There is a term called culture shock. It involves living in a place where all of the sights, smells and sounds are not what you are used to. The symptoms are short tempers, going to bed early and a tiredness that cannot be associated with activity other than normal activities in the foreign culture. In our house I take the brunt of the interaction in Zambian society. I do most of the shopping, paying the bills which requires a longer than normal visit to each location as well as taking care of the needs of the church.
My wife and children’s lives have centered upon their home school activities. Our oldest is now attending university in Maryland, while my second born is finishing grade 12 and my last born is in grade 10. My wife thrives in this environment, it has something to do with the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge, but I am not really sure about that. We started off home schooling our youngest in Seattle but soon had all 3 in Seattle public schools. Schools we were very pleased with. My wife volunteered in each of our daughter’s schools (at one time that meant 3 different schools). She quickly became a coveted asset in each school as she excelled in tutoring the problem children. Well, here in Zambia she has blossomed as teacher by becoming the best pupil in each subject that the girls have taken. In “Knowing God” Packard describes having great thoughts about God as a sign of a believer. My wife’s schooling experience has caused an explosion in thoughts about how awesome God is.
Getting my first born into university was my job. In between phone lines that were down and 30-second connection times on the internet she managed to land herself in a good school. This year it is our second born’s turn. The process has been much less stressful since we have a better handle on what is involved. She just received an acceptance letter from ASU, when she made a comment that made me realize there are a few things these girls have missed by being tied to the house doing school work with their mom (no I’m not talking about boys). She was looking over the nice brochures concerning on-campus housing when she looked puzzled and asked me this question as she pointed to the brochure. She was pointing to a particular nice looking building that had a heading of: “for upper classmen only”. She asked, “Do you have to be rich to live in these dorms?”
They say the culture shock is worse when you return to America, we will see.