Culture Shock

The question I think I have been asked the most this year is “Are you excited to come back to the States?!?!?”. Just about everyone has some understanding of how it would be moving to a new country like Peru,   adjusting to a new culture, new foods, new language, new people. Culture shock makes sense in Cusco, everyone expects you to be a little frazzled at one point in time. What’s a lot harder to understand is the upcoming culture shock that we might face returning to the United States. So back to the question “Are you excited to be back in the States?!?!”….My answer is: “Yes, it will be great!” “No, I plan to leave Cusco pitching the biggest fit of my life!” “Yes, I cant wait to eat some good ol’ Chick-Fil-A!” and “No, Im absolutely terrified!” all wrapped into one.

It might be strange for many to understand what could be the challenges with reentry to the States but the reality is not only is the United States different now but I am a different person than when I left more than 5 years ago. It is strange to say Im going back home, when Ive worked hard to make Cusco home. It will be strange to be back in the land of excess when my friends in Cusco get by on much much less. It will be strange being one of many instead of being curiously stared at. There are so many things that I honestly don’t know or cant imagine happening in the States right now…. “Are police officers really out to get me?” Is Trump really the best or worst president ever?” Will I be held at gunpoint walking down the street?”. Not being in the United States for long periods of time its easy for me to make wild generalizations about how things will be when we return, in the same way I assumed a lot of untrue things about Cusco before arriving. I love the United States and I love telling people in Cusco about how are in the States, how I grew up, and letting them try our foods. I also love Peru and being able to connect with so many people through Christ despite our different language, color, and background. I think all of us on the Cusco team truly feel blessed to have 2 homes!

All this to say please keep asking how we feel about coming back, but also please be patient as we are appear to be overly emotional while dealing with excitement, frustration, confusion, and readjustment. Please understand our shock of how much has changed in the US and how much is exactly the same. Please pray for the Kizer family, the Reaves family and myself as we learn new and old things about “home”.

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