beauty in the Lord who created them.

“ Let your beauty not be external – the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes – but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.”
1Peter 3:3-4

“The King is enthralled by your beauty, honor Him for He is your God.”

Psalm 45:11

Identity-

What do you do? This is such a common question to ask people in the US. I never noticed that until I had been gone for awhile.

Interestingly, I asked someone this question and they had a difficult time answering it due unemployment. They said that they had been in their position for so long that it was hard to know how to answer this question now.

This is when it struck me that in America, we are so wrapped up in titles. If you have a good job and have good schooling behind you then you are successful. That is how you are measured in society. Doctor, engineer, lawyer equals lots of respect, lots of success. Social worker, waitress, teacher (all three of which I have been), equals good hearted, kind but not as successful or accomplished. High pay, nice house, nice cars all the bells and whistles, that is the dream right? This is not a rant on American living, because really I love America and am so grateful for the freedoms we have and that we have the opportunity to succeed. I also know that this is not true of everyone but it is I would say it is a generalization that can be made about our society. Mostly, it is simply something I noticed that made me think twice.

My mother who was, and still is on the side, a well respected lawyer, left the world of law to be a teacher of theology. This transition was huge and she said that people literally looked at her differently with her new title. She is a brilliant, accomplished woman, but going from lawyer to teacher somehow made some people look at her with less respect. I was nothing but proud of her because she LOVES what she is doing and she is making a huge difference, but then again what do I know I am just a teacher too. : )

Anyways, here no one asks you this in the same manner. First they ask you how your family is, where you come from, how you grew up. Eventually they ask you what you do but it is not a major question.

I love this about life here. I am not defined at all by being a teacher. Instead I am defined by being a someone who loves her family, someone who loves community, someone who loves to have people around, by being a wife and a friend who calls even when living in Africa, by being a runner, and singer, someone who is attempting to cook, someone who loves adventure, a teacher who loves her students and most importantly someone who LOVES JESUS!

What is it that defines you?

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Mom on May 11, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Beautiful reflections, thanks. I love you.

    Reply

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