Different isn't Different....It's just Different
This was a catchphrase from our training in January. One of our favorite leaders there shared so many wise things with us - and this was one of them. Her tongue slipped one time while speaking and she said, "Different isn't different - it's just different!" She of course meant to say, "Different isn't BAD - it's just different!" :) We never let her live it down and she, in good spirits, joined us right along in the laughter and even quoted it again for us in our "training wrap-up" video. We have been in Mexico for 6 months now and I have obviously noticed many differences. This phrase rings clear in my mind each time I'm tempted to complain. Mostly we LIKE the differences. We find joy and excitement and interest in exploring all the different things about this culture, language, and country. The biggest time (for me at least) that I noticed SO many differences was definitely giving birth. And we're not in a 3rd world country.....I wasn't giving birth in a desert or anything. We were in a clean, efficient hospital. But still - the differences screamed at me. Probably because at that point we had only been in Mexico about 3 months. Probably because we knew hardly ANY Spanish then. Probably because giving birth in general isn't the most comfortable thing in the world. Every time in the hospital or later during pediatric visits I was often tempted to say, "Well, in the U.S.A. they...." and sometimes it would slip off my tongue before I could stop it. But I am NOT in the U.S.A. And just because I am used to a certain way doesn't mean it's the RIGHT way. We were blessed to have this kind of training before even leaving for our field. We had many sessions on important subjects: do not steal their customs or their culture, do not force them to hold YOUR customs or culture, do not assume that your way is the right way, and never stop learning! Be needy. :) It's not always easy to remember these things, especially in the midst of culture shock/stress. Often I just think, "WHY does this have to be so overly complicated - why can't this just be the way I'm used to!" But I have learned so much about how they do things and we all have grown to love it. Well not every SINGLE little thing, I'll be honest. But we now have such a love of learning their culture and how THEY do things. It's nice to be open-minded. It's nice to be needy. It's nice to be vulnerable. And it's wonderful to learn. We have so, so many blessed relationships now with the people here and I wouldn't trade that for anything.