And we’re back!
Being back in Holland almost makes it seem like these past three weeks never happened. Today I moved in to my summer house in Holland, caught up with lots of friends, and already my time in Mexico seems pretty far removed.
When coming back from a trip like this, it is easy to act like it never happened and to fall back into normal routines. However, I think it’s important to incorporate what we’ve learned abroad into our everyday lives back at home. To me, one of the coolest parts about getting to know another culture is that you can take the good parts of that culture and incorporate them into your own personal culture. For example, one part of the Latin American culture that I have come to value and appreciate is the emphasis on relationships as opposed to schedules. What I mean by this is that the people in this culture are not so focused on time as people are in the United States. Often this manifests itself by arriving to events late, such as when my host family was a half hour late to our final dinner on Monday night, 🙂 but to me, it is much bigger than this. From what I’ve seen of Latin American culture, the people would rather sit and chat with a friend over a cup of coffee instead of arrive exactly on time. I’ve grown up with the opposite culture, that tells me the clock should rule my life, and that you’re not on time unless you’re at least five minutes early. My first instinct is still to by ruled by time, but having spent time in Latin America has made me often stop and think about what should be my first priority. I now see that a conversation with a friend has more value than always being on time to class, and that in everything, our relationships should be the most important aspects of our life.
This is one of many lesson’s I’ve learned through immersion in another culture. What an amazing opportunity we have as people in this global community to learn from one another, and to become better people because of it. I hope that each person reading this is encouraged to step out of their comfort zones to meet new cultures. And this is way easier than you think! You don’t have to go to Mexico to encounter people different from yourselves; often all it takes is a walk across the street. My challenge to you is to press into the relational life you are called to lead, and to see the blessings that come from meeting new people and new cultures.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28