As we are preparing for our first trip back to the US, we have had some processing we’ve had to do and will continue to do. Even the word for it is hard to encompass everything it entails…”Furlough” is not accurate because it is NOT a restful vacation, but instead a whirlwind of travel to see as many people as possible. “Home assignment” isn’t best because while Leland and I grew up in America, we have lived in Uganda for a year and a half and it’s our home now, plus Adalyn doesn’t remember it as home. So here’s what we’ve got: “We’re going to the US to see family, friends and our support team along with partnering churches in Texas and Colorado to share our ministry and life with them, as well as reconnect with them after being gone for more than a year”. There’s no easy word for that.
And here are some truths we have realized…
We have changed, our friends and family have changed, life has gone on without us in the US, we have a new life here in Uganda, Adalyn has spent more time she’ll remember in Uganda than the US and this is her home.
As we prepare for the visit back, we are reminded of some things we loved and some things we were thankful to leave. While it’s obvious that we’d have culture shock moving to Uganda, people often forget about the culture shock going back to the US, even for just a visit. Our life in Uganda is very different than our life in the US, and it can be very overwhelming to process the differences. Leland and I can communicate and discuss our emotions with each other, and even try to articulate the differences to others. But Adalyn is still learning and she doesn’t even know what to expect. So we have done some research and read about how other missionaries/expats with small children deal with the culture shock. Here are just a few things we’d like to share:
- “Welcome home” is not applicable to her; her home is in Uganda.
- She will not recognize or be as comfortable with people who know her but she may not remember.
- There will be stimulation that she’s not used to (advertising, lights, fast driving, shopping) so she can be easily overwhelmed.
- Crowds of people watching her or wanting her attention is not comfortable.
- What is your favorite thing to eat in Uganda?
- What is your favorite thing to do?
- Where is your favorite place to go?
- What do you miss the most about Uganda?
- What do you like to play with? Who do you like to play with?
- What is your favorite thing about living in Uganda?
- What do you dislike about living in Uganda?
We know people (YOU) want to love on us and we are looking forward to lots of hugs. We also want to make sure we do our best to have the best possible trip. So thank you for reading. Thank you for your prayers, for all of us, but especially Adalyn. And thank you for the grace we know you’ll show us when we see you!
Katonda akuwe omukisa (God bless you all)!!!