Monday, 23 May 2016

From Missionary to Redneck in One Big Bite


It's been a fairly painless transition from Africa back to Canada. We've been back about three weeks now. First we had to take care of the essentials: jet lag, slideshow video, phone, and car. Then there was work: I started back at my old job on May 9; in some ways it was like I never left! The major thing that changed was the company name: Columbia sold their countertop division to Floform. So, now I work for Floform. Most of the same colleagues are still there, the same workbenches, the same tools...

The next obvious step would be to find a place to live. We're very comfortable at my parents house, and eating better than ever, and free babysitting is a big plus! However, we want to unpack into our own space eventually. The housing market in the lower mainland is pretty crazy, and a lot of people have been selling their houses at a good price but then have nowhere to live, so the rental market is busy too. We've looked at a few places on Craigslist, and the landlords are getting 200 calls, so they can be pretty choosy! We did apply to a townhouse co-op, and are waiting to hear back from them before we continue searching in earnest.

My parents live half an hour away from work/church/school, so I've been commuting in either their car or mine. But it was time to find another way to work. Some friends of ours (former neighbours) lent me their pick-up truck to use, so I don't have to take the bus! It is a great blessing, though the short-term insurance is a bit pricey.

Reflections on change:
I don't miss tucking in a mosquito net every night. I like the cooler weather in Canada (though it is also cooler in Zambia too now). I like how the power is on here 24/7. I like how when looking to buy soy milk, there are now 3 brands of alternative milk to choose from, and each brand has 4 different types. I can't believe that one week's pay in Canada is about 6 months salary in Zambia. I don't miss police checks. I like the smooth roads. I am enjoying worship with a band. I miss cheap auto parts. I don't like commuting so far. I miss my Zambian friends. I miss the slower pace. I miss Oreo, our dog, even though she was kind of annoying. I miss interactive Bible Study at church. Sometimes conversation here seems a bit shallow.

We were told that culture shock coming home, is worse than culture shock going to a new place. So far I haven't found that to be the case, but it may yet sneak up on me. We have a debrief in Akron in two months, so by then we will have processed our transition some more.

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