Saturday, March 29, 2008

Living Overseas

What is it that makes people pick up and move overseas? How can a person or people sell everything they own, leave their support system, the familiarity of the things around them to go and live in a place minus those things? No familiar doctors, dentists, friends, or even simple things such as familiar food and types of housing?

I wonder about that often these days, especially living around a strong foreign business community. An arrogant person once stated to me that the only reason someone would try to work over here is if they couldn't make it in the states. At first the arrogance of the statement took me back, but I had to laugh about that later, because they fit that profile completely. Why can't I see those things immediately? It did make me wonder why THEY were here, though.

But that's not what brings people overseas at all. I can't imagine someone thinking "I can't make it in the states, so I'm going to go live overseas where I'm even MORE disadvantaged and give it a shot." No. There's more to it. And I'm not just talking about missionaries, either. Missionaries do feel a burden for those around them, but so do business people. Business people also have to deal with culture shock, learning a new language and learning to drive in a controlled chaotic style. They aren't working from a calling, so what keeps them here?

When we were going through the process of coming overseas, we met a couple named Jim and Jane. They shared that their family was accusing them of just wanting an adventure. The response of everyone there was, "So?" That sense of adventure seems to be a prerequisite to working in another culture. Can you imagine coming over here and NOT having one? We referred to Jim and Jane's process as "Jim and Jane's Great Adventure" after that.

But I think that's an important quality: a sense of adventure. I honestly didn't realize I had that much of an adventurous spirit until I lived in that little town on the mountain. A pioneer woman with a computer is what a friend called me. I never thought about it in those terms until she said that. Adventure can be addicting, making a person want to experience more and more. There's something about actually tangently feeling, tasting and seeing another culture. It is definitely something that keeps us working through the frustrations of daily living in another culture. And believe me, there are frustrations, because this is not my home culture.

But this is our home for now. God has called us to this life. I know, because he's instilled that sense of adventure in us, and keeps it alive in us on a daily basis. Our focus is on the lives around us, and the next adventure we're called to.

I wonder what God's adventures are like. You know he loves it, too. After all, we're created in His image.


Cahleen 何凱琳 said...

I totally relate to what you're saying here!

Anonymous said...

Papa Don wants to know if that's a real elephant that is holding Bubs. Cute picture and great article. I'm going to Wally World and get some more minutes so we can call and it won't cost an arm and a leg. (Ministerially speaking.) Ü Ü

Love you lots!
Mom (and Dad, who's sitting here watching me type.)