I read Heathcote Safari's blogpost this morning and she pretty much stole my thunder ;-)A snippet is this, but read her whole thing - it's a great read.
"When we moved here, we could have decide d to do things ‘the ex-pat way’. It’s not necessarilystraightforward, but it does make life easier … you send your kids to an English-speaking school, you go to an international church, you buy your food in Lidl and Aldi and when you want to go out, you go to hotels or restaurants where you know they speak English. Hey, I’m not knocking it; there’s something to be said for making yourself understood.
It’s just not what we want. The focus of our ministry here may not be local, but our lives surely are. Clearly, we’re never going to pass for Spaniards but we still want to be able to talk to our neighbours, to understand why things work the way they do, to shop and eat local food."
(Obviously nationalities are different to ours, but the heart intention is the same)
The 5c worth that I would like to add for me, is this. A few of the English speaking people I have met here have said to me that I must join the "British Ladies Club" as it will be a good way for me to make friends.
I know that these people have only good intentions for wanting me to fit in and be involved, and I am grateful for their enthusiasm. At the same time, anyone that knows me will know that any of those three words would be enough to make me break out in a rash - and the three together would have me running screaming into the hills.
- British - I have nothing against Brits. Except their cricket team.... ;-) So it's not the nationality.
- Ladies - Never ever do "Ladies" things, ladies breakfasts, Ladies Meetings, Ladies Bible Study.... Ladies Gym even - big no, no for me. I don't know why, I just feel a bit like a man there! :-)
- Club - Usually, but not always, too exclusive. Look at each one on its own merit, but when combined with "Ladies" --- no.
If we were to join any group of people, which we would actually like to do, they must be local people or families, so that we can feel that we are doing everything we can to embrace our new home.
It's not always easy. Especially when you are always surrounded by conversations, at bus stops, in buses, in shopping queues, restaurants....everywhere, and you realise you don't have a flippin' clue what they are saying. Whereas back in SA, I would happily initiate conversations with perfect strangers in any of those places.
So there are language challenges, but in a way they are good because it keeps the desire to learn the language, fresh. So far I can pretty much:
- greet and thank
- ask for bags at the supermarket
- get tickets for the bus
- ask for a burger with cheese
- and (drumroll) ask for red and white wine! HAHA! (and beer when it's really hot!)
This post is in no way meant to knock The British Ladies Club or those who are part of it. Each to their own!