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The last posts about spiritual warfare mentioned how I’ve become used to living in a place saturated with idolatry and misguided spirituality. It’s  made me begin to wonder what else has become “normal” and how this might affect my return to the US in just seven short months…

Like communal house arrangements…

It’s weird if you can NOT walk out your front door and be staring into your neighbor’s house. It’s best to have your kitchens right next to each other, such that she can pop over and comment (usually unfavorably) on what you’ve cooked for the evening? It’s a bit rude to keep your door closed so they can’t stare into your house, unless you have a really, REALLY good explanation.

Like lines…

Lines – if they exist at all – are a completely horizontal formation which favor not the one who arrived early, but the one who’s quickest to the front and has the hardest digging elbows.

Like talking about stomach parasites as if they’re your pets…

It’s normal to assume you have stomach parasites, right? We’ve probably all got them. So you just take an extra multi-vitamin for their well-being and eat a bit extra for them. It’s too bad you’re not sure how many boys/girls, ‘cause then you could name them… But you do occasionally pat your stomach and ask how everybody’s doing in there…

Like dehydration…

It’s normal to have been dehydrated enough while experiencing 120F weather to know the symptoms so well you can pretty much self-diagnose?

Like chai…

It’s normal to feel slightly put out when I leave someone’s house and they haven’t at least served me chai – if not cookies, salty snacks and maybe a bit of leftover lunch.

Like noise levels not being something you complain about…

Whether it’s the neighbor’s little boy screaming at five a.m. or the wedding rock party passing your house at eleven thirty p.m, it’s normal to accept these interruptions to quiet sleep times as normal circumstances (related to the communal living above) about which we neither call the police nor complain to our neighbors.

Like from-scratch meals…

The peeling, washing and soaking portion of your meal preparation should routinely take double-to-triple the amount of time it takes you to cook the ingredients and eat it combined.

Boxed meals? Sorry?

Like water…

It’s normal for the public city water to shut off during the afternoon most days and sometimes not come back until six or seven at night… right? It’s normal to have a water tank on the roof of your house which you and your neighbor take turns filling and using – always trying to decide how much you can use before you’ve taken more than your fair share? Before taking a shower, plan at least twenty minutes for your electrical water heater to heat up some water for you.

Like bartering…

Totally appropriate to argue – rather vehemently sometimes – about any price you feel is unfair. This includes space heaters, water filters, tomatoes and taxi rides.

This is all completely normal, right? Nothing odd or unusual about these new habits of mine?

I should fit back into America reaaaaally well.

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