Things have been a little challenging at our place. Evidently there was a bit of a blow up between the girls Friday night, followed by a weekend of Cold War that Renaissance Man and I didn’t completely comprehend. So by last night (Wednesday), an intervention was in order.
Although both girls were hurt and angry, they also agreed that they didn’t like this tension. We got everything off our chests and set some guidelines for future conflicts, because we all agree that we will get on each others’ nerves again–it’s unavoidable. I took the early advice of our exchange program supervisor and created a Google Doc with simple steps for conflict resolution. I know–kind of cheesy, teachery, nerdy–but I think it’s a good idea with the language and cultural barriers we sometimes face.
Many issues were discussed last night, but none was so obvious as the difference in expectations that the girls brought into this experience. As an only child, Russia dreams of a family with a mother and father (hers have been not-so-amicably divorced since she was a baby) and sister. Canada’s parents are separated, too, but only for the last few years and quite amicably, so she expects a family much like her own–a mother and a sister. I don’t think she quite knows what to do with Renaissance Man at times, although she does find him intriguing.
Russia does not like the pressure of smiling and conversing in the mornings. Canada dreams of all of us sitting down to breakfast and sharing our plans for the day.
Russia believes she has bad dreams because her mother is not here to kiss and hug her before bed. Canada feels hugging is only necessary when it’s “natural”.
How to balance this? We’re all going to have to adjust our expectations–rarely a fun activity, but definitely a necessary one. And lots of prayer has and will continue to guide us. Thanks to those of you who have offered up requests to God since we’ve begun this adventure. Whatever you do, don’t stop now!