I feel like it was just yesterday when I was living in the glory years of “missionary kid” life. It’s an experience that is not only hard to explain, but one that few choose to understand. The group of friends I had could only be described as “hodgepodge”. We all had different backgrounds, denominations, and accents-some more distinguishable than others. When you found someone who spoke English, you kind of adopted them as a new best friend. You may have had hundreds of differences with this person, but the one thing you did have in common, was being uprooted from the “normalcy” of the American Dream childhood.
The kids and the adults all meshed into one giant family. I had more Aunts and Uncles than I could count! I was thankful for this since my own extended family was thousands of miles away and I could only see them every two years. We’d all spend Friday nights having youth group, Christmas’ camping on the beach, and don’t forget our annual vacation to the Bujama beach retreat! I’m a little giddy inside thinking of all those good times!
My senior year drew to an abrupt end, and my close Peru friends dispersed to various parts of continental U.S. As I stepped back on American soil, I knew things were going to be different. I managed to keep the same friends I had in middle school before we left 6 years earlier, which was a blessing! However, very little interest was sparked of my oversee endeavors, and we picked back up as if nothing had changed.
My Christian college was used to missionary kids coming in wearing capes, developing new languages, and being true outcasts among the other students. In an effort to shield me from said social faux pas , Mt. Vernon involuntarily placed me in a Third Culture Kid support group (they called it a club), where I was assigned a faculty member to meet with monthly to discuss my “re-entry” into the North American society. This woman gave me seasonal appliqué sweaters throughout the year—yeah! That’ll help me fit in among my peers. I admittedly found her to be more in need of the “social skills” tutelage.
I do admit that on the rare occasion I will fall into an infamous “missionary kid” moment. I will do or say something “un-American” and will get slight ridicule from my states friends. This just makes me chuckle inside because they’ll never know how unusual we really were (choash, anyone?)!!
Years have passed since I’ve been in Peru-but the memories live on. There have been several occasions where God has blessed me with the opportunity to see these friends again-at which point, the nostalgia comes screaming back to me! We call these moments “PerUnions” (dorky, but effective!). Just this last weekend I was so thankful to see my dear friend, Lucas Floyd. I’ve seen him twice in the last 5 years, but unlike usual long distance friendships, it wasn’t awkward! We played Balderdash, had “facetime” with his family, and spent lots of time catching up and laughing. The friendship I have with him is so carefree and fun. I’ve missed my friends from Peru so much-but I’m so thankful that, through Jesus, our relationships will last forever!
Technology amuses us more than most....we discovered photobooth on the ipad.