Reverse Culture Shock: Part 1

 

Culture Shock is real. Reverse Culture shock is just as real.

When we decided to go on the mission field, we were prepared for this horrible, monstrous beast that would infect our lives after the “honeymoon” period of living in a new country wore off. This beast was called culture shock. And he came. Sometimes disguised and unannounced, sometimes invited in, as a welcome guest, to our very own pity party. But after a few months of language learning and cultural adjusting, we beat the beast and were happily living in our new culture. The beast would sometimes stop by for a visit, but we let him know that he was no longer welcome and that was that.

It sounds so easy to write it in a few sentences, when those of you that have gone through it know that it is much more than that. But an even weirder phenomenon, in my opinion, is reverse culture shock. This crazy thing you experience when returning to your HOMEland.

I grew up in America. I have lived 24 out of my 26 years in America. I have being an American down to a science. So, what’s the problem? After all, it is home, isn’t it?

Here’s what happens:

When you return to your home country after having a cultural experience, you have changed. Your worldview is a little bit wider and your sympathy for other people and other cultures a little bit stronger. The difference is everyone else around you did not have the same experience as you. They had lots of cool experiences in the time you were gone, just not in the same way you did.

Its like reading a great book. You can’t describe the story in a way that someone could understand as well as if they actually had the chance to read the book themselves. You can tell the basics of the story, but in order to completely communicate the experience, they would have to hear the sounds, smell the scents, feel the emotions that happen when you dive into a great book. The basics just don’t quite get the whole message across.

Its exactly the same with having a cultural experience. Words just aren’t enough. Pictures help but they just don’t have the same meaning to everyone else, as they do to you. People want to understand and they try, but to no fault of their own, they just can’t.

So, then you feel it. The shock of reverse culture shock. That weird, creepy feeling that you just don’t belong. You just don’t belong…at home.

What do you do? Where do you belong? Who are you? Are you really American? But you love to have your afternoon coffee, wear houseshoes, and sit for hours with your neighbors to just talk? And you can’t beat that hankering for a Bratwurst! Are you German? How could that be, when every moment in that country you were reminded of the fact that you were a foreigner?!

To be Continued in Reverse Culture Shock: Part 2

Delicious Blueberry Muffins (and shh..they’re vegan!)

According to my grandfather, you should eat blueberries every morning for breakfast. Grandpa is never wrong 🙂 Thankfully, he provided us all with this great opportunity by taking my family blueberry picking last summer. We were still in Germany during that time (strawberry picking, as it were). But, there is now a freezer full of hand-picked blueberries. I am definitely enjoying the spoils. Every morning. Just like Grandpa said.

This morning, I decided it was time for some (vegan) blueberry muffins.

And I made these happy accidents from Bakerita.

 

Delicious Vegan Blueberry Muffins on Chris and Krista at www.chrisandkrista.org adapted from Bakerita

Often with vegan baking, you see eggs replaced with applesauce. This is delicious, but I love the use of bananas in this one and something different! And who doesn’t like the taste of blueberries and banana together!

I didn’t have whole wheat flour, so I just made it all with white flour. They aren’t healthier this way, but I do think it made them fluffier!

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

adapted from Bakerita

Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup Silk almond milk (regular or sweetened with vanilla adds a little extra!)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (hand-picked is preferred!)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a muffin tin with plant butter.

2. Mix all dry ingredients together (flour, sugars, salt, baking powder).

3. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (oil, banana, almond milk).

4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and combine well. Fold in blueberries!
Bakers note: I actually used frozen blueberries straight out of the freezer and they worked perfectly!

Serve warm with a hot cup of coffee! Don’t tell anyone, and they will never know they are eating vegan blueberry muffins!

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

One Thousand Gifts and The Science of Happiness

There is this book you should read.

One Thousand Gifts.

One Thousand Gifts and the Science of Happiness featured on Chris and Krista at www.chrisandkrista.org

It talks about that true joy is found in thanksgiving. The kind of thanksgiving that comes even when your world doesn’t seem like it could get any worse.

The author is challenged to find one thousand things that she is thankful for and make a list.

Could you do it?

This book has been on my heart ever since it was gifted to me about a year ago. It stays with you. The idea that you could be happier, if you were more thankful. Is it true? Does gratitude make us happier?

Then, there was this video about the Science of Happiness by SoulPancake (who continues to rock our worlds with every video produced.) Go ahead and watch it. You’ll thank me later 😉

It makes you want to call your mom and say thank you, doesn’t it? So, take 5 minutes right now and write someone an email or send someone a note with a simple thank you and why you are thankful for them. It will make their day brighter and for just that 5 minutes, you will be a happier person. In fact, make a calendar reminder to do this once a week or even once a day.

It’s a very specific way to apply the following Scripture to your life:

In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

 

What is one specific way that you show gratitude in your life?

Home is where…?

The question of where home is has been heavy on my heart lately. As you know, Chris and I have been living for two years in Germany and will Tuesday morning return to the States. Many people have asked us if we are happy to be going “home”.

Are we happy to see our family and friends?
Yes!

Are we happy to speak English for a little while?
Absolutely.

Are we happy to be going home?

That question is a little trickier. Where is our home? If we mean the building or set of rooms that we own/rent, then we have no home. If we mean the place that we grew up and our parents still live, then that is Texas. If we mean the place that we first lived as a married couple, that is Oklahoma. If we mean the place that we have lived for the past two years, where my husband was born and half his family lives, that is Germany.

