Is this really happening? I asked myself as I woke up to a new day, looking out from the bus window, arriving at a place that, years later, I would also call home. But not just yet. Not now. I felt like a stranger. On hindsight, it was not so much the place or the people that were unwelcoming; it was me, unwelcoming of the changes. OK, so I probably was remiss on some research regarding the place, so I was caught off guard. Culture shock.
In the city I was used to tall buildings everywhere, malls on every other block (OK, I’m exaggerating…), restaurant choices from A to Z. Now here I was, hundreds of kilometers away from what I used to know…and there was no mall. Nada. No mall?! Where in the world am I going to spend my weekends? Restaurant choices were limited. And Starbucks? What Starbucks? NO Starbucks. NO STARBUCKS?! (There wasn’t even a coffee place to speak of.) The city withdrawal symptoms were creeping in.
Poor City Girl — how foolish of her to expect the same things from the countryside that she expected from the city. Didn’t she realize that, apart from their spelling, the two words of “city” and “country” had other differences? (Oh, really? Duh.) And didn’t she realize that God ordained that there would be beauty in both? (Um, no. Not yet, at least.)
My eyes were veiled then. I only “saw” what was unseen, what was not there. I failed to appreciate that the absence of a concrete jungle meant I had the vast canvas of God’s sky to look at. That the absence of a mall meant I could just chill outdoors (and save money). That the limited restaurant choices meant I could enjoy my husband’s exquisite cooking (and save money). And that no Starbucks meant…well, no Starbucks (but yes, saving money).
So City Girl meets provincial life for real. But she’d have to decide for herself how to cooperate with it to make it work. Thankfully, God’s patience and mercy were in generous store.
Questions: Did you ever have to deal with a sudden change in your life? How’d that turn out? Feel free to post your experience. J