My adventures and mis-adventures as I travel here and there

Transitioning i.e. reverse culture shock ahead of time

Words can’t describe how I feel right now (but they can try). I’m sitting on a bed in a room that I’m not sharing with anyone. I’m in a real house. With nothing but a ceiling fan blowing, my environment is at a comfortable temperature and humidity. I’m eating coconut pie. It’s only 9:30PM and I don’t have to be anywhere until 10am tomorrow. There’s everything I need in the fridge to make pancakes. There are a bunch of mangos on the kitchen counter. I can’t really hear any sounds except for crickets and stuff outside. And, probably best of all, I just had a SHOWER, a WARM shower!

This morning, after a night that wasn’t really worthy of being called one, we got on a plane and left General Santos City to come to Manila. We immediately went to a humongous mall, ate Subway (and I didn’t feel like throwing up after I ate for the first time in a couple days. I think I have some bug.), and then wandered lost around the mall doing some shopping (somehow I’ve earned a rep with the group of being an obsessive shopper, but hey, the people I bought stuff for will be happy). After the mall we drove to an Adventist college, I guess. It’s dark out so we haven’t actually seen our surroundings yet. They put us up in guest houses that, especially compared to what we were in before, are extremely nice. There are only three of us in this whole house and I’m absolutely savoring the privacy! And the shower… I would be embarrassed to tell you just how thankful I got over the shower and the hot water. I’ve always taken that for granted. Two weeks without it seems like so much longer, and I found myself wondering how a person who lived in Mindanao for a year or so and then came back would feel. I guess I’m already experiencing some of my reverse culture shock. They say that this is the way to do it, though; take it in stages; do some sightseeing and shopping before returning. Manila is already so different from Gensan and the place we’re at now is even more different yet because it’s cooler here. No mosquitos!

Let me back up a little. The church service, baptism, and closing meeting last night were absolutely amazing and overwhelming. The gymnasium was so packed for church that I began to feel really claustrophobic. I ended up skipping Sabbath lunch, partly because of my eager gag reflex and partly because I just needed some space from people. I had about 40 glorious minutes lying on my bed with no one around, and I’m sure that was what kept me going to rest of the day. That and God’s mercy. And some seaweed stuff that Jane gave me. The baptism was like nothing I have ever experienced before. Eight hundred and sixty-two people were baptized yesterday. Sixty couldn’t make it and were baptized today, for a total of nine hundred and twenty-two. MANY of them were children. I loved that because I know that they have the rest of their lives that they’re deciding to give to Jesus. Sheila, one of my favorite girls, was baptized and I was so happy to see it! Twenty-something pastors were all in the pool at once and people waiting in front of them in lines. I don’t even know how to explain how I felt, but even though I was dying to escape people and stares and a spotlight feeling, I loved being at the baptism. There are a ton of pictures on Pedrito’s site, I’m guessing, because I took many many many. The baptism was right after church, then we had an hour for lunch, then we went back for a program that was supposed to go from 1:30 to 5. That whole afternoon was so exhausting. For one thing, our whole VBS group ending up on stage for pretty much forever. The whole time I’m chanting my mantra: “Don’t throw up on stage, don’t throw up on stage”. Besides that, everything laasted aaa loooooong tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime. By the time Pedrito got up to speak, it was already 5:45. Then he did something that shocked us all. After doing the quiz and the children’s portion, he simply summarized his sermon, showed us his slides, and was done. By then almost everyone had left anyway, in comparison to the numbers at the start. Left were a whole crowd of people crazy with grief that we were leaving. Several of us pretty much got mobbed for gifts, pictures, e-mails, hugs, handshake, rememberances. Security finally pulled us outa there and put us on the van. It was harder to leave than I thought it would be.

Saturday night was not hard at all compared to this morning. The love the people had for us was overwhelming. I couldn’t even comprehend it. Their send-off was just as heartfelt and grand as their welcome, and it made such a huge impression on me. I surely did not feel worthy of it. Some of them cried and lots of them drove with us to the airport to see us off.

It was harder still to say goodbye to Jane. She was the only student who didn’t come from Walla Walla. She goes to Hong Kong Adventist College. I haven’t mentioned her in my blogs yet, but she was completely wonderful. I had a really fun time with her. She is one of the most patient and good-natured people I have ever met. I started teasing her within a couple days, making fun of her pronunciation of English words, but she always just laughed with me. This week the guys started teasing her. They were so unmerciful, but she just took it in stride and they thought she was amazingly cool for it. She taught me a couple of words in Chinese, told me about her childhood in rural China, and gave me one of the most amazing back massages I’ve ever had. I’ll definitely miss Jane.

September 2, 2007 Posted by | Philippines | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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