Culture Shock

This morning, I woke up early, long before my alarm would go off, my body and mind stuck in the wrong time zone.

I laid there in my bed, eyes and ears open. I expected to hear a chorus of birds chirping, a man sweeping on the cement outside my hut, and the secondary school students in the boys dormitory singing and laughing to start their morning.

My hut at the Children's of the Nations Ministry Center in Njewa, Malawi.
My hut at the Children’s of the Nations Ministry Center in Njewa, Malawi.

Instead, I listened to a box fan whirring, my husband snoring, and a car door slamming in the apartment complex parking lot.

I arrived home from Malawi last night.

The thing about culture shock is this: I don’t feel shocked. No bombs going off, no monsters popping out from under beds, no sobbing in front of my closet or in grocery store aisles. I didn’t feel the least bit guilty when I turned on my hair dryer this morning.

But you know that feeling, when you enter a room and suddenly have no idea why you walked there in the first place?

I feel disoriented, standing around, turning in circles, looking for clues about what I might have been up to just twelve days ago. It’s as if I have stepped off a treadmill, and the sensation under my feet does not match the ground I’m standing on.



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