half the world away

we’ve hit the potential halfway mark in our time here, and already staying or moving on will be a tough decision. i am trying to be content, instead of waiting impatiently for the next bigger, better thing. in just a year and a half much has changed. we really love this community and this part of the world. we’ve learned how to respond internally and practically to disappointments, uphill battles and apathy, how to appreciate people that are different from us. we’ve been so blessed, seeing God provide in many situations.  

we found a preschool where emi feels safe, with educators we trust. we were told not to expect much or even put her in school here but amazingly, the director and teachers seem to truly care for the kids’ physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual needs. i’ve never seen a more thorough end-of-the-year “report card” for a four-year old. baby M is now 6 months old and growing rapidly. for the most part he is cheerful and happy. he adores his sister and spends most of his day watching her run around and dissolves into laughter when she jumps or talks to him.

our church is very similar to the ones i grew up in, with many people who live across oceans from family, who don’t speak the local language and are unable to articulate intelligibly, who stick out in a crowd, who learn to adapt constantly. i feel so at home here and in a weird way more comfortable not fitting in than having assumptions made about how i should fit in. unfortunately, maybe part of what makes it easier in a sense is not developing very deep friendships, with many conversations never progressing past comparing travel tips and collecting great anecdotes.

the hardest part of this expat life is missing weddings, births, major events and life. part of you always wishes you were somewhere else, and it’s hard not to feel like you have to choose where your loyalties lie, always at the expense of someone else. some of these kids struggle with homesickness, cultural identity and wanting to belong but recognized for your differences. i wish i could reassure them that all the goodbyes and spending half of your life flying back and forth is not without its sorrows but there are advantages, it just may not be apparent until much later.