Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You're Where?? Part II

[what's brewing: drinking from the cup given to me]

I’m still flying solo and just had what feels like a major accomplishment. A new pizza shop opened in town and they offer delivery service. After a long day at work, I thought it sounded pretty great to order a pizza to the house and cozy up on the couch for the evening. Despite feeling that phone calls are still my greatest nemesis in language learning, I decided to give it a try. What should have been a 3 minute conversation took us about 10. They needed to know what denomination of money I would be paying with, which was outside of my framework of expected questions and thus took me awhile to figure out, but I placed my order and waited for the little motorcycle to pull up and deliver my pizza.

I am proud to say that I just opened the box and inside was the pizza, just as I had intended to order it. Success!

I have to say that after a week of managing matters on my own, I feel more personally connected to the work we’re doing here at the Children’s Home. Had I not been stranded, (okay, Jason may be the one who’s stranded if we want to be literal about it!) I may not have noticed that I have been hiding behind my husband to cover up my insecurities here. I hate the feeling of not understanding what’s being said – it reveals my weakness. I’m used to being efficient, confident in my role and sure of the decisions I make. My ability to communicate clearly and my full understanding of the context in which I’m working have been stripped from me.

And I’ve been hiding from that uncomfortable reality.

This week, I’ve been forced to step out into the light, ask questions when I don’t understand, and try my hand at explaining my thoughts and perspectives even if they don’t sound half as interesting as they would in English. I’ve assertively walked out onto what seemed to be shaky ground, and I am surprised at how well things have gone. Relationships with my coworkers have deepened tremendously, as has my understanding of what it means to rely upon the Lord. Oh how unsuspectingly pride can creep in and prevent God’s goodness from being at work among us.

7 comments:

Kara said...

Good for you! His grace is sufficient, His strength is made perfect in weakness. I am often held back by my desire to be perfect myself... but by your open attitude, you are letting your weakness show God's perfect strength.

We've all been there. Except my pizza would have probably been all wrong...or not shown up at all. I've made many phone calls where the business on the other end just hung up on me! Not worth the trouble for them to figure out my accent and poor grammar. And even in a restaurant my 8th year, when I was very comfortable in the language, I was brought a cappacino instead of 'kapitok' (hot water) because the waitress didn't understand me! All the old 'culture shock' feelings came back-- wanting to curl up in a ball (or at least walk out quickly) not wanting to ask more anything more, or let them know that it wasn't what I asked for, wanting to hush my husband when his reactions are the polar opposite of mine... it's not a fun road.

But only by pushing forward will we confront that pride, fear of our own imperfection, and desire to appear self-sufficient. And God has been so faithful to not only refine my faith (which is of greater worth than gold!) but also give me the wonderful victorious feelings of knowing the unknown--people, culture, language.

cindyb said...

So...what was on your pizza?

Crystal said...

have to laugh at this! I, too, hated talking on the phone..it was SO painful. your pizza story reminded me of a time when I ordered pizza (not the first time) and when the motorcycle showed up and we paid him and he left, we opened up our box and found that we received a vegitarian with corn (not my favorite) instead of the Italian I ordered! (Not to mention we were famished and it took the pizza an hour to get to our house because of my poor directions!!!) So, we called the company again and got what we wanted...another hour later! So, I think you must be doing quite well with your language abilities...i know order pizza in english..it's just easier!

Mark McD said...

What a blessing! I've been in country for 8 of the last 10 years and I still hate trying to do stuff on the phone. But I come back again and again and keep trying to do the hard things because I know it brings me closer to doing what I really want - to having heart-to-heart conversations with women about the deeper things.

Isn't great how the Lord keeps us flexible and looking to him? I tackled the post office experience and was so thankful I can go in with less trepidation and fear of being yelled at.

Thanks for sharing. It's encouraging some days to know that what may seem like a small victory to some is something I'm not alone in.

Donna

Alan & Beth McManus said...

We had a discussion yesterday. It went like this:
Me - So, are you going to change our phone service?
Alan - (Sigh) That would mean I'd have to talk on the phone.
Me - Yeah.
Alan - I hate talking on the phone.
Me - So do I.
Alan - But you understand better than I do.
Me - (deep sigh) call the number and I'll try.

Thankfully, I got someone who didn't talk 40,000 miles and hour and didn't get mad when I made her repeat herself several times.

I'm an MK and I hate the phone! I can only imagine what it's like for you!

Coffeegirl said...

Hey cindyb - I opened the box to find my onion, pepper, mushroom and olive pizza. I didn't realize that the olives would be green instead of black, so I ended up picking them off after all that! I've never seen a black olive here, but for some reason I figured they would be black if they were listed as a pizza item. Never assume, right?!

Coffeegirl said...

I just love the familiarity of our stories here - fight vs. flight responses when faced with language mix-ups, post office humiliation, debating who has to make the phone calls...it's great! I love hearing your stories - they are reassuring and just plain fun to read. Imagine the laughter, and the encouragement, if we could all just sit around in my living room and talk together for an evening. Donna, your comment about these type of language experiences pushing you closer to your goal of having heart-to-heart conversations with other women was great for me to read. I feel uncomfortable so many times when I'm sitting next to someone and longing to delve into a deep conversation and not knowing how to go about it. I start to wonder, "Can anyone really take me seriously when I'm mixing my tenses and conjugations in a way that not even a 3 year old does?" These little steps surely do bring us closer to that goal of relating with people on a heart level.

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