Have You Seen? {August 18, 2019}

Welcome to Have You Seen? We’ll review last week and share other posts from around the web. Enjoy rest and renewal while you cozy up for some soul-food reading. 

Thrive Ministry hosts retreats for North American women serving cross-culturally. These retreats are an opportunity to be fed spiritually, emotionally and physically and connect with other expat women. Their Brazil retreat will be in April 2020, and registration just opened up! Visit their website to learn more!

Last Week’s Theme: Welcome to the Field

No Matter What, He is Faithful by Sarah Hilkemann—”I want to say to you, sister on the brink of this life overseas, that you have SO much fun in store for you. I’m smiling remembering those early days and all I thought I knew but didn’t. I’m giggling over my language mistakes and misunderstandings and one day you will too. You’ll figure out where to find your groceries, how to cross the street, how to survive in your new home. But don’t get me wrong. It will be hard. The “honeymoon stage” of cross-cultural adjustment will wear off. No exceptions. I hate that for you, thinking of the challenges you might have to face, the scars your own heart will come to bear. I wish it didn’t have to be that way, that you could live from one adventure to another.”

In Which Britt-Marie Reminds Me of Tom Hanks {Book Club} by Amy Young—”In my notes I wrote, ‘It is difficult at times to know who you are when you are alone.’ Britt-Marie is a castaway too. In the aftermath of her life exploding, like Tom, she finds herself making unlikely connections as she is needing to rediscover herself. (One could argue she needs to discover herself, no ‘re’ about it. The death of her sister in childhood sure influenced her emotional well-being.)”

When the Road is Rocky: A Resource by Velvet Ashes Team—”Serving cross-culturally is stressful with many challenges and rewards. You probably tend to everyone else’s needs first: nationals, teammates, spouses, children, friends, etc. Eventually, you run out of steam, hit a wall, or feel lost, confused, guilty, or ashamed. You are the reason that GRC exists. Let us help you navigate the challenges of being a global worker and fulfilling your calling to your work and family with joy, peace, and grace.”

A Letter Welcoming You (Back or For the First Time) {The Grove: Welcome to the Field} by Lilly—”I know you are feeling a world of emotions these days. You’re glad to be back in your own place and that some things are familiar. You bless God for your house helper able to come and help when you are jet lagging, something you didn’t have back in the US. It is a blessing to hear the language you are learning and see you haven’t forgotten it all. But, even as you understand some of it, when you try to speak, you also remember that you are about two years old in your ability to speak it. You want others to know that you are actually intelligent, really. Because it doesn’t sound like you are.”

From Around the Web

How Do You “Home on-the-Go?”

When Life Knocks You Down Again


Finally, When Life Seems Counter To God’s Will

And Now For Next Week

The theme is…

“Culture shock: A state of anxious confusion experienced by someone exposed to an alien or unfamiliar environment.”

  • American Heritage Dictionary

It might only take stepping outside your door to feel the reverberations of culture shock, or the subtle differences might feel more like you are just a little bit off balance, searching for something stable to hold on to. Culture shock can feel like a glorious adventure or tiny frustration bubbles, and a whole range of emotions stirred up all in one day.

It can cause us to grumble or compare. We might want to run away, back to all that is familiar and known, where our hearts already feel oriented and safe. We might even become critical.

But as we settle in, keep asking questions and renewing hope within, those culture shock moments can turn in to “aha” stories. So this is why it happens this way here! Now I understand! And the strange becomes familiar.

What are your culture shock stories?

We have some great insight coming this week from the posts, and even a giveaway so you want to stay tuned! How do you deal with culture shock in a way that is healthy? What caught you the most off guard when you first arrived in your new culture?

Share your culture shock stories and thoughts with us this week on Instagram with the hashtag #VelvetAshesWelcometoCultureShock.

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