Confessions of a missionary: re-entry trauma & living extravagantly

Aug 20, 2012

Trauma might be a bit of an exaggeration. Maybe.  If you've been down this road before or in these same shoes, you'll get me.  Otherwise, you might just think I'm a little over dramatic and go on with your way.  I'm okay with that but right now I feel the need to roll with the raw emotion, for the sake of mentally moving into our life here.

We've just returned from six weeks in the U.S.  It was beautiful - so much more than we ever anticipated.  There were surprises and personal gifts for us along the way.  We slept in.  Past 7 a.m.  Multiple times (thanks mostly to our mothers!) We visited, shopped, talked, listened, relaxed and enjoyed.  I will make a Bayahibe -esque  (like 18 part) blog about our time in the U.S. soon because I really do want to share all about it.  It was suh-weet.

And now, here I sit on my porch overlooking this

and yet still wanting to crawl (deep) into a hole.  Not because I don't LOVE it here, but simply because there are days that are, shall we say, frustrating?  I know what you're thinking - you have frustrating days there too . . . I know.   This is a little bit different - this is culture shock all over again in the form of re-entry into the country.  You would think after 7 years of being here, that the culture shock would dissipate.  NO.  Even though we know to anticipate it, it can still slap us in the face like we never saw it coming.  And even that is frustrating because I'm like - "oh ya, I know this bit.  I've got this." and in the next breath I'm like "WHat?  Really?  The money exchange place is closed in the the middle of the morning on a Monday?  REally?  I need to get money!  WHy. WHy? WHY?"

Such unlovely outbursts with situations that were 6 weeks ago familiar and no big deal are suddenly the source of major upset.

"Oh, hello Mr. Culture Shock, I didn't see you there.  I thought  you had moved onto other victims."  Um, no.    

So, here is my first confession:

1) Even though I LOVE it here, there are many days that I want to just blubber like a big baby because sometimes I don't like it here.  There.  I said it.

Here is my second confession (one that the Lord pelted me with recently and for which I feel like I need to share):

2)  We don't lack much here.  Really.  House - check.  Curtains - check. Decor - check.  Van - check.  Entertainment - check.  Cell phone - check.  Throw pillows - check.  Artwork - check.  Potted plants - check.  Tire swing - check.  Sam's club (Pricesmart) - check.  Mall - check.  Medical facility - check. Nice restaurants - check.  Fast food places - check. Life is still difficult here, but I just want you to know that if I've ever given the impression that we are living in a hut with a dirt floor, that is not the truth.  There are things we live without here, but there are many things that we could not experience anywhere else.  We live extravagantly in terms of the depth of the things that we get to drink up in the culture in this setting.

So, while I need a little time to readjust to life in the D.R., I do feel really blessed to live, work, serve, love here.  Thanks for being a part of my re-entry recovery :)


  1. I feel the same way when I come home to the USa or when I'm coming back to the DR. I think maybe we experience culture shock so much because this earth is not really our home. :)

  2. I was thinking of your re-entry yesterday morning as I threw my laundry into the machine - and prayed for you and Jon as you deal with the daily inconveniences. You do live in a glorious place with beautiful people, but the realities of of every-day can be so overwhelming.

    Now, if I'm going to be completely honest - my family is also going through our own re-entry: life without the daily pleasure of seeing our minicans. We miss you all terribly and look forward to the next time (countdown calendars are already being made!)


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