Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What I Learned From My Puppy About Cross Cultural Life

As we sat down for breakfast Ben thought he heard Scatter chewing on something plastic on the patio. Opening the door to investigate I see Ben's eyes widen in frustration as he yells out, "No Scatter!"

The puppy found something to chew on all right. He'd pulled down the mango seed Ben was germinating, chewed off the new growth, and left a few teeth marks in the seed pod.

That's when I realised Scatter and I have an awful lot in common. We are both trying to figure out our new homes. We both screw it up. And here, where the small things can quickly become really big overwhelming things, it's pretty easy to do.

What have I learned from my puppy about living cross culturally?

I learned that if you run through high grass, you're going to get ticks. Although others have certainly gone before us, living cross culturally is still pretty far off the beaten path of 'normal life'. And when you leave that well worn path for the adventure of high grass, you are going to pick up some nasty blood sucking bugs along the way.

I learned that it takes someone else to get the ticks off. Feelings of frustration, anger, resentment, grief, jealousy, you name it I've felt it, all suck the life out of you. It's pretty much impossible to get rid of them on your own. God's love and forgiveness working directly in my heart and through those around me yank out those tightly clinging parasites.

I learned that even though you wag your tail and give your best puppy eyes, some people still don't want to play with you. Sometimes they are even downright afraid of you. I wrote before about people not wanting to sit next to me in the taxi. Sometimes when I talk with people they give off an uneasy hesitation and scepticism of my motives. Their eyes questioning, "What do you really want from me?"  

I learned that sometimes, even though you've been told not to, you still pee on the floor. It's hard to remember all the rules in a new culture especially when the rules don't exist in your own culture. I still forget it's rude to hand over money with my left hand. I forget to bring money for the offering at the Ibadahs. I forget to make polite comments about someone's home when I visit. The rules are new and I forget.

I  learned that when it comes down to it you can have a ridiculous amount of fun with a just stick or a pile of dirt. It really doesn't take much. My attitude is pretty much everything. So kick complaining to the curb and enjoy whatever is right in front of you!


Animals teach us so much about life in general. What lessons have you learned from furry or feathery friends?

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