- Skype is awesome. Really, it’s such a great way to keep in touch with friends and family when you’re far away & can’t use the phone. It’s definitely reduced my homesickness in recent days. I didn’t realize that I would be so homesick… but I think a lot of it has to do with the isolated environment that we’re in right now. There really just aren’t many people around. Even when we’re on campus, we rarely see other people. So needless to say, Skype has been really nice. We talked to some good friends last night (well actually at 4:00am our time this morning!) and it was an amazing blessing.
- I honestly don’t know how some missionaries manage~ We’ve been here 3 weeks now w/o a church service and I’m going crazy. Before we left Jeff Magnum spoke about the art of self-feeding (digging into the Word on your own vs. only learning from others interpretations)~ well, let me tell ya, self-feeding is awesome, but community and a church body is also super necessary. It’s tough to be away from a home church and a body of believers. I have a new found respect for people who go out there all on their own and preach the gospel. Amazing. You really have to rely on God and not man to get you through the loneliness.
- I am very dependent on the pleasantries that are available in America. For example~ flavored coffee creamers, large pantries full of food, canned food (most things here are dehydrated instead of canned… and apparently I am not good at cooking powdered tomato soup mix…), air conditioning. Hmm… what else, well I think other people have these things, but we are living with out a microwave, coffee pot, and television. It’s weird how reliant I am on these items. We’ve had to buy instant coffee & boil water on the stove! Again, these things make me realize how good I have it in ATX. Oh how I miss my Kitchen Aid, my baking products & my spices. It’s much tougher to cook w/o all that stuff!
- It’s difficult to grocery store when you can’t read the labels. Some things are obvious~ and you can guess … but others, well, let’s just say we’ve eaten some “interesting” food items. It’s tough b/c these failed experiments just make me want to stick to eating hot dogs. Lame I know. But sometimes I just don’t feel like being adventurous. It would be nice not to have to think so much at the store! It’s also tough for a crazy calorie counter like me. I can’t read the food labels so I have no clue what we’re ingesting… I know this shouldn’t bother me, but it drives me nuts. Sometimes things say Kcals which I think are the same as regular calories, but other times they are in Kjcals~ which are something totally different. Needless to say, I’ve had to resign myself to TRYING not to care. Note the emphasis on the word “trying” 🙂
- People here really WORK HARD and PLAY HARD. We were having dinner in Oslo last week and sat next to this nice couple from Norway. The lady was SHOCKED that the average american has only 1-2 weeks of vacation a year. They take at least 5 weeks. FIVE WEEKS folks~ usually it takes the form of taking off almost an entire month during the summer. Then they work like crazy during the dark season… This leads to no one being around during this time. Very different than our culture.
- People are MUCH more active here than in the US. In Austin, there are a lot of healthy people, bikers, runners, etc. but here, it’s different… they just don’t have as over-indulgent of a lifestyle as we do. I am hoping this will rub off on me 🙂 In northern norway at least, it’s rare to see someone who’s overweight. On the flip side, many more people smoke. Women especially. YUCK.
I think that’s all I’ve got for now. TGIF 🙂