Friday, October 7, 2011

Suburban Princess

Now that I can share openly about our story, it's hard for me to know where to start. So maybe I'll start with right now.

We moved into our new "home" yesterday afternoon. We found an apartment style guesthouse - meaning we have our own living room, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a shared kitchen with the unit next door. Oh - and laundry. (Yay! Our clothes are gettin' stinky!) The room is very affordable (which is such a blessing as we come to the end of our journey).

Amidst the blessing, I feel the heaviness as I battle between knowing this is good, and such a blessing - and the fact that I've turned into a Suburban Princess. I think maybe I hate that. The toilets that don't flush right, the water that never runs fully clear, the mosquito net over my bed, the smell that I can't exactly place, the temperature, the power that sometimes works, the internet that sometimes works, the water from the faucet that I can't use - all these make me face the reality of who I am .... a girl of comfort. And now in our new home, I'm also going to be doing the cooking. (I've enjoyed the last 10 days of being prepared and brought my food.) I'm scared to death to cook here! It's not my kitchen to burn down, it's not my pans, and I left all my exotic spices behind that I adore (you know, like Garlic & Season Salt). At home, I rarely cook with a recipe, and here, I feel so disabled in the fact that I don't have my cookbooks with me. (I know, epicurious, right??) I thought I would just live on black beans and rice, but the only beans I found are dried beans that require me cooking them, don't tell anyone - but I have no idea how to do that!

So now I'm forced to think about my discomfort. I'm forced to alternate between weeding out the sin that is involved and being okay with the fact that I live where I do with the many gifts that I have (like tap water). I hear it often from people who travel to Africa. They begin to feel this weight of all we have in America, and how little there is here, blah blah blah. I'm sure you've heard the story. I hear a lot of people who will begin to feel a guilt over the way they live in America when there are so many people with so much less. I can't say those thoughts have never crossed my mind, for sure they have. However, it's also a topic that Aaron and I have talked a lot about. And we come to the conclusion every time that going down that road can be a bit dangerous. God, in his sovereignty has placed us where he has...and yes, in His sovereignty, placed Africans in Africa. (That maybe sounds cliche and too easy, but forgive me, I'm not typing out the entire conversation. Feel free to have it with us if you want.) BUT .... with that said, I still have a responsibility to look at all I have in America, and when I'm stripped of it - what will I do? Will I be okay? Will I survive? Do I trust that God will enable me to live in such a drastically different way for a short period of time? Will I repent of my lack of thanksgiving for all I've come to believe is my "right" in America? Will I repent of how I've allowed all that America offers to this Suburban Princess to silently and slyly make me think I need God less?

So there you have it - this is where I am today. Today I am going back to the supermarket to look with more open eyes at ways to be creative in providing for my new daughter these next couple of weeks. Today I am going to plead with God to give me an ability that can only come from Him to live out the next couple of weeks (without Aaron to shelter me even...another "fear" that I'm not going into now)....and to live it out well. I'm going to ask for Him to give me a burst of adventure that I don't normally (um, ever) possess. I'm going to ask for Him to give me creativity, endurance, and joy. I'm going to thank Him for what I have waiting at home for me. And I'm going to ask Him to bring me back to it SOON.

Okay - from now on, I'll talk about Dorcas. Promise.

After posting all of this, I began to read through some of the blogs that have been piling up in my RSS feed. I came across one called "The Superwoman Complex". It was a good read for me, especially feeling the weight of all I am feeling right now. So perhaps it isn't so much that I'm a Suburban Princess (although that doesn't help)....but maybe it's that Africa has done what is growing increasingly hard for America to do - that is to strip me of my Superwoman Complex. So this was a good read for me knowing I'm heading back to America where all my modern conveniences as well as our culture encourage such a complex. Sigh. Ladies - this one is worth the read!


Cara said...

Jody, thank you so much for posting the Superwoman, I can totally relate. The problem is, how does one learn not to be Superwoman when it's become so much a part of who we are, even in our spiritual lives? And is just adding God to the equation enough, or is there a more fundamental and radical reordering of our priorities and identities that needs to happen? But what about the fact that all that stuff still does need to get done? You've hit on something I've struggled with since we got married (I was much better at being Superwoman when there was only me to worry about!).

Sounds like you are going to have a similar cooking experience as I had in Tstan! Is there pasta in the supermarket? I made a lot of pasta and rice, with whatever vegetables looked good mixed in (I always peeled them, to be on the safe side) and garlic and onions as a base, as there were no spices. Soup is also pretty easy to do with limited ingredients, and has the added advantage of boiling all the germs out for a nice long time! We had a lot of soups with boiled vegetables and rice. Here's how to cook dried beans, which would be easy to add to soups, too: :) Basically, I would consider it a success if it's edible and doesn't make you violently ill! I felt like that was the best I could do while I was away. :) Good luck!

Andrea said...

I don't think there is any harm in enjoying the luxuries we have here at home as long as we see them as just that. Things like cars, clean water, pretty houses with matching furniture, and being able to take our children to the doctors for vaccinations are not mundane parts of life, they are LUXURIES. It's when we start to think we deserve these things that we get in trouble. If that were the truth, there would be more big beautiful houses where you are now and probably a lot less in our own neighborhoods.

Good luck with the cooking! I can't even imagine. Who knows, maybe you will come up with some really great stuff! Can Dorcas help?