Preparing & 1st Year

When your team isn’t all you expect it to be

by Editor on January 19, 2016

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Our first year of living in China was marked by the expected symptoms of culture stress: frustration, dark thoughts about all Chinese people everywhere, helplessness, hopelessness, tears. And loneliness. So much loneliness. We arrived without any team members, hoping to prepare the way for others to join us, but having no idea if they ever […]

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Searching for Home

by Editor on December 22, 2015

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It’s hard to describe the turbulence of soul that comes from being on the move, always unsettled. You cannot be still and breathe deeply. You cannot love the wild-growing front-lawn tulips too much, or the way the sunlight turns the living room into a golden elven forest in the afternoon. They will soon be gone. […]

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Jumping Off the Pedestal

by Editor on November 6, 2015

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I live in fear of disappointing people. Supporters, our church, our organization, family, friends. I know how messy my life is, I know the things I struggle with, I know where I stumble, I know how often I mess things up, and now I worry others will know too. I have always been a pretty […]

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Same Same, Thankfully

by Editor on November 3, 2015

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As I am in the middle of wading through culture shock,  I am so thankful for things that seem to transcend time zones and culture. Things that I know are the same no matter where I am or who I’m with or what language I’m (kind of) speaking. Like the normal, everyday things that make […]

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How to Help TCKs Manage Probing Questions

by Editor on October 22, 2015

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Children think in concrete, specific terms: black and white, true and false. As parents, we train them to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” What could be wrong with that? I don’t want to raise liars, and I’m sure you don’t either. But sometimes, when you live overseas, the whole […]

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Failing at Fatherhood (how moving abroad ruined my parenting)

by Jonathan Trotter on September 6, 2015

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I sat on the floor, weeping. I was two whole days into living abroad, and I was already losing it. Those tears portended more, and in our first year overseas, the thing that knocked me down the most, the thing that discouraged and distracted and depressed me the most, was the sense that I was […]

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The Teary Expat Mom, Shopping

by Rachel Pieh Jones on September 4, 2015

The Teary Expat Mom, Shopping

A confession… I am that woman who balances twenty boxes of shoes at the register in Payless. Four pairs of shoes per person. The same shoe in incrementally larger sizes for the kids. Buy one, get one half off. I am that woman who, in late August, needs two carts at Target. I am that […]

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The Newbie. In August of 2001, that was me. Standing in the dirty house that was going to be my home, totally overwhelmed by the barrage to my senses–smoke in the air, humidity on my skin, roosters crowing. What on earth was I going to cook? How was I supposed to get anywhere? And what […]

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How to Communicate so People Will Care

by Jonathan Trotter on August 6, 2015

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Newsletters. Prayer updates. Itinerations. Reports. Furloughs. Presentations. Are you stressed out yet? For most of us, living and serving abroad means communicating back to senders. A lot. But this isn’t what we went to school for, and besides that, communicating in person or in print is scary. It’s exposing. It’s like learning a new culture […]

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Hello World!

by Rachel Pieh Jones on August 3, 2015

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How do you greet people where you live? I asked this question recently on Facebook because I was working on an essay: To Kiss or Not to Kiss? (check out that piece for a somewhat more thoughtful look at cross cultural greetings). I wanted to see what greetings were like around the world. Even though […]

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“Feeling so fearful and alone since moving as a trailing spouse” Last month someone found my blog because they did an internet search for that phrase. It reminded me how much pain a trailing spouse endures. I remember the struggle; I remember the suffering. And while whoever typed those search terms is actually not alone, […]

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Thoughts and Advice for a First-time Expat

by Marilyn on July 8, 2015

Ten commandments for Expats

A few weeks ago, someone who is moving overseas contacted me. This is her first time living overseas, she is going into the unknown, and wants to be as prepared as possible. Here is what I said to her: Dear Lucy (name has been changed) Wow – I’m excited for you and not a little […]

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