I like words. One of my favorite types of words is adjectives. As a result, I have assigned an adjective to each foreign country in which I’ve lived.
To Italy, I have assigned the adjective beautiful. Italy is a country of beauty, and Italians are a people who understand beauty. They use beauty in every aspect of their lives. Italians speak the most beautiful language and eat the most beautiful food. They wear the most beautiful clothing and drive the most beautiful cars. They build the most beautiful buildings, create the most beautiful art and compose the most beautiful music. Even their hand gestures are beautiful. Italy has the most beautiful landscapes, seascapes and sunsets. Italy is the epitome of beauty.
To Taiwan, I have assigned the adjective fun. My time in Taiwan was probably the most fun time of my life. We went fun places, ate fun food and had fun friends. I don’t think that I have ever laughed as much as I did during my time in Taiwan. I laughed at the Taiwanese, I laughed at myself, I laughed at my family and I laughed at the hilarious and bizarre experiences we had in Taiwan. When I think of Taiwan, I can’t help but smile!
To Jordan, I have assigned the adjective relevant. Jordan is a relevant country. For such a tiny nation, with virtually no natural resources, Jordan is very important. It is important to the United States, it is important to the Middle East, and though many people don’t realize it, Jordan is important to the world. Jordan is the only stable country in its region. We lived in Jordan during a relevant time in the history of the Middle East. We lived in Jordan during the emergence and growth of ISIS. We witnessed the mourning and outrage of the Jordanians at the horrific murder of their pilot Muath al Kasasbeh We experienced the humanity, generosity and compassion that Jordan exuded as Syrians refugees poured into the country. Our world-view was forever changed because of the relevance of Jordan.
So, now we have lived for three months in South Africa and I think that I have found my adjective for this country. I realize, of course, that after three years here, my adjective may change. But for now, to South Africa I have assigned the adjective easy. South Africa is the first country, outside of the U.S., where I look like a local. Because of this, I easily blend in (until I open my mouth and they hear my accent.) Jason and I are constantly commenting on how much South Africa reminds us of the U.S. Their history is similar to ours, their landscapes are similar to ours and everyone speaks English. I can purchase everything I could ever want or need in South African stores. South Africa has big, beautiful highways like the U.S. Their cities are new and modern, like in the U.S. And the staples of their diet? Meat and potatoes! It is so easy to live here that I often feel like I’m back in the U.S.; like this should not even be considered an overseas post. It is so easy to live here!
Finally, I have lived in one other country. To the United States of America I assign not an adjective, but a noun. To the U.S. I assign the word home.