Their plane had been canceled and the young boy was crying his frustrations. The mom was overheard saying, “But George, this is what is called an adventure.” She was creating an explorer’s heart in her son. When we set out to explore, unfortunate events can happen, but what is our attitude? A person who refuses to leave the United States feels like he has a good handle on the remedies available when such an untoward event occurs locally, but is afraid because he wouldn’t abroad. Flying far from your culture can set you adrift. You look around and all you see is the featureless expanse, with no familiar landmarks to set you on the course to remedies. This kind of exploring, struggling to find your way can result in the best adventures.
Regina and I are taking a middle ground of exploring. We came to Portugal on an 8 day vacation last year, and learned from our mistakes how to do some things better, how the Portuguese have set up their systems to rectify discouraging setbacks. Now we are here for two months to explore, not just Portugal, but exploring our comfort at staying here long term.
When we landed in Lisbon, and were waiting for our flight to Faro, I decided to go looking for American style coffee, but didn’t see any. Finally, after 6 hours waiting, we were off. I was so tired that I thought we were taking off, only to realize that we were mid-flight. The next moment I wondered why the stewardess was telling me to raise my seat-back mid-flight. We were landing. Upon arrival, we collected our goods, acquired our rental car, and sped off for Portimao. Once there, we searched for our building. Since they use building names, no street numbers impeded our progress. Subsequent to wandering, asking, disagreeing, we finally found it. Soon, we were ensconced in our little abode. We barely deposited our baggage, when hunger drove us out again for lunch. Being Easter Sunday, we worried, this is a strongly Catholic country, what if all the restaurants and grocery stores were closed. Strolling towards the beach, we espied an open restaurant only to be crestfallen at the words, “visa not accepted here.” With our worry and hunger level rising, we went meandering along the beach drive, we found one accepting Visa. We fueled our bodies, and let me tell you sardine pizza is consumed for fuel, not for scrumptious taste.
Returning to our new nest, I decided to press my luck and search by car for a grocery store. Last year, we had shopped at Intermarche. I kept my eyes peeled for that name when suddenly they were arrested by “ALDI.” ALDI is an Eastern United States cut rate grocery chain, not an European one, but on a whim, I slanted my course that direction. Sho’ nuff, there was ALDI, and I stocked up on necessities , especially for breakfast. Of course, ALDI contained not a single familiar item, but from the crowd of Portuguese shopping there, I knew the prices were great. Once again, and more tired than ever, (remember, a 6 hour time change and no sleep yet.) I charged home. Having squirreled away my treasures, I then strove to stay up to encourage the adjustment. I barely made 8:30 before the sandman knocked me out.
As I drifted off, I felt we had explored our local setting successfully. We had also explored our ability to adapt, and in spite of the occasional irritability, we found ourselves up to the challenge. Let me assure you that we will make plenty more mistakes. Some that we are currently striving to rectify are the lack of heat in the apartment, a glitch in the ability to communicate home, and the inability to operate the espresso machine (coffee being a necessity, this is the most important.)
If your marriage is shaky, don’t add these types of stresses. Instead, beseech God for that healing. It won’t be fast, but God promises that once He has cleansed you through the pardon Jesus paid for with His blood, He will put His great power in you. Then You will grow in victory and be able to explore in many ways.