Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My Kids Might Call You Fat...

The reasons why our home assignment looming brings much excitement but also nervous trepidation are many. Here’s a few humorous (and semi-horrifying to confess) examples

Example 1: I see a post on social media in which a mother confesses to wearing the same sweatshirt for three days in one week to three different events and I realize...

Sometimes, I wear the same clothes for as many days as I can before I pick up fleas. Yikes. 

Example 2: While getting a lower body hug from my girls, they complimented me on my “fat, squishy legs"

In Ethiopian culture, being called “fat” is a positive comment, if someone calls you skinny, it’s disrespectful and saying you look unhealthy.

Example 3: Sitting in a mud hut, enjoying the coffee, trying to follow conversation and feeling out of it, but realizing, this currently feels as known to me as :

Sitting in a room full of women in a beautiful home, chitchatting about things I don’t know about anymore.

Example 4: The spiders in our house. A few strategic ones that mind their own business have been named and are allowed to live because they are more valuable catching the annoying little bugs. (Don’t worry, if you visit, we will do our best to get them all…but we can’t…but they aren’t aggressive, so you can still book your flights. :))

Both places I don’t feel 100% belonging.

IMG 5540

On the airport floor, using their backpacks as pillows (excuse the undies)

I heard the perfect analogy for this from a fellow expatriate.

Let’s assign the USA a color, yellow.

Before, we thought yellow, we dreamed yellow, we were yellow.

We love yellow.

For the sake of the illustration, Ethiopia is blue.

We now partake in many blue events, we eat blue, try to understand blue, we are trying to be blue.

We love blue.

And we come out a nice shade of green.  

One foot in two worlds, straddling both, trying to juggle in spite of our awkward fumbles, leaving us feeling a bit out of sync in both.

As I explained to the Littles that we shouldn’t mention to anyone in the US that they are “fat”, the girls said, “Yeah, in American culture that’s not okay, but we can stick our tongues out to be funny in that culture”. Or upon hearing a dear (American) friend mention her “butt”, Little A leans over and whispers to me, “It’s okay Mama, in their family's culture, that’s what they say.”  

And here we come, our green culture, we’ll try to chameleon and in advance, if The Littles call you “fat” they sincerely mean it in the nicest, possible way. 

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Amy, I got a chuckle out of this. I'm sure you are probably a little nervous about all this. Don't sweat it. I hope we are all sensitive enough to understand you live in 2 different environments! Forgive us if we fail!! Love and prayers coming your way, Pat

Betsy said...

Be strong, girl! Enjoy the yellow while you've got it again. Maybe bring a little Ethiopian coffee with you so if you are having a blue moment you can drink it and remember.

Verene Sutton said...

Nice post Amy. It made me think...What will the "culture" of heaven be like? We can not even imagine the colors that will blend as so many different people will be there!

MJM said...

We've named our spiders too! Several years ago, when we would be reading on the couch, we kept seeing a spider (could have been a whole family of them, but we only saw one at a time). It was distracting to the kids and I didn't feel like getting up and dealing with it, so I told the kids it was Charlotte and we speculated on what she might be doing, "Do you think she's going to visit a friend? Getting exercise? Or maybe she's just bored and came out to hear our story?" Okay, on with school...

emilykate said...

Really enjoyed this. Can't imagine trying to reconcile the two cultures, if that makes sense. Prayers

Kristi said...

Praying! And thank you for teaching us as you go. We loved you yellow and we'll love you green.

Rachel said...

Love this Amy! I can't imagine all the feelings. Your color analogy reminds me of a kids book we read recently, called "Swirly". It teaches the same concept--its super cute and we just ordered it for our kids. Anyway, we will be praying! Cannot wait to see you guys this summer!

leah said...

wow, very well communicated. thanks for sharing and helping us understand your perspective. we love you & looking forward to see you. Praying for your transition!

T and M said...

from someone who's never experienced this, thank you for the clear analogy & frank post. prayers & hugs! We do look forward to seeing you guys : )

Anonymous said...

Amy,
From a mom trying to teach her kids that too much yellow is not a good thing....we are so thankful you guys are willing to bring back your beautiful shade green to share with us! Praying for safe travels and open, receptive, "crayon" boxes when you guys are in the states! (And fyi typing this in the same outfit from yesterday ;)!)
Tonya

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you all. With love,

The Motschenbachers

smw said...

I can imagine how hard this would be. Praying it will be a wonderful time despite the oddities and differences.

Kristen Hoerr said...

Good thing I love GREEN! :) We will be praying for the transition.

Anonymous said...

Green is my favorite color! Anyway, we will love you no matter your color! Mom

Christen Leigh said...

Great post. :) Love you guys and am missing you all! :)