Most of our mornings are pretty packed, which is unfortunate now, because since most of us are more "international" than the rest of America and therefore find a lot of enjoyment watching the World Cup. Even if soccer isn't that interesting to us normally, the World Cup has brought large groups together just simply out of the fascination of what the enormous hornet horns are, the unison-jumping supporters of each country, and just how cultural differences can both be seen on the field and in the stands (also, in the local medias, as Slovene newspapers are ludicrously adamant that the US's third goal was actually a foul...) seem so different than our own.
Unfortunately, morning classes keep us from most of the games since that's when they are shown on TV here, but it does make you wonder about transitioning in what is now a "global community."
On one hand, you can make the case that cross-cultural stress and transitioning pain is almost non-existant these days. We grew up in diverse schools, often have ethnic friends, and many of us have already been overseas more times during college than some of our parents will in their entire lifetimes. Add to the fact that we have Vonage, Skype, email, twitter, facebook, and cheaper travel options for family and friends and you might be led to believe that going to Estonia today is like going to Texas 20 years ago (bad example, Texas is also a foreign country).
But there is something deeper going on that moves beyond technological advances and our teenaged environments that still makes a transition like moving overseas difficult.
As I watched a soccer match recently, I noticed that the British announcers would use different verbiage than their American counterparts who are used to commentating on other sports. Soccer analysis includes players "having conviction," (playing hard) "using good pace," (instead of "running fast"), "dribbling with ambition," (shooting, trying to score), and my favorite, "that keeper's all 6's and 7's!" (made that last one up, but hoping it will be said during one of these games).
But one commonality between Jeff van Gundy and Martin Tyler as they announce their respective matches is the importance of "transition offense and defense." The concept that you must succeed when the ball is turned over. You must keep the opponent from scoring on you after it appeared you had the advantage and you must also successfully score when given the advantage.
During another soccer match I saw, analysists noted that an entire team was built upon the idea of "counterattacking." It's counter intuitive really. Your whole team, even your goal scorers are reliant upon the opportunity of a turnover. You run the risk of stalling completely if the game flow is normal and there arent many transition opportunities.
The UNC basketball team has actually been built like this the last couple years where if we weren't able to get out in transition, we probably wouldn't be scoring a whole lot and might even lose. Ty Lawson went down and were were screwed.
Basically my whole point is that its a transitional time in life for me and my friends here. Where we live, who were are close to in proximity, what we eat, the language we speak, and the friends we make will all be new. God often disperses his people in the Bible. Which is why there are more Jewish people in New York than in Jerusalem today. In Jeremiah he tells the people not to put all their efforts into reclaiming their original homes in Israel after the Diaspora(s), but instead to lay down roots, build homes, start families, plant fields in foreign lands.
If I were one of the Israelites, it would be easy to see why this would be frustrating. Being an agrarian society, people were more tied to the land back then. You had more family farms for generations, and they were always inherited by sons and daughters. Really these people had their whole lives changed and that is always a difficult thing.
But the harder to notice side of this, and one that I doubt Israel understood and believed was that there was also opportunity in this transition. Opportunity to grow, to investigate their own sin, to grow closer to God, and to ultimately be a "light to the Nations" by actually residing IN the Nations.
Now clearly, both sides are not equal. One is more comfortable than the other. But you also have to wonder how the Jewish people profited from that 1st generation who left their hometowns and put down roots in Assyria and Persia. Would they have been moved to repentance otherwise? Would their children know God? Would they be lazier or overly content with the status quo?