Zach was able to go to a pre-departure seminar for a weekend last term. As I was packing I found his notebook and have been reading a lot of what they learned which was some really good stuff(with his permission of course). At the back of the book some former students at his school wrote some responses to questions to help the students understand what it might be like. Most of you who know me, know that I'm pretty emotional anyway. So, I'm sure you can imagine me just weeping as I read all these pages of what these TCK's had written. I read many pages but I'm just going to include a few of the comments so you can better understand what it is like for TCK's as they leave Africa and go to live in the states.
TCK (Third Culture Kid): An individual who, having spent a significant part of the developmental years in a culture other than the parents' culture, develops a sense of relationship to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Elements from each culture are incorporated into the life experience, but the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar experience.
The hardest thing about leaving Africa....
"Leaving a place that is the closest thing to home I’ve ever had, and likely ever will have."
"Leaving my dear home, the incomparable beauty of it, and the comfortable feeling of knowing I was loved and accepted there. I knew what to expect at every turn."
"I was mostly afraid…it felt like I was never going to come back.. I remember crying in the airplane cause I was scared."
"I really miss the dirt, the people, the food, the smells, the way of life."
"Losing the sense of belonging."
"Leaving a continent where I understood what was going on culturally."
"When you leave, you’re leaving your entire life, and transplanting it into a place where you know no one very closely, and nothing about current life there. It’s so easy to want to just curl up, go to sleep, and realize it’s all been a dream, and you’re still in Africa. In one blow, your life has been shattered, and you don’t know if humpty-dumpty can be put together again."
My transition has gone well because.... "I know this is where God wants me right now. Also, I've figured out that there is no place on earth that could ever be my home. God has designed us to long for heaven, and we won't be satisfied until we're with Him. So I have given up trying to claim a plot of land as my home, and have found my identity as a child of Christ. I know that I'm going to get home when I die, so life is just one long journey. Knowing that has made me realize that leaving Kenya hasn't dragged me away from my home, I've just taken the fork in the road, which will eventually lead me to my heavenly home. No direction is wrong, it's just fun."
These sound like some pretty smart young people to me. So, as you think of us over the next few months please pray for us as we transition back into the states. For Zach, he will be starting his life in the states. For us, we will just be there for 8 months and then we'll all come back to Zambia.
You know when you first have children you think about how short of a time you have them to raise them but it seems like it is so far off before they go out on their own. You just do the best that you can to train your child in the way that he should go. You teach him along the way to be independent and to stand on his own two feet. They just grow up too fast!! It is all building up to the time that he goes off to college for the first time. Now, we are at that point in our life. Am I ready for it? NO! Is Zach ready? Yes, I believe he is. It doesn't make it any easier on me though. I know many moms and dads have dealt with this in the past and many will deal with it in the future but right now it is my turn and it is a hard place to be. Please pray for us as we go through this difficult stage of life.