Skip to main content

Rest and Cultural Fatigue

Yesterday I had the privilege of having my first ever parent-teacher conferences.  I had no idea what to expect, I just knew that it wasn't like what I'm used to in the States.  All the teachers for the High School were in one room and we just had tables set up with our names on them for parents to come visit us.  Out of my 50 students, I had 6 parents come visit, which was actually more than many people had.  As much as I enjoyed talking with te parents, there was one mom who really helped me out.

After we'd exchanged the usual pleasantries about her child and discussed her grades, she asked me questions I wouldn't think to ask the teacher.  She asked me how my transition into the country was going -- was I feeling settled, what has pleasantly surprised you, what has been disappointing or surprising?  She asked if I'd gotten over the cultural fatigue yet... I wasn't sure what she meant so I asked her to explain.  She said that there's a different type of fatigue we experience in the first weeks and months of a huge cultural transition that's largely due to the way our brains process information.  She continued to explain that when we walk down a street at home, our eyes notice most things but our brains only process what's moving or what's different.  However, when we drive down Ortigas (the main road near Faith), our brains are processing as fast as possible just to keep up with all the "different" things our eyes are seeing.  She said, "Don't be surprised if you go somewhere and find yourself exhausted before you even get there.  It only takes about an hour of that rapid processing for your brain to just be overloaded."  Suddenly, so many moments in the past six weeks made sense.  At one point I had secretly wondered if I was coming down with mono -- nope, all of it is cultural fatigue and it's totally normal.

This is one of those moments as well.  I woke up this morning and decided I wanted an adventure.  I heard many people talk about Mega Mall and how great it is and I found out it really isn't hard to get to from where I live.  So, I hopped on the correct transportation (after an hour of looking for it's loading station) and began the trek across town.  About 20 minutes into the car ride, it was like my brain just stopped and my eyes started to hurt severely.  I didn't think much of it and just thought maybe I'd not had enough caffeine or something.  Still, it continued.  So, I eventually just tried to close my eyes and not think.  That was the trick -- my brain was completely overstimulated and it needed to not see anything more for a few minutes.

As we neared the entrance to Mega Mall, I simply wanted to get out of the car, walk to Starbucks, and curl up in a big comfy chair with a hot cup of coffee.  For the record, I hadn't yet seen comfy armchairs in public places -- something I miss greatly about the US.  However, after I walked into the mall and went up one floor, I came across a place called Blenz Coffee Company -- free internet, great coffee, amazing cinnamon rolls, AND a comfy chair next to an outlet.  This place is a gem!  And it's MINE for the whoooooole afternoon.  I might not explore as much of Mega Mall as I should for having come all this way, but I don't really care.  I'm learning how to rest -- and not necessarily sleep -- but truly rest.  This atmosphere helps tremendously, so, if you don't mind... I'm signing off so I can enjoy the mocha in my hand.


Popular posts from this blog

Growing by Shrinking

In these final months of my 20's, I find myself reflecting a lot on how much I have changed in the 10 years of 20's.  While I have very few regrets, there are more than a few things that hindsight has been a humbling 20/20 to accept as part of who I am and where I come from.  Maybe you can relate.

At age 20, I was convinced I'd go to grad school and then likely onto a doctoral program to become a famous musician.  My entire identity and self-worth was wrapped up in being an accomplished musician.  God definitely gave me some talent, but what really fueled my achievements was pride and some entitled self-righteousness.  I just wanted to be good to prove to myself and others that I deserved recognition.  As that dream unraveled and then all but disappeared later in my 20's, what I'm left realizing is that it was never about the music or the achievements themselves.  All I was after was the recognition -- the acknowledgment, the confirmation that someone (anyone!) had…

Already Beloved, Not Yet Pursued

Friends -- for what it's worth, this is as much for me as it may be for anyone else.  Not an expert, just an introvert with some thoughts...

The longer and deeper I come to know Jesus, the more truth I see to the phrase "already but not yet."  In the world of theology, we use this phrase to talk about how Jesus has already come to earth, but God is not yet finished revealing Himself to us.  Someday, Jesus will come back and everything will be known and seen for what it is in the eyes of God.  But for now, we live in an awkward in-between: already knowing more is coming, but not yet experiencing it.

On Valentine's Day, many of us live the "already but not yet" reality relationally: already dating, not yet engaged; already engaged, not yet married; already married, not yet parents; already parents, not yet sleeping through the night. ;)  There's always a next step -- always something more, always something missing.

But for those of us spending today feeli…

Thoughts from the Internet-less Millennial

So, there's something about me you should know.

For the last six months, I have not had internet at home.  That's right -- I'm a millennial who has a job that requires internet access and yet I have no internet at home.  By extension, it means I do not have Netflix, Prime, Hulu, Spotify, or any of the other internet-based subscriptions so common to the American household today (and I don't have cable, either -- just 3 channels that come in when the weather is nice, haha).  I told this to a few people lately, forgetting how uncommon it was and was humored by their reactions.  What has become normal to me is outlandish to a few of my fellow millennials and completely unheard of when GenXer's compute that such a Millennial exists!  To be clear, I still have a smartphone with a (very small) data plan, so if absolutely necessary, I can access the online world... but honestly, my life doesn't require it from 4 PM to 8 AM, so I've foregone the $50+/month price tag…