Thursday, August 28, 2008

On Being Different

Jayde in the jungle.

My youngest daughter posted this a few days ago. It may give you a glimpse into the mind of a TCK. (Third Culture Kid)

Jayde, as she writes this from Paraguay.

Hi. I'm an MK, a home-schooler, and a Christian. I have friends who are MKs. I have experienced many cultures, and at times felt weird or left out. It has taken a while for me to realize that being different or weird isn't so bad. In fact, at times, it means you are more in control. It means you are special and have gotten to do things that many adults only dream about, much less kids.
It means that you know how to do things that most people learn in college, by the age of eight. Or even six.
I love every culture I have ever been a part of. I believe that everyone should try out a new culture at least once in their life, and I know they'd love to. Well, I have gotten to do it three times.
Venezuela, the States, and then Paraguay.
For you, the States is normal, and Venezuela and Paraguay are different. For me, it's the other way around.
I have swam in the Amazon, and learned three languages, cried myself to sleep at night because there was a strike going on outside, learned to walk in the Indians' mud hut, and eaten worms. Dead and alive. Yes. I. Have.
It's odd to think that someone who looks American fits in better with Latins than Americans, but it's confusing. It's the inside that makes us different by someone who has probably never left their state. Much less town. It's the thought that we have been somewhere dangerous, or beautiful or both. The fact that we can correct adults who have studied a language for eight years and we learned it in two years, and the people understand us better than that other scholar-person. The fact that we can say Hola without it sounding like Oh-Law.
And because we have done this, people fear us, and practice their Spanish on us, or Russian or whatever language they want to hear. If we know it, then you can guess that we have said the same thing we say to you about eight thousand times. At eight hundred different churches.
When we aren't very enthusiastic when you say how much we've grown, it's because we have heard it a million times and are upset that we still hear 'you were this big when I saw you last'. And, we wish we had grown at least a LITTLE bit since the last person told us that.
It's because our favorite thing to do is baffle people who speak the same language as us in public just to see their faces when they see someone who looks like they can't understand the person's accent.
For example, US. At Mexican restaurants. And at Wal-Mart and everywhere else we happen to see someone who speaks our language.
So now I am gonna let you in my 'canoe' and we'll float down the river of my life. Wear a life jacket. This is gonna be bumpy, and wet, and EVERYTHING in between.

Jayde learns to walk on our dirt floor.


Gayle said...

Jayde is a jewell! :)

redneck preacher said...

Awesome post. You've grown so much since you posted last.


Brooke said...

Wow, very, very cool!

Sun Prodcutions said...

I keep hoping that my boys get to the point where they are as well adjusted as your daughter sounds. I would love to meet you sometime. I live in Asuncion, very close to the Marlboro building on Aviadores del Chaco. Are you close at all?

Dawn said...

Very well done! How old is she? My nieces and nephew have lived all over and definitely consider themselves TCK - though they're grown and married, they've never lost their feeling of wanderlust.

Pam said...

"Oh-Law" Rita and Jayde! Jayde I can't believe how much you've grown since moving to Paraguay! Why the last time I saw you, you were only yea high!

Loved the theme paper. Its nice to get our frustrations out on paper sometimes.

Betty said...

Jayde sounds so mature. How old is she?
She must be a lovely child!

Kristi said...

That was a great post. I enjoyed it so much. So, do you ever get tired of people asking you the same questions?

;) hehe

Seriously though, I'll keep your thoughts in mind the next time a missionary family shows up at our church.

~Mrs. Kristi

WomanHonorThyself said...

what a gem !

~K~ said...

Great insight, Jadye! Our kids have had those comments about growing up too. There are also people who still think our kids are the same ages they were when we left the states!

Thursday's Child said...

Great post! That's why I'm glad my kids are having the chance to grow up overseas.

{imaginativa} said...

It is so wonderful to see how well your child has adjusted and to see that she has the gift of seeing the best cultures can offer her.

Steve n Vickie said...

What an oppertunity to learn a second and third language as a child.

No hay nada mas divertido que soprender un hablahispano cuando ellos no piensan que entiendes. Lo he hecho varias veces.

She probably knows spanish better than most tex-mex. Its funny that by third generation most of them don't know hardly two words in spanish.

What a treasure you have :)

Bob said...

What Gayle said!