Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Adapting Back into Normal Life l maddy

What does it mean to adapt? Adapt means to become accustomed to something, or to change in order to survive. It means to change your behavior so that it is easier to live in a particular place or situation. Going to the Dominican Republic was a huge thing to adapt to. We needed to accept and appreciate the culture of the Dominican and the people it brings in order to do what we came to do. We can not enter the Dominican as high and mighty people who think they have all the answers and all the resources to fix everyone’s lives. No, we have to be equals; we have to listen and love. They way to do that is live among and strive for connection with these people. There are simple things like changing your name so it's easier for the people there to pronounce and things like going a week without a shower because there is just not water available to us. We learned to accept that because so many people here do not have any water at all. We shared 2 beds to nine girls because that’s what we needed to do.

We were able to adapt the best that we could in the Dominican and now it's time adapt back to home life again. It’s been a little difficult to always respond positively to adapting back in Canada. The first few days were great. They were full of love and special attention. I felt like my family and people at church really wanted to know how I had been and made sure I knew that they missed me greatly. But as that first week ended, the extra attention and love had worn off a bit. Everything felt back to normal, but too normal too fast. I hated feeling like I had never even gone to the Dominican especially after I had spent so much time there and experienced so much. There have been a few days where I really just wanted to be back at the construction site or enjoying a siesta adventure. But then again, I’m satisfied to be home at the same time. It’s difficult to constantly feel like you want to be somewhere else.

Busyness here in Canada has hit me smack in the face. Even though we were gone and have to adapt back into Canadian life, it does not slow down for us to catch up. Sure we were busy in the DR too, but that was us serving and doing what we came there to do. At home it's so many activities. Every night of the week my family is out doing something different whether it's sports, youth, Gems, or meetings. It's hard to get the time I need at home for myself and when I do, it's been consumed with writing and being busy with assignments. I’ve been occupied at home and sometimes my family doesn’t understand how much work some things are for me to complete. There’s school, then things after school, and things on the weekend, it's just hard to catch up. Even though everything has felt pretty normal again, I have definitely noticed and felt the difference in time. In the Dominican if you were prepared to be picked up at 2, you could get picked up at 4. If there was a delivery at 1, it might not come till 5. And that's the way it works. It's normal and that's how things are run. It’s Dominican time.

In Canada, we are controlled by time. We are run by what the clock reads. How many times have you or have you heard someone else freak out about being late for something? Way too many to count. In the Dominican if something was late, it was never really late, it was just not at the time we expected it to be and that was ok. But now I'm back in Canada and time is a huge thing again. Being late is such a dramatic event and it can really create tension and kinda screw things up. There is anger when things and people don't arrive on time. I found myself recently in the van with my family waiting for my brother to be dropped off from work. He was later than expected and I, my siblings, and my mom found ourselves becoming annoyed and there was anger. Later I was thinking about it and wondering why I was so bothered by it. Sure I know there are certain things where it is really important to be on time, but in this situation I was in a comfortable van, with family, and my brother wasn’t even that late. In the end we made it to where we wanted to go and had good time. In the DR we would be waiting hot and sweaty for long periods of time for things and people to arrive and that was just fine. It's hard to feel the stress about time again especially when you've spent 2 months adapting to Dominican time. I miss the laid back attitude in the Dominican and if something was late, we created our own fun. We found games to play and kids to connect with. Empty Kola Real bottles with rocks inside, sticks, and energetic kids, made for a perfect baseball game and pig catching and cow herding are pretty great pastimes.

In the Dominican we learned to adapt and as soon as you can adapt, you can appreciate the culture, love the culture, and love the people it brings. It's hard to bring back everything I have seen and experienced in the Dominican because Canada is different in many ways. And I have to realize that not everyone here has seen what I have seen in the DR. I have to appreciate others' experiences back in Canada and they will learn to appreciate mine too. I learned to adapt in the Dominican Republic and I am adapting back at home. Listening to both sides of the story and appreciating everyone's experiences, is how we can work together and love every person and every culture.