“Your worst You is coming”… I remember the very moment this hit home for me. I’ve decided to tell you the story. It’s a story that most people enjoy – except me! … This wasn’t my worst “China day”. This was my worst ME day in China.
I’ve spent over three years working on a book about Third Culture Kids – and it is finally being released on August 15th!! Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century will be available on Amazon (paperback and Kindle) as well as other ebook formats, and I will also be selling paperbacks in person.
My first stop was Los Angeles, where I spent a day visiting with China friends. It was a gorgeous day – the air was so clear I could see the Hollywood sign. A week later, the whole day seems almost like a dream – did it really happen?
This was the week I finally accepted something I already knew to be true, not just as an idea but as a reality. Repatriation is hard. It takes time – a lot of time. And there is no shortcut. It is challenging to invest in a place my heart is not attached to – my mind has been in the world that I have known and loved and invested in for more than a decade.
Yesterday was a big day – I send the first draft of the book to my publisher/editor. I had my first Khmer (Cambodian) language lesson. Finally, it was a big day because it marked one month since I arrived in Phnom Penh.
17 days ago I received some terrible news. A girl from my youth group had passed away overnight. She was a beautiful girl, a beautiful person, and she will be missed. It’s been a long fortnight for me. I have been exhausted – mind, body and soul.
There’s been a lot of great stuff happening in youth ministry over the past few weeks. It’s hard to explain how much preparation went into all these events, how much joy I find in them, and in each of the students who were part of them.
At this year’s EPIC conference I had a team of 7 very enthusiastic and skilled young men to lead worship with. I also led a small group; we had a great time, with interesting conversations and some laidback silliness I think all teens need in life.
Changes in my accent and vocabulary have been a big part of my expat experience. There is an emotional toll that comes with having an accent that doesn’t match your passport. But it is a choice, and what I gain is worth the cost.
The last two weekends were my last Fall Youth Camps in Beijing. Youth camps are a LOT of work but worth it. The shared experience of camp helps lasting friendships develop. It’s also a chance to get away from “real life” and have space to think.
I struggle to tell you what I actually do in an interesting way. The highlights of my work are people and I don’t feel comfortable sharing stories that don’t belong to me alone. But I love what I do, and I want to share it with you.
A fun thing about my trips to Cambodia is relationships with the TCKs there. A highlight of the trip was when two students made comments about “saying goodbye to Tanya is easy – I know she’ll be back”. In TCK world, that’s a big deal.