In Praise of My Wife
Recently, a friend sent me a link to an article entitled You love going abroad for work. Your spouse hates it. And while the headline doesn’t really do the article justice, I know that the reality for many families is that there is a HUGE difference in how individual family members adjust to a move abroad.
In our family, it is certainly more in my nature to embark on an adventure like this than it is in Melody’s nature. For a person who likes order and consistency, living in Kenya can take you far outside of your comfort zone. This is a place where “getting the mail” involves walking through the rain, through a construction site, and stepping over raw sewage just to get to the postal box in town.
But for those who know my incredible wife, you know that she is not one to back down from a challenge. And she has embraced the challenge of Kenyan life with tenacity, creativity, and dare I say, enthusiasm.
Despite the difficulty of even the most mundane tasks, she has found a way to make amazing meals using local ingredients, she navigates the streets and alleys of town like a pro (she denies this, but I’ve followed her through town, just trying to keep up), and she embraces the chaos in a way I would have never expected.
However, as her husband, I know this is not an easy life for her. I applaud her “take the bull by the horns” mentality, but I try to remember that her natural response would be very different from mine. I can’t imagine a scenario where we were on completely different pages – where all she wanted to do was leave and all I wanted to do was stay.
The real joy of what we’re doing here in Kenya is that we’re in this together. We both know we’re supposed to be here. We made the decision together. I’m naturally bent in one direction and she in the other, but we came together on this with a sense of passion and purpose. On the best days, that unity propels us forward. On the worst days, it helps us survive.
Living in a different country and culture is not easy. Some days are better than others. But I want to publicly praise my wife of nearly 17 years for embracing Kenyan life with gusto. There’s no one else I would rather cross a stream of raw sewage with!