I remember a few years ago on a long haul night flight I indulged myself in 3 cheesy chick flicks back -to –back (obviously pre-amelie, there would be no chance anymore…) and after watching 6 hours of beautiful faces, perfect teeth and glossy hair, I subconsciously assumed that the face, or at least hair, in the artificially lit plane bathroom mirror would maybe resemble Jennifer Aniston or some other beauty… I literally jumped back with a fright at the pale, tired face that stared back…
Yesterday we completed, or ‘graduated’, from our 6 month DTS.
Looking forward to living in a bigger home without Amelie being urinated on by our neighbour’s kid on a daily basis…? definitely yep.
But in some ways the DTS has been like the reality check in the aeroplane mirror, realising that there are many more areas of weakness in me that I wasn’t aware of.
Don’t get me wrong, there has been lots of encouragement in the last 6 months, but also it has been a place of being humbled and having various securities and comforts (and necessities?) stripped away.
Preparing for the graduation ceremony in the last few days was an interesting cross – cultural experience, the eleventh hour seems a popular hour, which adds adrenaline to the occasion, if nothing else. It seems that there are several vital ingredients for a celebration in this culture…
2. speeches (the more the merrier)
3. an order of service and an MC (with the impression that there will only be one speech and it will be short and sweet)
A few weeks ago we went to Amelie’s friend’s 2nd birthday party. All of the above were demonstrated for the celebration, and the speech was a sermon directed at the bunch of 2 year olds sitting quietly on the mat under the tree (Amelie has still to learn from her African friends how to sit still and quiet for long periods of time)…
We were probably culturally insensitive for Amelie’s 2nd birthday party last week with none of the above for the celebration (unless musical bumps counts as dancing). I’d go for cake rather than meat any day though.
We, (well, mainly I), continue to make cultural blunders probably on a daily basis. Yesterday was no exception. Our friend Charles, (who is the most careful motorbike driver in town and therefore gets most of our business) dropped me at the small supermarket and was reading the newspaper headlines on display whilst waiting, ‘Which one do you want?’ I ask Charles, thinking it is a token of appreciation that he does not smoke weed and drive. ‘No, it is okay’ he replies looking at the loaf of bread I have picked out. Then it dawns on me, why would someone choose a newspaper when they could buy a loaf of bread for the same amount. ‘Er, would you like bread instead?’ I mumble sheepishly, his face lights up, of course he would.
It was a small reminder of how little I understand the survival mindset and although we have completed this 6 month training, there is still A LOT to learn…