My third environment. Sometimes my second.
Nothing makes me feel more at home than having a coffee shop to frequently visit. It’s close to a number one requirement within several days of moving to a new city. Let’s just say I discovered Flavours on my first day in Jinja. I should have used that as an indication for how much I would enjoy being here. There’s nothing like walking into the café first thing in the morning, being greeted by name, and asked if you want the usual americano. Some people would take that as a sign that they are too frequent of a visitor (and I should probably be thinking that at this point), but there’s something quite comforting about it.
Something you long for in a country that is entirely foreign to you. In almost every aspect. Whether it be in the form of a familiar face or just a really good burger, you crave something familiar. Although good friends were here to greet me when I arrived, there are still many things that have been completely different than my “normal environment”.
Sometimes I find myself going with the flow to such a degree that I don’t even really recognize the things that may be a challenge. While this at some times can be a great asset, I’ve come to realize that I sometimes don’t process things as I should…or at all. I have a tendency to just block things out and move on, when really I should be working through those feelings and emotions. I would much rather make the necessary adjustments and continue on in life showing nothing more than a small hiccup. The moments where I consciously notice and digest the things that happen are few and far between.
It has not been until more recently that I have realized how deliberately God has placed people in my life who force me to face these things and not just nonchalantly pass them by. I love conversation. I love being in relationship with other people who are walking through the same things that I am. I love that these two things are able to overlap. More and more, I am realizing how much I value the relationship I have with people who will ask me the hard questions. Maybe their observant enough to know when there is something I should really talk about, but would never necessarily bring up. Maybe our personalities just fit so well that conversations like that are like second nature. I’ve come to realize that nothing means more to me than someone asking what I’m thinking about, how I’m dealing with a situation, or what my thoughts were about a conversation that took place.
Once again, I’ve been so blessed by something that I didn’t even know that I needed. Slowly the walls I didn’t even know I had are crumbling down. I’m venturing out of my shell more and more.
Two of my favorite things: coffee shops and road trips. Both practically scream, “Great conversations happen here!” In the middle of Uganda, away from everything familiar and “normal”, I still have both of these things. I have amazing friends, wonderful conversations, and delicious coffee. I am blessed beyond what I can even comprehend. Leave it to Him to send me half way around the world, into the unknown, to learn more than I ever could have in the safety of the familiar.