Anyone who has moved can attest to the fact that building a new home is something very complicated. You leave something comfortable for something that is unknown, that is foreign. When what is foreign also speaks a different language and boasts a completely different culture, you have reached a whole new level of complicated.

An American friend of ours living in Germany says that she was raised in America but grew up in Germany. After the last two years, we can understand exactly what she means. When you start with nothing, not even words, you grow up really fast. You learn the strength of your own character, you learn your limits, and most importantly, you learn what home truly means.

Home, to me, isn’t a place or a building, but a feeling. It’s the feeling of comfort and safeness. It’s a feeling of being known, loved, and valued. It’s a feeling of friends and family who support you. It’s the feeling I got every time I walked into the church in Germany. It is the same feeling I will get when I see our families waiting for us at the airport tomorrow. It is not limited, thankfully, by time or space. Family is family. And home is home.

So, to answer your questions: We are happy to be going home, but we are sad, in the same breath, to be leaving home.

What is your definition of home? #homeis


Our Goodbye Party

In case you haven’t picked up on it before, a very important part of German culture is throwing parties! One of the most important of those parties is a goodbye party. As with typical German culture, you throw this party yourself and it is a way to honor all of the people in your life and have one last “hurrah” together! Since our two years has sadly come to an end, this was a very important event for us. Over the last two years, there have been so many people here that have supported us, and we wanted to make this part something to show them how much they meant to us! To me, of course, what makes something really special is photographs. To Germans, something really special is an afternoon grilling together. So, we combined the two. We invited everyone to the church for an afternoon of grilling. Then, we sifted through all of our photos for the last 2 years and printed off only about 5% of them. But, it was a small way to remind people of all the good times that we had together and think about all of the wonderful experiences we were able to have during these two years. We also wrote a note to our guests thanking them for their love, support, and friendship. We had a great time and some great food and it was a great way to celebrate the last two years with some very special people! Take a look:

a blog about faith, hope, and love by Chris and Krista at chrisandkrista.org on German culture and a goodbye party in Chemnitz, Germany

a blog about faith, hope, and love by Chris and Krista at chrisandkrista.org on German culture and a goodbye party in Chemnitz, Germany

a blog about faith, hope, and love by Chris and Krista at chrisandkrista.org on German culture and a goodbye party in Chemnitz, Germany

a blog about faith, hope, and love by Chris and Krista at chrisandkrista.org on German culture and a goodbye party in Chemnitz, Germany

a blog about faith, hope, and love by Chris and Krista at chrisandkrista.org on German culture and a goodbye party in Chemnitz, Germany

a blog about faith, hope, and love by Chris and Krista at chrisandkrista.org on German culture and a goodbye party in Chemnitz, Germany

a blog about faith, hope, and love by Chris and Krista at chrisandkrista.org on German culture and a goodbye party in Chemnitz, Germany

a blog about faith, hope, and love by Chris and Krista at chrisandkrista.org on German culture and a goodbye party in Chemnitz, Germany

Special thanks to Meagan Wallace for the beautiful photographs! 😀

 

Book Review: Bread and Wine + We’re featured!

This week, I was featured over at Ren’s Family Blog! Thanks so much for featuring my post about 5 Books You Should Read Immediately!

In honor of being featured, I decided it was about time to put up my review of one of those books that you should be reading immediately. And of course, that book is Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist. If you have been talking to me at all in the past few weeks, you have heard about this book.

A book review of Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist written by Krista Cannon on chrisandkrista.org

 Image provided by shaunaniequist.com

Bread and Wine is “a love letter to life around the table.” It is Shauna’s memoir of how her love for food is something that has throughout her life brought people together, helped her family to develop precious friendships and taught them how to serve the people they love. Its broken up in to short stories that are memories of how food and gathering around the table has truly affected her life. And as a bonus every story comes with a fantastic recipe like this Blueberry Crisp:

Blueberry Crisp from Shauna Niequist's new book Bread and Wine in a book review written by Krista Cannon on chrisandkrista.org

In the beginning of Bread and Wine, Shauna writes about a common conversation between musicians who sit around discussing songs they love wishing they were their own. I couldn’t help but think that’s exactly how I feel about Bread and Wine. This book is the book that I wish I had written and it is one I will be reading over and over again. Shauna’s writing is beautiful, emotional and captivates you from page one like a conversation with a good friend over coffee. Although the book is filled with real life stories about her struggles and problems, its also filled with romantic stories of deep friendships, cooking clubs, and of course, the ultimate message, of coming together around the table.

The title Bread and Wine comes from the most important table gathering, which is when we gather around the communion table and take the bread and wine in remembrance of Christ. This is an importance message throughout the book reminding us not only of our weakness as humans and need for food, as we need Christ, but also the opposite. We, as humans, cannot only live on food but we thrive on the Word of God, our relationship with Him and our relationship with others. And that is ultimately what gathering around the table is about.  So, now pick up your copy of Bread and Wine and follow Shauna’s advice:

This is what I want you to do: I want you to tell someone you love them, and dinner’s at six. I want you to throw open your front door and welcome the people you love into the inevitable mess with hugs and laughter.

Gather the people you love around your table and feed them with love and honesty and creativity, because there will be a day when it all falls apart.

These are things I can’t change. Not one of them. Can’t fix, can’t heal, can’t put the broken pieces back together. But what I can do is offer myself, wholehearted and present, to walk with the people I love through the fear and the mess. That’s all any of us can do. That’s what we’re here for.

 

Who are you going to invite to gather around your table?

 

You may find us linking up this post at one of these great blogs!