Featured writer: Mel Parson
As I write this, I’ve been in this country for 3 years now. I’ve taught one member of the tribe English, although there are still major communication barriers. The youngest member of the tribe still makes a collection of noises with his tongue and smacking of lips. We can communicate through various hand gestures, however. Before I stepped foot on this foreign soil, it took months of preparation. To gain a visa, there were numerous appointments and doctors’ visits to ensure healthy arrival. As you enter any new country, there is a variety of things to do in advance: vaccinations, financial savings, buying necessities, taking a leave from work, etc. The months leading up to my arrival into this exotic land were met with anxieties, fears, confusion, anticipation, and happiness. My husband and I took a class and read many books to learn how to cope with various struggles we would encounter. What you cannot prepare for in advance are the sleepless nights and diet changes and complete lifestyle change.
When the day finally came for the voyage to begin, my husband loaded our bags, locked the door to our house, and I knew when we came home again our lives would forever be changed. The day I arrived the elder of the tribe couldn’t speak a word of English and needed constant care and attention. Though we’ve been here 3 years, we are still coaching him how to properly use the toilet since he wasn’t accustomed to one when we arrived. I think he’d rather run around pantless and free than be constrained to such new world amenities. Manners have been the most difficult, as the passing of gas is respected and highly regarded in his tribe. Perhaps I shouldn’t push my ways onto him and attempt to embrace his culture. Now that he speaks a range of vocabulary words I am currently teaching him the alphabet and how to write with a pen and paper. I think it was a mistake to introduce him to cake, as this is one of the only foods he wants to eat. Another error was showing him his first movie since he’d rather watch a DVD than learn grammar.
This country, though wild and unpredictable, is one of great beauty and wonder. It holds the keys to happiness and will force you to become selfless and see the needs of the people. It was on the top of my bucket list to move here and if I am able, I will live here indefinitely. I’ve grown to love this tribe more than life itself. The adventure into the land of Motherhood is just that—an adventure.
Read more from this author at: http://compelledbymel.wordpress.com/
Photo on the left: Using cake frosting for an ancient ritual.
Photo on the right: Learning how the tribe shows affection by the covering of your mouth and placing a stick between your eyes.