This week, one of my YASC friends lost his grandfather. It wasn’t a really unexpected loss, but that doesn’t make it any easier to be in a foreign country, away from family and friends, when this sort of thing happens. Another YASCer was able to virtually witness her sister’s ultrasound which showed the new member of her family that will arrive in the near future. Though she can be connected through the wonders of the internet, there is nothing quite like welcoming a new family member in person.
And speaking of new family members, my cousin got married this week! I wish them both the best! I have not met his new wife (my cousin-in-law?) or even seen him for several years, but I was reminded that weddings were some of the things that other YASCers mentioned when we talked about what we would miss during a conversation at orientation in New York. While weddings of friends and distant relatives may not be as hard to miss, weddings of close friends and relatives would be.
As humans, we long to relate to one another and this is especially the case on important days. Births, weddings, and deaths are moments in life when we wish to share each other’s joys, sorrows, and memories. When we miss out on these moments, it is easy to become discouraged. We may say things like “I wish I had been there when my niece was born,” or “I can’t believe I missed their wedding. It’s the most important day of their lives!”
There are little things we will miss out this year as well. We have been talking about the holidays a lot lately around the school. We are making our Christmas plans and the other Americans and I have been dreaming of Thanksgiving dinner, complete with turkey and mashed potatoes. It will be hard to be away from family at that time of year. For the first year that I can remember, I wasn’t around to help my mom set up her classroom for the new school year. That is the thing that always made me feel like summer was really over. My baby brother is using my car for the year. I got my car used 8 years ago, and it has taken me on many adventures. He gets to be the one to see it hit 100,000 miles, a momentous occasion for any car owner. This year, I will miss snow, trick-or-treating, Easter egg hunts, the Super Bowl, fast food, the Winter Olympics, my dog, Black Friday sales, new movies, and all of my favorite television shows. The list goes on and on.
But you know what? I don’t care.
I could spend a year dwelling on the things I’m missing, but it wouldn’t do me any good. It wouldn’t do anyone any good.
Instead, I think about all the things that get to happen BECAUSE I am here. Personally, I get the opportunity to live in another country and to experience life half-way around the world. I get the chance to learn and use a second language, even if it isn’t exactly fluently, to communicate with others who don’t speak English. I have met and get to work with fantastic people who come from all over the world: Tanzania, the US, Northern Ireland, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, and the UK. I get to learn first-hand about a new culture. I also get to experience a different type of worship on Sunday mornings and am surrounded by fellow Christians who freely share their spirit and enthusiasm.
I also get to share my experiences with the world. One of my favorite features of Blogger is the map I can see that shows me where people have checked in from. It is fun to see what new countries have joined me each week. Some of the countries are expected. The US, Canada, Tanzania, and the countries where other YASCers are seem to come up a lot. Other places such as Indonesia, Russia, Pakistan, and Poland surprise me. I am so grateful to each one of you for sharing with me.
I am also able to connect my kids with parts of the world they know little about. My students in Tanzania have become pen pals with the students in Wyoming I have worked with for the past few years. Together, they will learn about each other while practicing writing skills and correct English grammar.
So, is it worth it?
YOU BET IT IS!!
Glad I don't get to miss this!