Written by an Overseas Goer
Transitioning to a new culture and learning a new language is a big transition for anyone. By choosing to move overseas, I also had to adapt to living far from my family and close circle of friends for the first time in my life. In addition to the loneliness of leaving familiar faces and places, I also felt the loneliness of being a cultural outsider. It’s a strange feeling to walk into a room, not understand what’s being said, not know what’s going on, and not have any concept of what is to be expected of you or what to expect of others around you. Having a friend in those situations makes all the difference.
I still remember my first friend here inviting me to her work place. I knew no one else, and I could really only say hi and introduce myself. But since she was with me the whole time, rather than being a scary situation, I had a lot of fun. She and so many others have been so patient with me in my broken language, my culture blunders, and my plain ignorance of how life works.
Talking with my local Muslim friends here may not provide the same degree of fellowship as hanging out with my girls back home, but the Father has met many relational needs through these women. They are the ones I call when I’m bored, when I’m lonely, when I don’t understand something that’s happening, or when I just want someone to talk to. I credit much of my growth in language learning to the patience of my sweet friends, as well as my adjustment to the culture here.