Guest blogger, Emma Cartwright, days away from her 14th birthday shares a story about living life as a kid-missionary.
Hello readers of my mama’s amazing blog. I’m her favorite daughter Emma. Being a missionary kid is an amazing opportunity because of all the places I get to travel to and the people I get to meet. However, as in most occasions, there is the flip side to the coin. Along with the experience of a gain, there is a personal loss.
When we moved here, I had to give up a lot, as did all my other missionary friends. Growing up in the states I had developed a profound love and appreciation for dance. Leaving “home” I knew that was one of the things I would have to give up once we got here. When I lost something that I was passionate about I felt like I lost a sense of my identity. Dancing had been one of the things that defined who I was, and omitting that from my life was really difficult.
About six months after we moved here, almost five years ago to the day, on my 9th birthday my parents drove me home from school and told me they had a surprise for me. I was left completely confused as to what it was, even after we had arrived at my “surprise” I still did not understand. We were still sitting in the car, and I remember them turning around to look at me from the front seat of the car, and then they finally told me they had found a new dance academy for me. I was shook. (At least I think that’s what kids are saying these days. I really don’t know, living outside of the States I also have lost my knowledge of pop culture.) Reencountering the thing that made me excited gave me something to look forward to twice a week and brought back a little bit of joy into my world. I begin to make this place my home, by doing something that I loved.
When we returned back to Costa Rica, I danced with my church, but right now I am not taking classes anywhere. However, within the last week or so I have picked a new hobby: bullet journaling. My mom showed me an advertisement for the class and I decided to just go for it. Coming home from the class last night I was on cloud ten (Yes that happy). With this new class I have found my new “dance”. I now look forward to Monday nights, and strangely enough my birthday is in a few days.
I have learned, as an Mk, it is very important you have something that you can look forward to, and that reminds you of “home” (wherever that may be). We sacrifice so much moving to a new country it’s crucial that we find our niches. A lot of times the word “sacrifice” is mentioned but the word “gain” is usually overlooked. It is important to find balance and find a gain for every sacrifice. Wether that may be finding a new local restaurant in exchange for your old favorite local restaurant like Chick-fil-a (Still looking for one of those by the way. The magical goodness of that place just can’t be compared to rice and beans.) or trading in dance for a new way of journaling (or in the words of my father, “professional doodling“) making that a priority is what makes fitting in that much easier.
If you are reading this and are looking to bless a family with Mk’s, ask them what their hobby is. It makes a difference to know someone cares about us as people and not just as missionary kids, and find out what we care about.
I love my life here and am excited to become a professional doodler.