Friday, November 12, 2010

One month back in Huntsville

    One month back in Hville.
    Making observations about adjustment and life differences between the US and South Asia.  Something I didn't expect: that buying on credit and debit cards would feel weird, and that giving talks on my experiences to churches and groups would begin to make me feel like a rock-star. 
    I'm often amazed by the computerization of U.S. life.   Buying meals at Burger King or McD's with a credit card is something new to me.   Cell-phones have progressed a lot as well, and the smart phone is the big thing now.   I still like the "dumb phones"  and flip phones. 
    I did acclimate back to driving a car fairly quickly, and within two weeks I was driving my own car again.   I missed that greatly in India, though I did enjoy walking around in Indian communities a lot and built my bargaining powers with the auto-rickshaw drivers.
   I almost got a ticket on the Parkway when I didn't slow down in the right lane as I passed a police car and another car on the side.   The officer told me when he pulled me over that you are supposed to either slow down or move to the left lane.  I told him that I didn't realize that, and he asked me where I had been the last couple of years.   I told him that I've been out of the country, living in India the last two years!   The officer looked at me funny and then told me the law has been on the book for a while, but he was giving me a warning this time and to drive more carefully.   Thankfully, I didn't get a ticket, and I bet that officer had a good story to tell!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Home Again Home Again

             I'm home in the States again.  Catching up with old friends and learning all the new stuff that's changed in the US, Alabama, Huntsville, my church, and people's lives.   I've been expecting all the new things, and am slightly and pleasantly surprised by the things that have stayed the same.   1 week and 4 days into being home, and I'm getting used to the world about me.   I think my greatest anxiety is in getting a new job soon, preferably in a ministry position.  Haven't been in a Wal-Mart yet, so I can't say if other's experience at being overwhelmed by the choices and choices and choices of Wal-Mart will hold true for me.  (I rather think it won't).   I do miss the slower-paced life and the ability to just walk down a street and buy whatever I think I might need and just talk to the wallahs/vendors on the road.    I am happy to notice that the Southerner hospitality and friendliness is still there in our communty, despite our U.S. orientation towards time rather than event and our strong sense of self-reliance.   Strong community and family values and an orientation towards warm human relations are common points between Indian and US South culture.   I've now attended my home churches' big church setting of worship service and of Sunday School/ Life Groups and haven't been weirded out (yet).   I do note the strong emphasis on programs and timeliness that is present in the church settings as well as in the American culture at large.   But really, the best part of coming back for me has been reconnecting with friends here in Huntsville.   My greater life-journey will continue, though my journeys in South Asia have been completed for now. 

Grace and Peace in Jesus to all,
Paul Lanier