I’ve debated sharing my story with the readers here. I just don’t know where to start. I have been writing blogs for a few years now and bits and pieces of my story have been shared on all three of them. Since this is my main blog now I thought I would do a series of posts explaining how I got to where I am today.
In 2002 my husband, kids and I moved overseas. We were missionaries. I hesitate to use that word, because we lived in a place where it was illegal to be a missionary. Because of that my husband also had a real job as a consultant for a company there. Living and working in another country was hard. Our kids went to local schools at first so they could learn the language and some culture. Later we transferred them to an international school. While we were there we had an amazing group of friends. Because we left all our family our friends stepped in and were our family. We could depend on them to really be there for us. I haven’t ever experienced anything like that here in the states. After 4 years and 3 months overseas we were scheduled to come back to the states for a 7 month stay. I was nervous. I couldn’t imagine leaving my friends. I had taken a couple of trips to the states during our 4 years overseas, and life here was different. People seemed to be more wrapped up in themselves and their activities. They didn’t seem to take the time to really invest in others. I say that, but then I stop and think. I do see groups of friends who exhibit similar behaviors to what I experienced overseas. More often than not those friends have known each other for years. More on that later.
So it was time for us to come back to America. I was nervous. I knew that I would most likely not experience the level of intimacy between friends in America that I had in my overseas home. I knew that after my 7 months in the states I would be returning to a place where things had changed while I was gone. My two closest friends were also leaving. They wouldn’t be there when I returned. Things wouldn’t be the same.
After arriving in the states in June and experiencing a whirlwind of a summer our family slowly fell into a routine. Kids went to school, we went to church, life happened. We did make some friends who really invested in us. They tried to take us in and be family. There were a few quirks because our kids weren’t in the same school district as theirs, but overall things were great.
In the meantime we got news that one of our friends overseas had made some life-changing decisions. He decided that he no longer believed in God. This man was a missionary. He and his wife and their 3 kids were from Great Britain. I couldn’t believe that he was brave enough to make that kind of decision. And that is the word that came to mind. Brave. It bothered me that I saw it that way. I wondered how his family was coping with it. I knew that because of his decision they would have to return home. I thought about all of this quite a bit over the few months I had left in the states.
Slowly but surely January rolled around, and it was time to head back overseas. I didn’t even question whether I was ready to go back. If I even wanted to. It was time so I went. Life immediately was hard. I expected this. I had been warned that the first time you go overseas you enter a honeymoon sort of phase. Things are different and strange, but oh so very exciting. The second time it doesn’t happen that way. You remember the hard times and know what it takes. There is no honeymoon phase.
Stay tuned for Part 2…
Parts 2-4 have been written and password protected. There are a couple of things I decided needed to be a little more private. If you would like the password just email me at midlifenatalie at aol.com, and I’ll send it to you. Thanks.
don’t make us wait too long…
I am really interested to see how this ends.
I was just talking to my wife about you and what I knew of you and what’s been going on with you. This post was perfect timing! Can’t wait for the rest of the story.
It looks like we have been on a similar journey. I just published a memoir titled “Divine Betrayal,” of my life growing up as the daughter of a fundamentalist missionary in Brazil. As a child and a teenager, one of the most difficult experiences I had was returning to America at age eleven, then back to Brazil at fifteen years of age. But the most difficult time in my life was returning to America when I was eighteen years old. I was totally absorbed in the Brazilian culture, I had close, loving friends I had to leave and at the same time I was questioning the faith of my parents. This in itself was hard, because I had been taught that it was a sin even to ask questions and show any doubt about their interpretation of the Bible. Thank you so much for sharing and I also am anxious to read the rest of your story.
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