Ivy, Rosedale International’s newest worker in the Mediterranean Region, deployed for the field at the end of March. In the coming months, she will focus on language learning and building relationships in her community. Below is her most recent update from the field as she settles into a rhythm and finds her way in a new culture.
It has now been over a month that I have been here. Looking back, it doesn’t seem like that long. With the flights and time change, the trip over here was a blur, as well as the first few days. But thanks to your remembrance, everything came through in time and customs went so smoothly, and I was so thankful to be able to travel with others.
The last couple of weeks have been Ramadan, a month-long holiday of fasting during the day, which makes life different here. All cafés and restaurants are closed, and the shops and stands open late. I was not here very long before the holiday started, so it feels like the norm to me—but I will not actually get to see normal life until after the holiday ends.
Language class is the mainstay of my days. I have class three hours a day, five days a week, with a couple hours after that for homework. Some days, it feels like all I do is sit in class or sit at my desk. I was extremely nervous about language learning, but have found my teacher to be very patient and helpful. I am also aware that the reason it has gone more smoothly than I expected is because of your prayers for me. I just finished the first unit, so that was a bit of an encouragement that I will be able to learn it, albeit slowly.
My teacher has also been so helpful as I learn to navigate life here. Before Ramadan, she took me to different shops and some restaurants, showing me what to do and not to do. During our classes, she is always willing to answer my questions about any cultural things I observe. This has definitely been a gift!
Another regular part of my day is shopping. Everything I buy I must carry back home, so I can’t buy a lot at one time. I go shopping almost daily, and visit a different shop each day—the fruit and veggie stand one day, the butcher the next, then the store where I get canned and dry foods, or the little shop that sells household items and cleaners. Then I start all over again. These trips provide opportunity to practice language every day, which is good but difficult. These shorter and more frequent outings are helpful as I get out every day, but not for the entire afternoon.
I live in a neighborhood where nearly everything I need is within a 15-minute walking distance, for which I am very thankful. One praise is that last week, my roommate and I found a shop that is run by women. We are so grateful to shop without fielding questions from men. These women are genuinely nice and willing to listen to our stumbling attempts at communication; our fruit and veggie man is as well. I am so thankful for their patience.
I am slowly getting settled into my apartment and buying some furniture and kitchenware. My roommate was so welcoming and has been a tremendous blessing in these first few weeks, introducing me to her usual shop owners and showing me some of the sights. We have vastly different schedules, which makes spending time together difficult sometimes, but we have managed to work out times together. Getting to know her has been a joy!
The team here has also been so welcoming. I am thankful for their support and encouragement, even though we live in different areas. I was able to go on an overnight retreat with the other women last week, which was a fun time to get to know them better and see a little more of the country. I am looking forward to more time spent with and learning from them.
One of my favorite things to do here is go up to our roof and watch the sunset. Especially after a difficult language class or a stressful shopping trip, just sitting and seeing the beauty is a reminder of who is always in control and has every detail worked out for good. It is also a way to remember how much beauty is here if I am willing to look for it.
I want to thank each one of you so much for your support and remembrance! It really becomes clear so often how little I can do on my own and how much I need others in this work. I have seen and felt your prayers so often and am thankful for your willingness to remember me and this country!