Saturday, September 8, 2012

Survival Mode

Getting out of Survival Mode and back into routine
 Twice since coming to Bolivia we have found ourselves in "Survival Mode." Many of you may have your own understanding of what that means when life gets crazy and you're barely hanging on. Today I would like to share with you what that looks like for us.

When we first arrived in country we were overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with a new language and a different culture, but it went much deeper than that. Every time we stepped out our door we didn't know how to conduct ourselves. We didn't know how to buy the food and supplies we needed. We didn't know what to expect for price and had the pressure of "don't spend too much. You're gringos, they'll try to scalp you!" We didn't know how to cook with the food we did obtain, especially at this altitude of 9,000ft (I'm pretty sure Nathan was worried we would be eating soup packets for the rest of our lives). We didn't know where to buy anything. And quite honestly, neither Nathan, nor I had ever lived in a city of 800,000, compacting the insecurities and anxieties we had. We were required to use public transportation, giving directions with minimal knowledge of the language and how to give directions (I handed my cell phone to a taxi driver once so Nathan could give him the directions!). Let's just say, life was hard. We were surviving, barely making it from one day to the next.

This feeling of survival mode definitely hit again the day that our land lady showed up and told us rather strongly that we needed to move out of her apartment. Once again we were in new territory. How do you look for a house in this country? What should we expect? What kind of contract do we sign? Nathan spent many days walking the streets looking for signs on the exterior of homes and asking at the tiendas for homes for rent (that's the way it's done here). He also jumped online and checked the newspaper every morning. He was stretched, incredibly stretched, as he made phone call after phone call. (Do you realize how hard it can be to make phone calls in your own language? Try doing it when there are not only Spanish speakers at the other end of the line, but also Quechua speakers trying to speak Spanish!) I found myself, sadly, in a fit of anxiety. I felt as if our lives as we know them here had been pulled out from under us and every day we were struggling to get food on the table, shop, think through all of the necessities for our children and accomplish the task of finding a house. I realize now that a great part of that survival mode for me this time was succumbing to my anxiety instead of trusting our great God for the provider He is and always has been for us. But this mode of survival is still a reality of this lifestyle and something we must be prepared for as drastic changes hit us in the future. I can imagine the survival mode we'll go through as we move into the tribe will be much larger.

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