The other day, our daughter said, “If we could bring Scout out here, I would want to stay here forever.”
So it seems she is enjoying the summer. And why wouldn’t she be? Two of her oldest and dearest friends are here with her, along with a couple dozen other TCKs (Third Culture Kids), for six weeks. Weekday mornings we have meetings, during which the kids are together doing fun activities. The rest of the time we all live together in college student housing all centered around a common courtyard. We’re back to the days of, “I don’t know where the kids are, but I know they’re having fun. They’ll probably come home when they’re hungry.” In other words, it’s their paradise.
It’s also their normal. Our kids came into the world when we lived in a building with 29 other people we worked with, as well as nine kids under the age of 5, most of us within 5 stories of one another. We bought a security door with our American neighbors and placed it 10 feet down the hallway (instead of each of us having our own outside our doors) so that we could leave our own doors open for the families to go back and forth at any time.
When we moved to Singapore, we again had numerous families we knew all centered around a common courtyard, this time with a pool. Every day at 2 pm, that’s where we were. Our last two years in Asia, most of the people from our office lived within a 2 mile radius of one another. Between us there were 60 school age kids, and most of them were homeschooled. There wasn’t a day that went by without friends.
Then we came to the States, and our kids didn’t know what to make of it. Ethan’s managed to find some friends a couple blocks away, and they are over as much as possible, but we’re still praying for Megan to have at least one good friend in the neighborhood. They are realizing that what they grew up with just wasn’t the norm.
Throughout our transition, this has been one of the places of deepest grief for our kids. As much as they want life to be the way they knew growing up, they simply cannot make it that way. They are still trying to figure out how to do without.
And then we come here, and life IS that way, and we’re all kinds of happy and thankful and relieved (it’s hard to think of things to do without friends!).
So what is my conclusion? I confess I’m tempted to look ahead and gather my emotional energy for the fallout of losing this environment once again. I’m trying instead to simply be grateful for the gift of having this amazing community.
The same four girls, four years later. It’s good to be reunited!