Normal (or not)
Anthropology gives us all sorts of behaviors listed as "normal" in particular cultures. People often tell me, "You should right a book about your adventurous life in the Solomon Islands!" Life there doesn't feel exciting or adventurous, it feels normal. Don't look at people in the eye when you talk to them. Normal. Need a pineapple? Go pick one out of the back yard. Normal. Arrive in the village to find that the underarms in all of your clothes are growing mold? Normal.
Last night I lay in bed thinking through the day. I realized that I had immensely enjoyed my day because it had been anything but normal for me! At 6:30 a.m., I left the house with a hot breakfast casserole and drove over to the high school where a bunch of people from my home church were providing breakfast and encouragement for the football team. Then I drove over to the library and turned in a basketful of books (because you can't renew them forever). A library! Only a few blocks from my house. When I got home, the kids were ready to exercise, so we hit our normal route running, walking, biking, just moving our bodies. We didn't have to take rocks to fight off the dogs, we didn't have to watch out for drunks, we didn't have to dodge the potholes. Those things are normal for the Solomon Islands, but not for my life here.
After we finished our school day, we put in a few pansies (a thoughtful gift from my mom). Pansies wouldn't last a day in the heat of the Solomon Islands. Hibiscus is normal there, but with Autumn around the corner, I got to plant pansies here. When my parents offered to take us to Chick-fil-A for supper last night (instead of eating leftovers), we jumped at the chance to enjoy time with family.
After supper, we swung by the park downtown for a lovely outdoor concert by the Conway Symphony Orchestra. Aaron and I played with this ensemble for years, making our living as musicians (and loving it!) used to be our normal. Sitting in the audience is still very strange for me. But I'm enjoying all of the musical opportunities that we have while we are in the States!
This morning, we got to be a part of this fabulous community (I love our hometown!) by supporting "Miles for Mito". Benjamin volunteered to hand out water to the racers, while Sarah, Olivia, and I participated in the 5K. This was Olivia's first 5K, and I was so proud of her! Sarah won her age division, aided by the fact that the race was small. I love being a small piece of the community puzzle while we are here.
I'm learning to enjoy normal wherever I'm living. I might need some help remembering what normal looks like, however. When Aaron wrote this quick message to me...
"The Kosco had no working ladders. At least, they did not seem very quick about lowering the side gangplanks. Anyhow, I don't worry much because I am comfortable enough scaling the side of the ship, and long enough to reach the boats. I did that fine, but we were pretty low and getting the heavy boxes and petrol cans down was a trick, especially since being that low, we did not really have anything to hold ourselves to the ship. I am sure you can see where this is going. [Ice chests] float, which is a good thing. I went in. Leonard immediately jumped in after me."
...my first thought was, it's a normal day in the Solomon Islands...