It’s my third day in Colorado, and I think I’m finally getting used to the altitude—or at least I’m beginning to adapt to it. My altitude-sickness headache has finally gone away, and I think I’m fully hydrated. The weather is really dry, and I’m applying lotion like crazy. I have a humidifier, and it is helping matters. The scenery outside my bedroom window is stark and gray with a gruff and harsh beauty.
Training is going well, and each day is getting better. There are missionaries from various denominations, and they are going to various countries. A young OBY/GYN from Knoxville is going to Cape Town, and a family is going to Johannesburg; so South Africa has a strong representation. (Plus, our main trainer is from South Africa.) I’m the only Episcopalian and “brown spot” here.
So far our training has focused on our own American culture and has challenged us to distinguish our culture from what is universal. We’re learning how to identify potential stressors and obstacles in our lives that will hinder us from adapting to our host country. In a nutshell, we’re learning how to live and to minister cross-culturally.
I’m learning a lot about myself and my personal hang-ups. I’m learning how truly American I am, and I don’t think I will fully grasp this reality until I’m living abroad. Knowing how much I have to learn about my new culture frightens me; I know the learning curve is going to be steep and that I will make countless mistakes. I will have to depend on grace—both from God and the people of South Africa. I know my new South African family in Cape Town will help me to adapt and to adjust and will guide me with love. I am already grateful for their patience.