I have been laboring in Christian Character Education in Novgorod, Russia and Samara, Russia for the past 6 years. Are you wondering, “Is there life after The Field?” After six years of laboring in Russia, the ex-pats have finally returned, “Home.” But, as you can well realize, home does not feel like putting on an old pair of shoes. Life in America feels like a pair of new shoes, about two sizes too small, with killer 6-inch heels. “How can that be?” you ask, as nostalgia for the homeland sets in.
Russia has cataclysmically changed in the past decade. America has certainly changed, but very little in comparison. In fact, the hottest, “New” wave of clubs is a 70’s and 80’s polyester joint where you can disco till’ you drop. I remember feathering my hair in high school, no problem. Almost all the songs on the radio are remakes, with the only twist being techno notes mixed in. The term, “Groovy” has flipped flopped to mean something awful and out of it, I can handle the new terminology. So, if everything is familiar here, and spoken in my native tongue, why the discomfort?
I knew the answer to the above question while at the bank. I walked right up to the teller window and flopped my bag down on the counter. The only problem was, the lady before me was not finished with her transaction. Space bubbles, I forgot I had one, and the size of them in the states. After the client and teller gave me the dreaded look of death, I sheepishly retreated back to the red roped section patiently waited my turn.
The answer was confirmed when I returned a bottle of salad dressing to the grocery store. I went in, like a lawyer, ready to present my case. “The stuff came out of the bottle looking like a biology experiment,” I passionately exclaimed. I got my money back with a smile, only after presenting point I on my 10 point mental outline. The customer is always right vs. wrong!
The disjointed feelings came from the changes within, I could no longer fully identify and function with ease in my homeland. Like the apostle Paul said,” We are no longer Jews or Greeks or slaves or free men or even merely men or women, but we are all the same- we are Christians; we are one in Christ.”-TLB My stability through the instability remains in my identity in Christ, defining myself in Him while readjusting to my homeland. Sure, I may end up with a few “Corns” but through the insecurity I am drawn to the open arms of the security giver.
View the original print magazine where this article was first published.