we're all a little bit nervous. It's crazy and we shouldn't be. But I guess we are.
When we were training last summer in VA, they sometimes mentioned that we could expect re-entry shock when we returned for visits to the US. Everyone talks about how all of the options are so overwhelming. Different folks shared funny stories about things that they'd experienced. One of the gals shared about how her first trip to Walmart took her hours and when she finally arrived at the cash register with very little in her cart she was asked whether she wanted paper or plastic. She had absolutely no idea what they could be referring to and then assumed it was her method of payment.
Another guy told us how it took him a very long time at the gas station as he tried to feed money into the new slot they'd added to the gas pump. Finally someone explained that it was a credit card reader.
We heard the stories and we didn't believe that it would ever be us. Now, after just 10 months out of North America, we're wondering if it might be our reality. We're not headed to America. We're only headed to Nairobi, Kenya. We know that we won't have nearly the options that we would have in the States. Yet, everyone has told us how much more there is available than what we have here. And we're wondering if we can handle it.
I didn't realize that everyone was feeling that way until breakfast this morning when our conversation went something like this:
One of the kids: "Mom, what are you most excited about doing in Kenya?"
Me: "Well, I am excited about lots of things, but last night I was looking online at restaurants that our family might want to eat at and so today I'm excited about that. " (Let me just say that I can count the number of restaurants we've eaten at in the last 10 months on one hand and the number of times we've eaten out on two hands, including our visits to the capital city!)
One of the kids: "What did you find?"
Me: "Well, I found an Italian place, a place that looks like it has real hamburgers with BACON, and even a steak place with a KIDS MENU!"
All of the kids gasp at this point.
Lily, quietly from her end of the table: "Mom, I think it may be a little bit like when we get a package from America that has a lot of American candy in it and you get kind of nervous because you have to make a choice about what you want."
Abby: "Yeah Lily, it's like yesterday when all those packages came at one time and there were Lifesavers, Starburst, and Blowpops and I wasn't sure where to start. It makes you sort of stressed out."
Lily: "Yeah, I sort of started sweating a little bit on my head because I was nervous about what to pick."
Sounds weird doesn't it? But honestly, if you walked the "aisles" of our grocery stores here you'd understand why we're feeling that way. We have everything we need, but let's just say we're not tempted to overbuy when we go to the store. Probably 85% of what we eat comes into our house in "ingredient" form. We buy very few products that you could open up and eat on the way home from the store. Our largest grocery store has a little more stock than your average American convenience store but instead of goodies most of the shelves are stocked with things like evaporated milk, powdered milk, tomato paste, pasta, rice, oats, and basic baking ingredients like flour and sugar. We find plenty of ways to make treats and special foods, but it takes a lot more thought and energy.
So, 3 weeks in the most developed city in East Africa will be a bit of a change. Hmmm. Think we're ready? I'm not sure, but ready or not, we're going to give it a shot. We have already decided one thing firmly, we will be eating at the legendary KFC that everyone tells us is there!