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Men Whistling at Women

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Susan Evans: Men Whistling at Women

This article is a peek into an unfortunate aspect of life as a female TCK: unwanted male attention. Although one commenter was quick to say that that’s common in the U.S. as well, it’s not the same in my experience. When men gawk or whistle at me in the U.S., I am rarely afraid, because they rarely intend to do anything. Not so in Haiti; or at least, that’s how it feels. That’s not to diminish the experience of those in the U.S. or say that it’s not still wrong. But it had a new dimension of fear for me overseas, because I felt that men were more likely to get away with hurting me than in the U.S.

How do you deal with unwanted male attention, mamas?

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Noise: A re-entry story

Hi ladies! I want to introduce you to Liz, who’s bravely decided to share her re-entry story with you as a series. Repatriating or re-entry can be a tough thing; it seems like lots of conflicting feelings are common. So it’s great to have some insight into her experience! Thanks, friend. Enjoy!

It’s mid-morning and I’m sitting in my living room, listening to the comforting drone of my neighbor-farmer’s four-wheeler; he is doing his daily movement of irrigation equipment to water the alfalfa field. I’m happy, with my coffee and my laptop and the chirp of robins out of my large living room window.

But there’s the ghost of fear, tension, and my chest feels a little tight. I gently probe the emotion. It’s raw, it’s hard, and I feel the first tell-tale signs that tears may threaten.

What IS this? What is going on?

It’s been 7 months since I returned from my African-culture overseas post and I’m just now feeling like I can allow myself to feel and explore this tension. Until now it’s been too fresh, too frightening. What if I dig into it and it’s too much for me? What if I start crying and I can’t stop – the homeschool day needs to start in a few minutes. What if it sparks a new wave of depression, and I learn that depression is something I will carry with me longer than my years on the mission field?

But with the comforting lilt of the birds and the fresh spring morning air wafting through the window to strengthen and comfort my soul, I allow the feelings to come. Welcome, troubling thoughts. You may come out into the open, fears and insecurities. I’m creating space for you now.

Flashback to sitting in my concrete block house. Also morning, also coffee. Also noises coming through the windows. But here the light is brighter, harsher, the sounds louder. Motorcycles, yelling. The crackling of fire, roosters crowing. My guard shifting his weight, the plastic chair grating against the concrete. He shifts his shotgun and it’s like an electric shock to the brain: adrenaline hits; danger is out there, possibly near, possibly imminent. Remember the bodies in the street last fall? Thieves are shot dead here. Remember the intruder on your property the first year here?

The Lord is my strength and my shield and I lean into him. My Bible is precious as it sits in my lap, its weight and threadbare cover are comforting to me. I thumb its well-worn pages and cling to the words of my days’ reading. Pink highlights the encouraging, comforting verses. They nourish me and sustain me.

But the fears still lurk, some days. What is that yelling? I can understand the local language when it’s spoken to me clearly at a normal pace, but when slang is tossed around amidst a cacophony of other sound, from the street, at full voice, it’s a discordant, clanging symphony. It’s a club of which I am not a part.

Motorcycles kick up dust and the burning trash sends smoke waves through my house; I tell the kids to go upstairs to play since it’s isn’t so bad up there in the center of the house if you close the guest room door.

I love my ministry, I don’t regret living here. Our family has made a choice and I stick by it; I would choose it again. But when they said missions could be hard, I didn’t understand it would make me feel like this. I’m under assault all day from the dust, the smoke, the repetitive adrenaline activations. It’s a chronic stress and I wonder sometimes how long it will take before my regularly high cortisol levels will start taking a physical toll on my body. I’m already on anti-depressants, thanks to an episode of trauma-induced depression and PTSD during my second year.

I don’t know what the voices are saying and I know sometimes people in the street might wish me harm if they could. Just remember what happened to the neighbors across the lane; they were watched by people sitting in the street and when the right moment arose, those same people brought guns and fists and made their desires known through force, violence. My kids are upstairs and Mama Bear is constantly on the alert. It’s better now that the guard is here, but his presence (or rather their presence, as multiple men rotate through my front yard in the course of a week) just veils the threat.

Jumping back out to the present, as the tears threaten harder now, and school really does have to start soon.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll be brave enough to try again.

Surviving Christmas Overseas

http://unendingjoyadventures.com/2017/11/29/surviving-christmas-overseas/amp/

Some good thoughts here!

MMM Podcast Episode 2: International Travel with Small Children

Here’s how to listen:

-Right in this post! Just click play. You can also download it from here. (Amazing, eh? I know your internet stinks, mamas; I’ve got your back.)

-On Soundcloud. They have a nice app for your phone and if you add to a playlist or a station, you’ll always see when a new one’s posted (I think). And please, if you like it, hit like and share it! Let’s spread the word.

And if you’ve got more questions for me, don’t miss out on our first Twitter chat! Here’s the post on that, in case you missed it. 

Featured post

Transition! Change!

The Fine Line Between Expat Chaos and Rhythm

Four Ways Missionaries Can Leave Well For The Field

I know lots of you are in transition as you’re heading back overseas from a summer in your country of origin…these may hit home.

You’ve got this, mama.

Workarounds: Shipping Labels

Living overseas can be tricky. Especially when you just want to print a shipping label but the U.S. government knows you’re not in the United States, but what it doesn’t know is that your box is going to be carried to the United States tomorrow, and you don’t want to have to reimburse some kind acquaintance for an indeterminate amount of money and trust that they’re going to remember the address you gave them correctly.

This, mamas, requires what we call “a workaround.”

PayPal will let you print a USPS shipping label, and they don’t care where the heck you are. Pay for it, print it, affix to the package, DONE. That way, you can put it in your new friend’s hands, confident that the shrug you just spend two months knitting will actually get to your mom, as long as they don’t lose it or forget about it in their luggage.

The only hiccup might be that you have to also indicate the date you intend to ship it, and depending on how many stops your friend is making, it might be a while. Still, it’s probably better that entrusting it to whatever postal service might be available to you.

https://www.paypal.com/shiplabel/create/

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