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* life in these United States

January 13, 2016

As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, after about 10 years as an MK/TCK (Missionary stranger in a strange landKid/Third Culture Kid–3rd thru 12th grade) who is also a former Missionary/Expat (1983-1995), I’m a bit of an immigrant to these United States. In fact when we returned to the US in 1995 I had lived almost half my life in Madagascar (the rest here in either Minnesota or Wisconsin). So while Minnesota is the homeland of both my parents (and my wife and in-laws), this hasn’t come quite as naturally for me. In fact at times it’s taken some real work.

So now that I’ve been here in the US almost 2/3rds of my life, you’d think I might be better as in more comfortable with it than I am. Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful for a variety of things here in these United States.

Things like being close to family (parents, siblings and kids), having access to great health bri dado gmacare and not feeling like or constantly being called a <<vazaha>> (“foreigner”). I enjoy being able to say exactly what I’m thinking (or at least trying to) in English and being able to much better understand what people are saying to me. Worshiping in English each week is a privilege as is not having to face so many desperately poor people every day. And then there are a whole list of things that have gotten tougher  since we lived there. The capital city, Antananarivo, is much more crowded, has enormous flooding, garbage, electricity and water supply challenges. Air Madagascar still flies, but many days its schedule is totally out the window. Life is more dangerous in Madagascar, with quite a few kidnappings and a lot of banditry out in the countryside.

But there are things I miss about Madagascar mightily as well. I grew up on a warm ocean Evatraha IIwith hundreds of miles of white sand beaches–I miss being able to visit the town and beaches I grew up in and on. I greatly enjoyed the realities of being able to be embedded within another world, one I continued to sought to better understand as long as I was there. I miss being able to speak Malagasy and even more I miss my Malagasy friends. I also miss the clarity of calling I felt while working overseas, something I’ve struggled with mightily here on this side of the ocean, especially these last 10 years.

Most certainly some of this is just related to being no longer young. Other parts of it may over here no herebe remnants of our having to leave Madagascar in a hurry, uncertain of whether we’d be able to return? We weren’t, though I have been able to get back for a couple of visits since then. But a lot of it I feel is due to challenges I’ve had in understanding my calling on this side of the ocean.

A task I’m still working on.

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