Monday, November 16, 2009

Our Mixed Up Family

Where we live now is not home to any of us.  Don't get me wrong; it is a nice place to live.  But there is no one on our team who is from here.  So we lead a team of strangers in a strange country.  There are times that it gets interesting.  While most of us are from our "over there" country, there are a few of us from other places.  Our new family is a totally different culture to any we've had before.  Oh, we like them.... but it is new and interesting.

We're learning words and phrases in a language I'd never thought I'd have to learn.  We're eating food that I would have been thankful I never had to taste.  But now that food is "home" to some of our family, so I can no longer turn my nose up at it, but have to learn to try it with a smile.  It is actually not that bad.

At times it gets interesting.  One of my jobs is to help deal with it all.  To help our team adjust, to learn the language, to relate to people, to step in in situations like the problems with the school, to go with people to doctor's appointments to hear, understand, and translate later on.  With the famies we had who had been here for awhile, that part of my job description was not so busy.

Now, I am busy again.  Not only do I have to help our new family adjust, but I have to help us adjust to our new family.  Then there are always problems in teams.  Two families hit it off really well together.  That is normal.  But they tend to gravitate towards each other and exclude another family.  Likely they don't mean to, but they ignore her.  I have to keep tactfully involving her, bringing her in, insisting that we don't plan things when she is not available.  There are times this clique even in the ministry team irritates me.  We're not all that big that we can't just work together.

I like our team.  I like helping.  But there are weeks that it demands a lot from me.  In two weeks, there will be another event that takes a lot of my time.  In between now and then, I hope to get some normalness at home.

I like our team.  These kids grew up together.  Now they are assimilating the new family's kids.  Honestly, the kids do better than the adults.  They've taken to calling each other their "cousins".  It works.  What else would Auntie So-and-so's kids be called?  It differentiates them from all other people in their world, and none of us have family here.  But I wonder what people at school think when my kids showed up with a new set of cousins who were a totally different nationality than their other cousins.


Karis said...

Ever team needs someone who helps everyone else "stick"/fit together. Someone who is sensitive to what others are needing and feeling and even better if that person is knowledgeable in that culture/situation too! I think your team is very fortunate to have someone like you in that role!

Becky Aguirre said...

Yeah, cliques in mission's communities bother me, too. :( Glad you are sensitive to that and pointing it out, somebody needs to because like you say, most of the time it is not done intentionally.

Growing up, we called everyone "Aunt" and "Uncle" that I'm grown and we're peers, so to speak, working in the same organization, it's rather hard to stop viewing them still as "Aunt and Uncle So-and-so"! :)

Carrie said...

Group dynamics can be very difficult. I'm glad you're working to include all. All the best in your endeavors!