Y’all, today we get to hear from my new friend Courtney Runn! Courtney spent five years in Italy as an MK, and just started college at the University of Texas at Austin where she is studying journalism. I think you’re really going to enjoy what Courtney has to say – she definitely has a gift for putting her experiences into words in a way that I can relate to 100%, so I am so grateful she agreed to share her stories with us here! Girlfriend also runs an awesome blog AND a webzine called Not of This World, all written for TCK girls by TCK girls, which you should go check out ASAP. K thanks.
As of now, I’ve been in college for roughly a month. Before college, I knew what it meant to be a TCK. I had been “schooled,” even, to know how I was supposed to feel; I knew what I should struggle with, what I should excel at. But coming to college changed that.
I have met numerous TCKs in the past month and I’m never sure what to say. One girl told me she grew up in Germany and I wanted to yell, “Me too!” and throw my arms around her and be best friends forever. The problem is, I didn’t grow up in Germany – I just understood all that came with that simple statement. When I tried to explain my life in Italy and that I got it, she didn’t seem to care.
That’s what it’s been like with a lot of the TCKs I’ve met. In my mind, we’re supposed to have a stronger-than-glue instantaneous bond, but they didn’t seem to get the memo. This became most apparent to me when a girl I’d been spending a lot of time with told me she was born and raised overseas. I excitedly told her that I was a TCK too and she gave me a blank stare. I explained to her what the term meant and she didn’t believe me. Let me repeat that. SHE DIDN’T BELIEVE ME. She thought I had made the term up! I gave her example after example of ministries and websites and magazines that reached out to people like us and she asked this simple question: why do we need to be reached out to?
And you know what? I didn’t have an answer. For the first time, I met someone whose identity was not wrapped up in their overseas experience. And I was speechless because, ever since moving overseas, I’ve come to believe that being a TCK somehow permanently changed my life and who I am. It’s like people were loudly proclaiming, “You’re a child of God!” yet secretly whispering “But you’re a TCK child of God. And that’s what really matters.”
So does this mean I’ve given up on being a TCK? No! I love being a TCK and I always will, but I’m tired of letting my life revolve around it. There’s something special about spending time with someone who understands what you’ve been there, but there’s also something special about spending time with someone who does not. Being a TCK is part of my story – a very big and beautiful part – but it’s not who I am. My identity is and always will be in Christ.
I hope you don’t read this and feel like being a TCK doesn’t matter – it so does! God has given me a passion for other TCK girls like myself and He’s taken me on quite the journey because of it. Sometimes, though, I think it’s important to take a step back and let some perspective sink in. No matter how awesome it is to have the chance to live overseas, it’s not what life is about. My hope is that instead of isolating ourselves because of our unique background, we’ll reach out to those around us and bring them on this beautiful journey too!