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Mike and Anita James

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Aug '17

Settling In

We got to America on July 10, nearly 12 years to the day from when we moved to The Netherlands.  In the first few weeks, we were able to see family but also had to take care of quite a few things.  For example, we had to sign on the apartment we would rent.  (We had to chose something while we were still in The Netherlands.  Thank goodness that we could take care of that online). We also had to get a car, get drivers licenses and get Grace enrolled in school.

We came to Ozark, Missouri just before August to make sure that school would be taken care of.  We were also expecting our furniture to arrive around August 1.  If you’ve followed my Facebook, you know that it didn’t actually come until August 23.  So, we had to sleep on air mattresses because school started, and we had to be here.

School is going good for Grace.  She’s had some adjustments to make to American high school.  Most kids there think that she is an exchange student.  She has actually made friends with two German exchange students and probably has more in common with them than with the other Americans.  She also has a friend who asks her to help with her German homework, which makes Grace roll her eyes since German and Dutch are totally different languages.  Since one of the things she is interested in studying in university is journalism, it’s great that she is able to be on the yearbook/newspaper staff and get a better idea of what that is actually like.

Samuel will be assessed by the school here for social/behavioral delays next week.  They will assess his speech after his 3rd birthday in September.  He will also be medically assessed by the autism center in February.

We’ve all had times of having reverse culture shock.  It’s always hard to come back.  Of course, there are huge benefits – family being the greatest.  For example, we will actually be able to celebrate the kids’ birthdays with family, something we have so rarely been able to do.   Mike is also really loving having Mexican food.  

How do we have reverse culture shock?  Driving is a huge one.  We rarely drove in The Netherlands.  We walked or rode bikes much more.  I’m back to driving Grace to school, which I haven’t done in several years.  It’s a bit shocking how much people here ask/how much information they ask you.  I’ve also been shocked at how many places still accept checks or even require it.  A strange one that I didn’t think I would have is the dog culture.  We’ve never brought our dog, Boomer, back with us until this time.  I’m so used to walking him and meeting other people who are also walking their dogs.  Your dogs socialize, you talk and then move on.  At least, that’s what happens in The Netherlands.  Here, when people see us coming, they cross the street so our dogs can’t have contact.  When one lady didn’t move, I thought it would be so nice to have our dogs socialize.  She asked me if the sidewalk was only one-way since I didn’t make Boomer move over.  The one time when someone has let their dog have contact with Boomer, I said, “goede morgen” (Good morning in Dutch) without even thinking.

We’ve also started to do more work with the Europe Link office.  Mike is working on meetings with people who are on the field in Europe for their first time.  He’s also arranging times to train/help people who are just approved and beginning to raise funds for getting to the field.  I’m also beginning admin work to help connect people who want to go short-term up to two years to work with a missionary on the field.

I’m sure that we’ll have more issues settling in and have more highs and lows.  Please pray for us during this time and the changes to come.

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