Friday, January 9, 2009

Christmas, Culture Shock & A Zulu Wedding...

Hey everyone!

So sorry I haven't been in touch lately! I've been away from work for the holidays and away from any connection to the internet. I've been able to log on once in awhile through my cell phone but haven't wanted to rack up costs by staying on for too long and was waiting for the chance to write everyone a nice long, unrushed letter. Hope you're doing well and that your Christmas and New Year was great and spent with lots of family time. Thanks to everyone who wrote me emails and called to! It made my Christmas!

During the holidays, Mthoko and I took a little cruise around the Durban Harbor.

I spent my time here by visiting my fiancee's family on Christmas Day. His mom made a really nice meal and we were full for the whole day long. Doesn't sound so different from home, hey? But man, the weather was hot and because the climate was so different, the whole holiday feel was different too. For that reason I've been so confused by the seasons and I feel more like its July than December and sometimes I'll actually tell that to people. Haha, whoopsie. I guess they're slowly but surely getting used to this crazy white girl.

For New Years, Mthoko and I went with one of Mthoko's close friends, Max, to a beach party up the coast a bit from Durban. It turned out to be quite different than we thought – we had heard that it was a Radio Station party that catered to the young white youth in the area – that it was suppose to have some of the greatest fireworks and live music in the country. We were all excited, bought our tickets and even packed a picnic basket for the roadtrip. But when we got there we were immediately confronted by tonnes of teenagers drinking, some already drunk at 8pm! Definetly not the classy party we thought it was going to be! We went in and heard some of the music and tried to just have fun but it was kind of a tragic night with the kids all around us.
All in all, we had fun just because we were with Mthoko's friend, Max, but it was quite an interesting night.

Max, Me and Mthoko...

New Years Day Mthoko and I spent hours talking about New Years Resolutions. We decided to give each other Resolutions because we both know that we have blind spots and, since we know each other best, we could help each other out with these. It was such an interesting, growing time and I felt like it was the best way that we could have started out the New Year. One of my Resolutions: to be more creative! To draw, paint, sing, record music at least 2 times a week. I'll let you know how this goes. Another is to fight any spirit of fear I have by stepping out of my comfort zone at least once a week. Haha, this one is not so fun and is quite challenging but I've got to say, I did it today and it felt great!! Thinking about it more though, I think I may have to up this from once a week to once a day. It just feels that good.

In all, I spent about 2 weeks on holidays and am now back at World Changers Academy (WCA) where I am starting to work. Msizi, who is a good friend of mine and the leader just over me who is helping me with my new role here at WCA, just got back from his honeymoon so I will really get down to business next week. This week I am brushing up on some computer skills, earning my “International Computers Driving License” and investing in new friendships with some ladies here at the base. I've just had such a great day, sitting and laughing with my new friends: Mabusi, Pindile, and Precious.

Oh! and how could I forget my day as a Zulu maid of honor? This was for Msizi's wedding who I mentioned above who was the groom and just got married to Nosipho. It was a beautiful day but, to be honest, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by everything. Tonnes of people and lots of new things.

One thing I've noticed while writing this and writing emails to a bunch of people too is that during my first two weeks here in South Africa, I was amazed at how easily I transitioned into everything. In so many ways, it felt like I had never left here from the time I last visited in May 2007 and I lived and worked with tonnes of confidence that I was (and am) right where God intended for me to be. The Wedding day though was a bit of a climax point for me because this was the day I really experienced some Culture Shock at being so far away from home, from what I'm familar with, and missing my family and traditions over the Holidays too. Since then I've been trying to take everything in stride but at times, I've been feeling a little lonely. Thanks to everyone for your prayers and your emails. They've been really encouraging through everything!

I did find the day stressful but I am sure that my stress can be contributed to this culture shock I just mentioned. I went to the bride's family's home out in a very rural area the night before. It was very rural – an outdoor toilet, a basin to wash in in the morning because there was no shower... the meat for the wedding, I saw being butchered up in the morning. Yup, I was greeted "Good Morning" by a dead cow head on my way to the outdoor toilet. Awesome. Haha. Usually I would laugh about this and see the whole thing as an adventure but for some reason, I began to feel very lonely and being the only white person made the loneliness stronger. The girls were all excited and speaking in Zulu and I wanted so bad to just jump in on the conversation but couldn't. My Zulu is growing but not fast enough to carry on real conversations yet. So yeah, I felt overwhelmed, lonely... but had a good cry that night and was feeling better by the morning. Despite my feelings I knew I am strong, God is with me and I could get through it.

The night of the wedding, when it was all over, I had a good talk with my roomate here from Australia, Cate. It was so great to talk about things we were both feeling overwhelmed about and realize like, “What a relief! I am normal!!” Haha. Guys, don't laugh... I am normal. Then we just spent time exchanging crazy stories and laughing like crazy.

Here are a few pics from the wedding. I've put up a tonne more in an album in my Facebook account. Hope you can check them out by clicking on the following link:

I'll try to include some more pictures and stories as I slowly but surely become Zulu.

I think thats about it for now. I'll write some more about the work I'm doing here and include some more pictures of my friends here too. Thanks again for all your prayers and emails. Keep 'em coming!!

Lots of love


1 comment:

KarenLesher said...

Dear Christy: Happy New Year. I was missing your smiling face in church this morning. I know that you are going to be a blessing to all around you. I would have loved to see you when you caught a glimpse of the cow head on the way to the bathroom. :) Welcome to the wonderful rural world! God has blessed you with courage and passion and it is such a joy for everyone who gets to know you. Blessings to you in the new year. Love and prayers. Karen Lesher