Tragedy and Our Souls

By Donna Kushner

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Tragedy is no stranger to the global community of missionary kids and their families. Amongst us grief is a common theme. Sometimes the grief is the result of a tragedy. Recently I experienced this sort of grief, but from a distance–three times in a few short weeks. Our wired world forces us to experience grief this way, now that social media can inform us of a death or other sudden loss within hours of it happening.

I have pondered on this today as I learned of the third tragedy. It is not unlike the grief that we talk about for MKs—sometimes geographically distant, sometimes experienced alone and, certainly, cumulative. Sometime I wonder how we can all bear so much grief, especially when it is accompanied by a sense of helplessness because of being several steps or possibly many steps, removed from the site of the tragedy.

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Learning to Be Culturally Shattered

Exploring Stripped Culture pt 2 
By Genny Rice, adapted from Tea Time Traveler
For two and a half years, I have allowed my culture to be dissected and dressed, in order to gain cultural approval from Southern America. Do I regret that decision? Sometimes. Mostly on the days when I can feel my past glide off of my present self. Two years hasn’t been enough to make me forget who I used to be and it also hasn’t been enough to make me completely normal in this place. I still have trouble remembering to open doors for people and balk when asked personal questions at the check out lane at Walmart. Curving cobblestone roads and ornate facades on cloud caressing buildings are more comfortable than eight lane highways and brick behind white colonnades. Nevertheless, Walmart conversations pass quickly when you ask questions first. If you push the door hard enough, it will hover open for a few moments after you, effectively creating space for the person who may or may not be behind you to slip in after you.

 

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Syzygy of Cultural Stripping

By Genny Rice, adapted from Tea Time Traveler         greg-rakozy-38802-unsplash

It hit me today that I am halfway through my junior year at college. I am closer to graduating than I am to starting. Two years that I chose to sacrifice on a cultural alter to the South. Freshman year I dedicate to culture shock, as I attempted to adapt to a culture that was familiar, yet different from my old life. I was never good at keeping secrets. My cultural differences are easily spotted; they are very friendly creatures. But over time, I learned to feel them coming. And then, my cultural alter would receive another sacrifice. I thought that, over time, my differences would disappear as I learned how the South operates. However, after two years, I have learned that this belief was wrong. I am not a local. I never will be. But I have recently stopped believing that that is so terrible.

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Cultural Pride

IMG_8059I’ve had my fair share of cultural experiences. I had a Greek woman insistently tell me where I needed to go buy underwear in Athens. I can only wonder if she had searched my bags earlier. I spent a week before summer mission in Thailand with Thai CCC staff Yui and Yokie. During this time they gave me new foods to try and would occasionally laugh as they did so. I have had a host of new experiences which could lead to culture shock, but given my experience as a TCK I always thought I was immune to it. I’ve since been corrected. Continue reading