Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Texas V. Zambia

Ok, so I've said that in some ways, our time in Texas is preparing us for life in Zambia.
So, Zambia is going to be a time of intense cross-cultural learning and living: they have different foods, ways of dress, language, and styles of worship. This is all true of Texas! Texans eat, dress, and talk differently than most Pacific Northwesterners. Bellingham is all about local, organic, vegetarian, wheat/gluten free, fancy lattes, with a emphasis on international ethnic foods. Texas is all about bbq, Mexican food, meat, iced tea, meat, and fifty kinds of amazing desserts. In Bellingham you are most likely to drive (in this order) a Subaru, Toyota, Honda, or Volvo. In Texas you can drive a Ford truck, a Chevy truck, or a Dodge truck.
While Bellinghamers might be most excited about the new REI catalog and the sweet deal they got on Crocs/Keens/Birkenstocks/Chacos,Texans wait for the new BassPro catalog and wear cowboy boots, big buckles, jeans & cowboy hats. Plus Texans just talk a little different than folks in the NW. They're always "fixen'" to go somewhere or do something. And they're generally more polite than you can imagine. Now overall, Texans aren't THAT different from Northwesterners, but we definitely had to adjust and adapt to the culture here and be respectful of differences to build relationships and get to know people.
That said, in Washington when we talk about Zambia people are very concerned by the critters we'll face living out at Ciyanjano. The scariest bug/animal in Bellingham is yellow jacket. But Texans know all about big snakes, spiders, and ants. They have at least 3 kinds of poisonous snakes, huge spiders, and fire ants. When you tell people from Washington that it gets in the low-100's during the hot season they break out in a sweat. In Texas, they're used to it. The land in the hill country also looks a lot like rural Zambia, so it looks like home to them. We have no cell-phone reception, need to drive into town for wireless internet = we feel disconnected and distant from our home and church and the majority of our friends. Sounds like the first couple of weeks/months in Zambia to me.
I guess all this points to the fact that maybe Texans are more culturally prepared to move to Zambia than us sissy Northwesterners. But that's why we're here I guess, to toughen up. And God-willing, raise some Texas-sized support!

2 comments:

Norm and Audrey Henderson said...

Wonderful! Of course Bellingham is awfully close to Vancouver BC... :)

Eric said...

You must remember, there is a big difference between small town Texas(where you were) and city Texas (where I am). Contrast is probably the same in Zambia.