expatriate family

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Are Expat Families Really Any Different?

Quick link: But What’s So Different About Being an Expat Family, Anyway?

I wrote at Velvet Ashes about being an expatriate family and what that means for my kids. Honestly? I don’t know exactly what it means for them, they are going to have to figure that out on their own. I have some ideas and we have some conversations, but ultimately, as two of them are about to ‘launch,’ they will have to do some work in this area. From race to gender to wealth to faith, things have been different for my kids than they would have been had we stayed in suburban Minnesota.

My twins are seniors and our conversations have naturally turned toward university choices. For my family, of course, that includes conversations about America and culture, home and upbringing. We moved to Somalia when the twins were two and we’ve lived in the Horn of Africa ever since.

One evening, my daughter asked, “But what’s really so different about growing up here? How does my experience compare with that of a high school girl in Minnesota?”

How can I even begin to answer?

Read the rest of the essay here: But What’s So Different About Being an Expat Family, Anyway?

What Is An Expatriate Family?

Quick link: Where Expatriates Belong

Today I’m writing on the Brain Child blog in their “What is a Family?” series about being an expatriate family.

expatriate family

We are the ones who don’t quite fit in, who eat strange food, wear funny underwear, and speak in odd accents. We are the ones who carve out a place for ourselves that tries to make sense of being between worlds. We are the ones who know, deeply, that being an expatriate is a gift and we receive it as such, even though sometimes it is a painful way of life. It is a life, and a family, to which we belong.

Their memories will be forever shaped by this place that is home to them in a way it will never be home to their parents. Sometimes I grieve this. I feel a loss, a loneliness, a separation. Other times I see the wild, extravagant gift of it, this widening of world views, the open-handed reception with which our children respond.

expatriate family

Click here to read Where Expatriates Belong or we might throw rocks at you. (Not sure why we are holding up rocks, but I’m not sure why we do a lot of the things that we do…)

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