‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Monday, November 29, 2010

Culture Shock

It is honestly like being hit by a truck. I'm at JFK. I didn't even think about the cultural impact of coming home. I am sitting here surrounded by so much stuff, so much food, so many shops, so much of everything, and the Christmas music is blaring and people are laughing and eating big piles of food and buying designer LaCoste shirts behind me and...and...and

And half a world away are people I love going without even the basic necessities. I don't like the disparity. Wait, no. I HATE the disparity. Do not, I repeat, do not bother to comment if you are going to tell me things like 'everything is going to be ok' or 'you'll feel better in a few days'. That's just it..I don't WANT To feel better. I want to jump on the next plane back to Russia and be with those kids. I want to care for Anya, as infuriating as she can be....I want to be where I belong.

I am listening to  'O Holy Night' blaring on the terminal speakers and it is sucking the wind out of me. The irony is too much.

My heart hurts. I want to go home....my Siberian home. I want to be holding D, and a hundred other children. I want to be playing outside in the snow with them, or holding them while they cry. I just want to be there. God, please send me back.


  1. He Will! In HIS Time. :)

  2. Anonymous7:48 PM

    you are truely amazing, and i do belive that sibria is where you belong, not being mean or anything (i mean your heart belongs there)you are a gardian angel for all those children and you did your job, and you did it VERY VERY well

  3. Praying for you and sending you many hugs!

  4. Breathe in, breathe out, get some rest. Our prayers are with you.

  5. You know, all of this holiday commercialism extravaganza is enough to make ANYBODY go into overload!

  6. I am sure you will find a way to a happy compromise. You certainly can't be expected to remain here or go back to your former life and find happiness. Glad you get to tag home in the US and to work on a plan.

  7. Oh, dear one!

    When you get home, STAY HOME for as long as you can. I loathe the commercialism too, and the terrible music and the grumpy people walking around loaded down with plastic bags. . . it's enough to make even the typical pampered American like me depressed. You are stripped down, all your pores are open, you are going to be vulnerable to attack by Satan in this! Seek the spiritual shelter of home for a while, keep your focus on the things of Heaven you were writing about in your past beautiful post, and all will be well. : )

    Much love from (now not quite so!) afar,


  8. We experienced a tremendous amount of revers culture shock when we came home from Ukraine as well. It all felt so surreal. It all felt so trite, esepcially when we were stuck on a bus with two men who couldn't shut up for a second about the latest sports scores. Really? Do they matter? Do you have any idea where we've been and what we've seen? Do you have any idea that these two precious children sitting here with us have never seen a real sports game and they just barely, for the first time in their lives, saw someone of a different race? Do you realize my son tasted chocolate for the first time in his life just a couple of weeks ago? Do you know the only possessions he has are in these suit cases? And all you can talk about is sports--a fleeting game in which precious few will remember the score of by next week?

    Yet I still cried when we landed. We are a very blessed and very rich people. Far too many take it for granted and have no idea how fleeting it really is.

    Rather than let it overtake you like a tsunami, take advantage of the opportunity to count your blessings. I don't understand why some have and some don't, but the simple fact is that God chose for you to have them. Take time to appreciate those simple little things...like seat belts and fitted sheets and a dryer and a refrigerator full of food and freedom (and that you actually know what to do with it.) While you're counting, don't forget about clean water, and hot water, and infastructure and the ability to worship whom, how, and what you may. And most importantly, be grateful for the beautiful heart of yours that cares about others and their suffering enough to actually do something about it.

  9. I wouldn't dream of trying to tell you to Man Up and take it, girl. But it makes me wonder what it was like for Nastia when she first came here, and what it WILL be like for Daniel when he arrives (if you guys decide to live here vs. there, an option I consider every day). Seems like being so painfully aware of what the overwhelming differences are will make you even more sensitive to Daniel when he arrives.

    I try to do this with my life to, so understand I'm not preaching, okay? --- If we believe that the IS (what is right now) is for a Purpose, then looking for the purpose(s) in each experience is the plan. And I remember how hard it was when you first landed in Russia, and the one day when it seemed to settle in with Purpose. I have to believe Purpose doesn't change, merely the circumstances.

    Welcome back, Keri, whether it's home anymore or not. You are known and loved here too, and that means it's got a little bit of "home" here still.

    My New Year's Resolution is to see your face in January 2011. Get ready!

  10. I knew this would be a hugely depressing return for you. Whenever I think about it my heart aches for you. I know what you mean - you come back from that simpler, poorer place and all the consumption is so disgusting. I come home and want to get rid of so much. And THIS season of Advent - which is supposed to be so quiet and holy - it has become so much the opposite, that even if you hadn't just been in such a differnt environment, I expect your stomach would be turning (like mine).

  11. Oh my, I can just imagine- how well you describe it all- it IS hard to be back, even when you haven't been where you have and seen what you've seen. Peace.

  12. ugh, the Christmas music. I was in the Vancouver airport, direct from Shanghai, waiting for my next flight… trying to sleep on a bench, and the Christmas music was driving me crazy. It was October 28th! Jingle bells jingle bells <<<<<<<<< AAAAAA.

    Yes, anytime we leave this culture we live in and return, the commercialism and consumption overwhelm us. It's out of balance. It just is — for now. It won't be like this forever, it's not sustainable. Something will change, and much of this brash materialism will disappear. In 50 or 100 years, people will look back and tell stories about the 1980s to 20XXs, and how weird this time was.

    Welcome back!

  13. It won't be better tomorrow or the next day. I spent 2 months working in an institution for special children in a small village in Romania. Coming back was horrid. It took months to get to the point where the excess here did not scream at me. You will get there if not for you but for your daughter. Hang in there. Find someone who understands (who has been thru the same) that you can talk to. It will help with your adjustment. Glad to hear you are back safe. Love reading your blog.

  14. 'Thinking of you and Nastia. (hugs)
    Maria (Canada)


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