Monday, May 3, 2010

Cross-cultural Friendship

 In some ways, this is a funny post because although I spent the weekend attending cross-cultural training, this post has absolutely nothing to with that.  As I may have mentioned before, we live in a very multi-cultural area.  My dear neighbours are from Israel/Russia and this post is about them.

 When J. arrived in Canada about 7 weeks ago, she spoke very little in the way of English.  Although she had attended classes in English before arriving in Canada, her language skills were not very strong.  Several years ago, I would have shut down and been unable to build a friendship with her.  But because of all that God has been doing in my life over the past couple of years and because I have an understanding of her culture, we have become close friends. There is still a language barrier, but we are persevering(okay, so I lied. Perseverance is the third step in CQ or cultural intelligence).

 Last night was bad.  This morning was pretty horrible as well.  I had reached the end of my rope and I think my wonderful husband wasn't sure about leaving me to go to work.   I could barely take care of myself and was in such a black place.  I walked out the door only to find J on my patio.  I didn't want to face her or anyone else.  She took one look at me and gave me a big hug.  It's hard to explain how much her hug and concern meant, but it was huge.  By the time we returned from dropping the kids at school, I felt almost normal again.  Later, we spent some time at the mall together before picking up our children.  Because I wasn't quite capable of taking care of myself today, I ended up not eating but taking the bus to the mall with Kian on my back.  This was not a wise idea.  When I became extremely faint because of this, the wonderful J. took care of me.  Her care and friendship were so good for my poor bruised soul today.  She also makes a mean salad.

 The interesting part of all of this was that I didn't want to talk to anyone today.  I haven't felt that I can talk to my friends.  Instead I've increasingly felt that if I'm open with anybody, they'll unfriend me.  In order to hurry that process along and avoid being hurt, I've started being very blunt with people.  There's nothing quite like a very honest answer to "how are you doing?' to scare people off.  If that doesn't work, I pull out the avoidance technique.  Right now, I just wanted to completely withdraw from everybody.  Instead, God sent my wonderful friend who loves me even though my house is a mess, my kids are very loud, and it's obvious that I've been crying.  I didn't have to tell her all about my problems, I'm not sure that would have crossed the language barrier intact.  But I received her love and unconditional acceptance, and through her friendship, so experienced the same from God.  Now that I'm bawling again, I will go to bed.


  1. dear Grace - i love you. i hope and pray that you still count me in the friends who listen and do not judge you. i long for us to spend more time together too, so i can support you. now that i am a mom, i realize so much more, how much we are not meant to do life as separate people, but in community! i have realized that sanity increases as the number of adults increases (even if the # of kids increases too lol). i love you girl! <3

  2. I'm still here too, Grace. I'm pretty limited time-wise, but I read here, I pray... you are loved.