We're Jason, Beth, Lee Anna, Sawyer, and Sarah Claire, a family of five living, learning, and laughing lots in Northern Africa.
We hope you can learn a little (and maybe laugh a little too) as you read about our latest adventures.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

People Without a Country, Part I

Water Fountains, Rain, and St. Augustine Grass

We just got back from our first trip to the Land of Plenty. Wow. For the past year and a half we’ve had this feeling that we’re outsiders here, but that we’d really fit in fine if we lived in America again. Well, it seems we were wrong. We were all really surprised at how it felt to be in America. Here, we live in a really big, really crowded city. When we got to Jacksonville, we found that it is a pretty big, really spread-out city. There’s lots of space around all the houses, lots of space around the cars on the highway, big parking lots in front of big spacious stores. And there were no people on the streets at all. When you walk down our street here, you find men sitting out in front of every building—smoking cigarettes and drinking tea—and lots more people walking everywhere. But when we drove (not walked) down the residential streets in Jax, we saw no one. Everybody’s either inside or driving. We were really tired from traveling, so we went to bed early that first night. I couldn’t believe how dark and quiet the house was at 9:30 at night—no car horns, train brakes, people yelling, elevator noises, just quiet.

Sunday morning, we were at church with my Mom, and Lee Anna and I were walking down a hallway in the children’s area. Lee Anna saw a water fountain and asked, “What’s that for, Daddy?” So I explained that in America people drink water from fountains without cups. (Here, the water coolers have a community cup attached.) She drank a little and got a lot on her face playing with the water, and subsequently insisted on drinking from every water fountain she saw the rest of the trip.

The first day we got there Sawyer and Lee Anna were playing with a ball in my parents’ driveway. The ball rolled out into the grass, so Sawyer started to go get it. He got to the edge of the cement and stopped. He reached out for the ball and fretted a little, but wouldn’t take a step in that tall lush St. Augustine grass. He was fine crawling and running on the concrete, but hadn’t ever seen grass like that. It took a few days and lots of coaxing and hand-holding before he would venture out into it.

One morning I woke up and discovered we had left an almost-empty Dr. Pepper can sitting out all night (only one of many DPs consumed during our week in the LoP). When Beth and I saw it, both of us immediately thought, "Oh, no, it's going to be covered in ants," since in our flat the ants are so bad during the summer that we keep our Cheerios in the fridge. But there weren’t any.

It rained more in the 10 days we were in Jacksonville than it has rained in the twenty months we’ve lived here. A lot more. G.G. took the kids out to play in it, and they loved it! Average rainfall here is less than one inch per year, while in Jacksonville, it’s closer to 60 inches a year. Everything looks real green there. Anywhere people haven’t done anything to the ground there, something is growing. Here, if people aren’t watering everyday, we just have dirt.

Pictures and more stories coming soon...

1 comment:

  1. Hey guys, I'm glad your trip was good. I love hearing the differences....I thought we would totally slip back into life as we knew it when we moved back to TX, but I was so wrong! I'll have to tell you about having an emotional breakdown in the lotion aisle at Super Target sometime.

    How did the flight go??? And how did you get your kids adjusted to jet lag? Did the wake up a lot at night? I'm curiuos how to do that when we go back to Dallas in Nov.