Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The New Normal

After 6 years of life in Uganda I have achieved a new normal. Things that I used to be shocked by no longer shock me. Like, now days I can bravely and confidently, well mostly confidently, carry a plastic bag with 60 raw eggs packed in it through the crowded market without breaking even one. I used to be shocked when I would wait 2-3 hours for a meeting to start, and now I may be the one they are waiting for.
I used to be shocked, maybe disgusted is a better word, that people could enjoy popping large fried bugs into their mouth, and they would actually lose precious sleep to harvest said "bugs" late into the early morning hours. Now I love the white ants and I'm also there, alongside my family, catching them late into the night. I can find myself wondering when are they coming back into season, we've taken long without eating them. And no, we don't call them bugs, they are ants, not bugs. Bugs are not food. I used to be shocked that I only had the time and energy to accomplish one task in a day, now I'm shocked if I can manage to get three things done per day.
Now imagine me trying to prepare someone from the states to come for a visit. We have a team coming to visit the first week of August, and it's good we have an experienced team leader who will help prepare the team for their trip. Because by now I can even forget what it is that I should warn them about. I remember when I first came to Soroti, I was visiting a village church with some teammates, after the morning training we went to a local restaurant for lunch. My friend, who had lived in Soroti about 3 years by this point, ordered a dish called eboo, and was so excited about it I decided to get the same. One taste and I wondered...why in the world was she raving about such a "unique" dish, and yet now I cook it at least once a week...I no longer gasp when the power goes out in the middle of cooking, shopping, bathing, or any other somewhat inconvenient time to not be able to see anything. Gone are the days of valuing personal space. I used to wonder, when I was "obviously" in line at the bank, and someone would come and cut right in front of me, with a smile none the less. But now I know that unless my belly is brushing up against the back of the guy in front of me I am obviously not in line.
I don't think I should even go into driving, suffice it to say...no...let me not even try...though the phrase "Every man for himself" comes to mind. Hearing that a man has more than 40 children doesn't shock me nearly as much as it once would. Then there's the chasing after and the killing of your supper. The amount of people you can fit into or onto a vehicle. Think of your car. Most cars fit 5 people. Now, if a motorcycle here can carry 5 people or 8... what are the possibilities for a car, a van, or a truck? Endless.

I guess life is like that, what we get used to becomes the new normal. It's funny how weird, or disgusting, something can seem when we're not familiar with it, but with a little bit of time, and perhaps some effort, we don't even think twice about it. The ants in the bread, ants in the water, ants on my toothbrush and in my cupboard, wait, what ants?  I guess there is both positive and negative side affects of the new normal. On the positive side I can now live in this country very comfortably, and try to convince others from outside that they shouldn't be so scared of this place. Especially now days, as it looks more dangerous to live in the states then here...which brings up the negative side of the new normal...as I watch the disintegration of the country where I was born I wonder about what has happened. Isn't there some saying about a frog in a boiling pot?

1 comment:

Karebear said...

I'm glad this is home now... but yes, it will be super fun to "Re-experience" the differences through your visitors. God bless!