Quick link: The Normal Fallacy

I’m at A Life Overseas today, writing about the lie we have chosen to believe that there is such a thing as ‘normal.’

You see something a certain way for long enough and it starts to feel normal. You see something long enough and Nelson Mandela starts to look like a Grinch. But…

Normal1

I stopped believing in ‘normal’ a long time ago and I can pinpoint the moment when the loss of that belief crystalized for me. I was in Minnesota, sitting in a hot tub at my parents’ home. Friends and family were eating brats and hot dogs, playing raucous games of spoons, enjoying the view of the lake and grass and oak trees. Someone asked me, “What is different about your life in Djibouti from life here?”

I froze.

Uh…hot tub? Brats? Hot dog? Spoon games? Lakes? Grass? Oak trees? Family? Where should I start?

What is different? Nothing. My kids go to school, I grocery shop, I pray, I cook, I visit friends, my husband and I go for walks.

What is different? Everything. My kids go to French school and now boarding school. I shop at three stores, the market, the bread delivery man, the dukaan across the street, and the vegetable stall down the block. I pray for people I never would have known before, challenges I never could have fathomed before. I cook everything from bread to barbecue sauce from scratch. I visit friends and speak multiple different languages, sometimes while wearing a headscarf or abaya. My husband and I go for walks but we don’t touch and we dodge goats, camels, and kids who want to follow us.

This all feels normal now…

Click here to read the rest of The Normal Fallacy.