There are times when I believe being an onlooker is okay, especially in a place where I am still trying to find my bearings. When you’re surrounded by sounds you don’t yet fully understand, it’s easy to let yourself fall into the background and just observe.
I would find myself observing even while I’m communicating. Where is the communication taking place? What are the topics we talk about? Observing how tall I suddenly feel…
The past week was filled with a little more interaction than previous ones, and I can feel it in my thoughts. Pieces of the culture puzzle slowly fall into place and my big picture gets a bit more form.
There was a language class that boosted my confidence in the communication circles. There was an attempt to join a cell group (which turned out to be an all male group…) but sharing faith and fellowship felt good. There was visiting a ministry of a new friend and getting glimpses of the journey they’re on helping the kids of Cagayan. There was a little bit of dressing up and dancing to the beat of “Uptown Girl” in a circle of new acquaintances. (Most of the observing took place here, as stomach cramps kept me on my seat more than on the dance floor…). And finally, there was a Zumba party, where I lost all inhibitions and shook my booty to the hip-hop beats, while being amazed at how the over- fifty ladies were shaking it with me!
Through all the observing, I’m learning.
“Buscopan” here is called by the same name and I will know that next time the stomach decides to cramp for three days. Dancing at gatherings also happens in circles and cheers are released when the brave one boogies in the middle. Many other western folk are jumping in and rowing the same (but different) boat we do by living in the Philippines. I still want my mother with me every time I feel a bit off… And, I can still throw a few hip hop moves like in the good old days.
When I lived and worked in South Korea a few years ago, our group of friends would always laugh at ourselves for how many times we said how thankful we are for each other in our emails. “I appreciate you guys so so so so much!” or “My heart is so so so so thankful!” I think I’m starting to get into that gear again… I’m so so so so thankful for what I can observe and so so so so thankful for what I am learning. Even this morning, sweating like a racehorse after cleaning the house and cooking our meal (even though it’s cooler, it’s still hot??), I can sit here and have all of these moments in my mind to write about. Yup, thankful.