After considering 10 things that have changed about us since living overseas we thought it would be fun to talk about 10 things that haven’t changed for us living overseas. Really this is the more important of the two lists because it highlights that we are who we are in any location. This post highlights that nothing magical happens when we live overseas we are the same folks, just in a different location. I’m curious for those that read what things haven’t changed for you over the past few years (good and bad) even though your locations or circumstances have changed. This post is actually inspired by our kids who created a list of things are family is like/likes to do wherever we are (thanks my sweet kiddos!).
1) Our main thing is still our main thing
As we were looking at whats ahead J– and I sat down and made a list of what we loved the most and pursued the most in different stages of our lives, pre-marriage, post marriage, pre-kids, post-kids, regardless of employment and location. We discovered that the things we loved doing the most anywhere and anytime was studying the Bible with people and discipleship / living in community with other people who love God. As we look to the future this is what we are most excited about doing, and what we have done in our time overseas. The other thing is that we love is our family. So we conclude that our main thing is still seeking to know God, and our second is to pour into loving our family. In oceans of uncertainty this is a strong confidence
*This is what our kids said, ” our family likes to love people and telling them about God and be together”*
2) We still really like to laugh…alot
One of the things that folks first notice about J– is his sense of humor and contagious laughter. His laugh can fill a room. It is one of the reasons I married him – he makes me laugh and keeps me smiling. We still really love to laugh, at the funny mistakes we make, jokes that are told, things our kids do, or stories we hear.
*This is what our kids said, “Our family likes tickle bombs and jokes”*
3) We really love to cook for people and have them over for dinner/ provide food
One of our friends from North Africa made this picture for us and it is a fit for what we love to do. We love to work together to feed people. From South Sudanese teas in the afternoon to baby showers, to team dinners, or just spontaneous ones with friends we love having people over and feeding them. This was true in our passport country where we would often make extra food in case someone stopped by and here. So if you find yourselves living near us and we invite you over for dinner please accept the invite it will make our day!
*This is what our kids said, ” We love to eat with people”.
4) We still love playing games
We really really love to play games, card games, tag, ball, Blokus, Settlers, Monopoly, Uno. I feel like we could turn it into a Dr. Seuss poem. We would play games in any country, with other people, without other people, by ourselves (solitar anyone?) We love to have fun and visit over board games and popcorn.
5) We still have all our same sins and faults – they just are easier to spot!-
Guess what? We are still the same broken people that we were three years ago. Nothing magical ever happens when you snap a picture or board a plane even if you board it to move somewhere to do good things. We still struggle to parent well, we still struggle with our insecurities and judgement. I will say that these flaws are easier to see over here. A layer of cultural stress tends to help these faults rise the surface so we must wrestle with them instead of keeping them buried. By God’s grace we are further in our journey to be made into his likeness in some areas but we are still sinners in need of grace.
6) We still like to relax by enjoying the same hobbies
We all have different things we love doing to relax, and they are the same things we always have, reading, writing, building, creating, running sound, drawing, gardening…. We still need downtime to feel rejuvenated and a family movie night, or a few hours of drawing or reading our favorite books till “hits the spot”
7) We still get really tired when we don’t get enough sleep or rest
If the kids are up all night we still get tired. If we stay up late at a social gathering or to watch a movie we find it hard to concentrate and function well the next day. If we take on too much and don’t have down time we become irritable frustrated and grumpy.
8) We still really love the outdoors
Our favorite vacations are still enjoying the outdoors somehow. We still love to camp and get out of the city. Nothing refreshes us more then a breath of “fresh air”. Even in South Sudan’s more primitive living conditions we would sometimes “camp” right outside our house.
*This is what our kids said, ” We love climbing tress and running in circles”*
9) We love doing things together
Our fondest memories weren’t necessarily forged by location or activity but in time spent together. The project shadows in comparison to the company. We love to holiday places that mean we can be together, doing our favorite things in close proximity and with each other. J– and I are happiest in our work when we are working together on a project instead of both workings separately.
*This is what our kids said, ” we are together”*
10) We still love being a part of a team
While we are both independent people J– and I really value being a part of something bigger and working with others. We still value hearing from and being around those we are working with because interacting with them on the journey of whatever we are doing is one way we know more of God and we can be refined to do more.