The Lessons You Don’t Learn Until After the Move List

There’s a difference between knowing and learning. Before moving overseas we had lots of expectations and guesses about what it would be like to put our life into a suitcase and do what we were wired for. Actually doing it was a whole other experience. Almost 4 years on, here is a quick list of things we really didn’t learn until we unpacked our bags on the other side:

  • what it’s like for your parents to hear you speak a language they never taught you (this is more of a big deal for us North Americans)
  • how differences in time zone can frustrate communication and how relationships motivate you to stay awake ridiculously late to connect with someone
  • the sense of joy that accompanies a letter in the mailbox
  • how quickly you’ll read through books, magazines and food labels whenever they are in English
  • that knowing you’ll have to say goodbye and saying goodbye are two entirely different experiences
  • how awkward / humorous / non-linear / humiliating / empowering language acquisition can be
  • just how toddler-esque your worldview truly is
  • the value of a mindless movie when your brain has been overly cross-cultured
  • distance and lack of time are only excuses if you allow them to be
  • your faith will grow not because you’re so great, but because you’ll be forced into places where the only option is dependence on God
  • peanut butter (and 24 other everyday items you take for granted) is a luxury
  • your dependence on / thankfulness for e-mail, Skype and social media to stay involved in the lives of people geographically far away
  • the ability to reach across cultures and build relationships
  • free places to stay all over the world are a sweet perk
  • knowing that sometimes you’ll miss a sibling’s graduation and other times you need to buy the world’s priciest last-minute flight to be there for someone you love (personal values meet real-life application)
  • how to milk every last gram (and occasionally a bit more) out of your free baggage allowance
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