Monday, January 05, 2004

Since I've been back in Congo one of my "aunts" gave me a book to read entitled "Third Culture Kids". Its all about how different, yet normal MK-types are and their special needs when adjusting. Usually I dislike these sorts of books because they tend to isolate TCKs into a special category. Kind of like they're excused from participting with the rest of the world because of how they grew up. I'm not a rare odd species though, to be studied and coddled.
This book was better than most though. I recognized many of the behaviors described in this book, either from myself or friends. However, I also noticed something the authors didn't admit. These behaviors and feelings aren't all unique to TCKs. It so easy to play the role of ignorant newcomer, priviledged world traveler, or a victim of homesickness. I've been all three - sometimes all at once oddly enough. Its no way to live for long though. You can't keep it up, or at least I can't. People are people though, no matter where. They have different ways of expressing themselves, and different circumstances that bring out those behaviors but I'm pretty sure they've all had to deal with the same emotions at some point in their lives. A friendship ending, maybe betrayal, homesickness, love, friendships, joy and so on. I've had to say goodbye to friends more often since coming to college than I ever did growing up. At least on the mission families were on 4 year rotations so there usually was a hope of running across lost friends at mission conferences or back on the field. Maybe its just me always trying to find similarities among people, a common ground to reach out and connect.
As often happens, my favorite part of the book was a section 2 pages from the end. (grr, 308 pages for a few paragraphs)
"Once my world stopped spinning, people, places, things, behaviours, and even a language were ripped from my life and I was thrust naked, except for the skimpy garments of family and the rags of memory, into a cold, new, and unfamilar world. The more I invest in the world you and I are creating, the more there will be to grieve for when our world stops spinning.
If, I think quickly, if.
I am training myself slowly to the belief that worlds don't have to end. Is a measure of my intimacy with and trust in you that I can change the "when" to "if", even as an afterthought.
It is a mark of how much I trust you that I don't play the roles completely with you. I forget to. I lapse into pidgn, point with my chin, pick things up wiht my toes in your prescence. You are amused. I've tried to explain to you that this is who I am." --Sophia Morton

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