Understanding and Encouragement from Tennessee…..

Dear F&F,
July 12, 2009

We love to get emails from our friends and family. My friend since 8th grade, affectionately known by me as Linky, was a field missionary nurse in the Philippines and Thailand for many years. After reading about my struggles with the tropics she wrote this:

Dearest Cindy,

I\’m very sporadic about getting on the internet and reading email, and even less frequently read your Ship\’s Logs. but I just finished reading from before you landed until the most recent post in the Marquesas. Wow! Sounds like you got the whole treatment at once, and when you were at your
lowest, with fatigue and little quality couple time! I can so totally relate. And the time in the muddy harbor with no breeze or clean water to swim in sounds so familiar! I knew you didn\’t want to be cold, but I always wondered how you would feel in the tropical heat. I\’m so glad you have a/c
to fall back on when you really need a rest.

Not only the traveling gets you down. You and Scott both have a huge stress load from so many major changes in your lives, and the deaths of so many loved ones. It is a huge burden that you easily forget you are carrying, but which doesn\’t go away. It just takes time and can\’t be rushed. Then add to that, you are living in a foreign culture, even if you are off shore. Like you said, you are no longer independent to do as you please, when you please, for as long as you please, like you were when living in the US. Plus, the heat takes an incredible toll – all day and all night. You weren\’t just exhausted or imagining it when you slept so hard with the a/c. Your body was finally comfortable and at a temperature it recognized as normal. Each of those things and more add up to a huge load for your body and psyche to deal with. It sounds to me like you are both handling it great! You both sound so loving and forgiving of each other, allowing each other the time and space needed to cope. And you really DO need those \”home days\” to just putter around and let your mind and body recoup and catch up with all that is going on.

You are experiencing what everyone who moves to another culture experiences to some degree or another. But most of us are set up in one place and stay there until the adjustment is made. You are moving all the time and never are able to get completely comfortable in a situation before going on to another that requires more adjustments. Hopefully in Taihiti or the next big port of call you will feel at home enough to really relax and rest up.

Mildew.!!! A whole book of a topic by itself. You remember that in Old Testament Law, they had to kill the mildew and destroy anything that it couldn\’t be killed in, like burning a house where they couldn\’t get rid of mildew. We often thought of that when we lived in the tropics. Without constant a/c it is impossible to keep things free of mildew. Even books lined up on an open shelf with constant air movement mildewed between the pages and covers. I don\’t think things in lockers can ever be kept mildew free. I had open metal shelving for all our clothes and linens, yet everything always smelled musty, just by being stacked on a shelf. That is why when we moved to Thailand, we kept the a/c going in at least one room all the time. And it did keep our things dry and smelling nice. But whenever we went away for vacation, the place mildewed up. My only advice is to do what you\’re already doing; prioritize what has to be kept clean, clean other areas as you are able, and be easy on yourself when things get ahead of you. Hope this finds you well rested and in great high spirits.
I love you! Linky

Cindy & Scott