America, Part 1

April 6, 2008

I recently went to the States to speak at a couple of conferences. This was my first time back to the States since the first part of 2006…almost 2 years. I’m planning several posts about my time there.

To say I felt a little funny would be an understatement. The first night I ate at Chili’s with a colleague. Chips and ranch, chicken crispers, and loads of sweet tea. I paid the price later that night, but for an hour or so it felt great to eat some “old-normal” food. You see, I’ve had to differentiate between old-normal and new-normal. Chili’s, the mall, and driving on the right side of the road, these are the things that are my old-normal. The Gourmet Burger Kitchen, arcades (not the kind with games), and driving on the left side of the road are my new-normal. I don’t know that one is better, or that one is right, and the other is worse, or wrong. They’re just different. And for the first time in my life I felt a little out of place in that Chili’s. The teenagers, the dress, the accents, they all felt a little weird. When we went through training before moving over here we were told that our kids were no longer called MK’s (missionary kids). The new term was TCK’s (Third Culture Kids). Our children don’t fit in with American culture, and they don’t really fit in with the culture here. They fit in a third, almost undefined culture. I felt a little like a TCA (third culture adult).

I enjoyed my time in the States. It was short. But I was glad to get back to western europe…where I feel more normal.

-shorty

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