This isn't day 1 of reentry. It is day 1 of blogging about it. The goal is 31 posts for 31 days (perhaps but not necessarily consecutive) to help me navigate reentry and invite others into this journey with me. Who knows? Maybe it'll last longer than 31 days; maybe it won't even last that long. In Cambodia and in life, most things are "maybe's" and few things are certain. So for however short or long lived this is, you're welcome to join me here on the reentry journey!
Day 1: Conversations in Reentry
Some of the nicest things people have said to me in reentry include:
1. “Welcome back to America! I try not to say ‘Welcome home’ to people who have been gone for a long time because I’m not sure how they feel about where home is.”
What a sensitive practice. I certainly appreciate it, and I’m sure many others do, too.
2. “The people there really seemed to love you. I read some of the posts they wrote [when you left].”
Wow. Thoughtful. She kept up on social media and recognizes the value of my relationships over there.
3. “If you’re free for dinner, I would like to buy you Indian food.”
Because butter chicken and naan can’t be passed up. Also, authentic Asian food or exposure to anything from another culture is a treat. Too much of America all at once is overwhelming.
4. “Were you scared?”
Yes, I was. Questions like this remind me it’s okay to acknowledge the real-life, hard topics like fear.
That’s right. Nothing. It goes a long way. I’m thankful for those who simply offer their presence—and for those who understand when I take a raincheck on an opportunity to hang out because I’m exhausted or overwhelmed.
Some of the top things I've enjoyed saying in reentry include:
1. “I’m grateful for the a/c here.”
If you want rest from some #firstworldproblems enthusiasts, say this. Disclaimer: it has to be a genuine comment slipping out on accident, or you may sound like a jerk.
2. “All that about politics is true, but in just four years we’ll vote all over again. In Cambodia they’ve had the same prime minister for 30 years, and they can’t get him out of power because of corrupt election processes.”
If you want to give perspective on politics and governments, say this. (Hear them out first, though. Presidents do matter.)
3. “I had a flush toilet in my apartment.”
If you want to impress your friend who has also lived in a developing country, say this. You may also say this to anyone and everyone because, six months later and in a country where flush toilets are the norm, you’re still that excited about it.
4. “I’m really proud of the students there.”
If you want to talk about relationships and discipleship, two of the greatest blessings of your life, say this.
5. “I’d like a Dr. Pepper, please.”
If you want to exist as a happy human being in America for the next 30 minutes, say this.
Till next time, friends. Go enjoy a Dr. Pepper today!