A lot of people who move overseas go years without anyone coming to visit them, and that can be hard. My co-workers and I have not experienced that. We’ve had a pretty regular influx of people from home coming over in the last few months. Almost everyone on our team has had somebody come around the world, just to see us. I’ve had one visitor so far and am really excited to have one more [my baby bro, Josh, is planning on coming for the summer – as soon as he graduates from High School]. It really means a lot to get to share life here with people.
We recently had two visitors here for 15 days. They are from a fellowship in the states that 3 of the 13 foreigners in our city are from. They came to see what was going on here and to support and encourage us. We had so much fun with them. They were like a breath of fresh air [and ya know, the air here is disgustingly polluted. LA has nothing on us]. The day that those two left, my roommate’s parents got in. They are staying for a few days and then traveling around the country some.
Over the last 3 weeks though, I have realized how even LESS “NORMAL” I’ve become than before (and most of you can attest to the fact that I haven’t been normal for a long long time). I’ve faced the reality that when I go back to the states this summer, it’s not going to be all peaches and sunshine. It’s going to be hard. I’m going to accidentally speak the wrong language without realizing that I’ve done it and people won’t understand me (that happened a few times this week with our visitors)… I might accidentally speak very slowly and without contractions to Asian people… I’ll be around people who love me and know me well, but there are so many things about me and my life here that I’ll never fully be able to explain to them… Going to a big church full of fancy things and white people will be a shock to my system, and honestly will probably make me cry and feel like I don’t belong…
A couple days ago, I was at the airport and there was a bus full of American tourists… I watched them, and they seemed so… foreign… to me. Isn’t that weird? I’m American!!! [But maybe only part of me is…]
At CBU, a really smart lady – Kristen – teaches the students who go overseas about what it’s like to become a cross-cultural, global citizen… I’ve adopted her analogies and taught them to many others as they really do explain it well. Imagine 2 flasks of water. One is full of water that’s been colored blue, the other yellow (yellow). The blue water is American. The yellow (yellow) water is another culture. When you go to another culture, it gets in you. Picture pouring some yellow (yellow) into the blue. The water turns green… YOU TURN GREEN. And the more you go, and the longer you stay, and the more you pour yourself out and INVEST and LEARN… the more green you become. You’ll never be blue again – even if you try pouring more blue back into you, but you’ll also never be able to become totally yellow. You basically become a new breed. Blue people don’t understand you, yellow (yellow) people don’t understand you. You never really fit in, anywhere. As Kermit the Frog says, IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN!!
But, Christ followers are called to a life of not fitting in… and becoming a green, cross-cultural, global citizen… is sometimes what that looks like.