We’ve been living in a new country for 7 months now! As we consider the life decisions that have landed us on the other side of the world, and how we’re doing amidst them, we’re overwhelmed mostly with gratitude. Our timing was interesting… I mean, nobody planned for us to be moving abroad amidst a pandemic. Or trying to learn a new language with masks and restrictions and lockdowns getting in the way. Or for one of our parents to get diagnosed with cancer. But we have been consistently surprised by blessing along the way and despite the unique challenges of this season, we are on our feet. So here are a few reflections 7 months in:
Moving overseas has been…
- Full of transitions
- Peppered with losses and gains
- A sometimes steep learning curve
We are grateful to be here, grateful for the things we’re learning every day. It’s a privilege to be here, doing this work, and we get to learn a lot about ourselves and people from around the world at the same time.
Language Learning has been…
- Interesting (at times)
- And most certainly a work in progress
This will continue to be an ongoing process, but in the middle of the long days of studying and trying to have conversations, we’re feeling very blessed that we get to try! It requires us approaching life humbly. It’s gives us a posture of learning as we explore and discover a new culture. While it’s most definitely HARD, there are many wonderful things that we cherish about this season – and no doubt will continue to cherish as we are able to engage more and build better relationships around us.
COVID restrictions and quarantine have been…
- Healing (involuntary downtime can do that to you)
- Taught us to rediscover old joys (reading novels) and discover new interests (swimming in the Mediterranean!)
- Isolating (by design)
This last year has been so hard for many! We’ve been talking recently about “where we were at when the world stopped…” when those first days of lockdowns hit. We were 3 weeks from leaving our passport country, and realized that we were being delayed indefinitely. We have dear friends who are STILL in that position. We mourn with them, and are so grateful for the steps this year has brought for us amidst the pandemic. But we recognize more than ever the need for counseling (especially for cross-cultural workers) who have dealt with some unique losses. (In fact, my friend Christine with Enneagram for the Expat has been having a great conversation about ambiguous loss that I’d encourage you to check out! Bonus, I get to help out with graphics for her amazing work!)
Building relationships has been…
- Both easier and harder than we imagined
Right off the bat, we were met with some incredibly welcoming friends who ushered us into circles of fellow expats. We are so grateful for how that set us up right away with people we could process with and learn alongside. As we have deepened those relationships, we’ve also been blessed to build additional friendships with some locals and look forward to continuing those (as our language improves too…hopefully!)
What have you learned in the last season?
As we all reflect how the world has changed over the last year, we hope you’re also seeing His presence on that journey. Thanks for following along with us too as we continue learning and growing!