Come on, just do it and throw the ball.
Ask them their names, ask them about the weather, about anything.
Make some small talk.
O wait, they don’t understand a word I’m saying.
They don’t look like me. They’re so different from me.
Or am I different from them?
It’s interesting how simple things can become the scariest steps out of a sudden.
Ordinary things like playing ball with other kids can be a real adventure when you don’t speak their language and have no idea about how life works around here.
Slowly I made my first steps in the Ugandan culture.
Playing ball with our neighbors, visiting other kids, trying to find a rhythm again.
It was like starting all over.
I was a little child again, having to learn a new language and getting to know people.
You quickly realize that language is so much more than new words and sounds.
It’s a code of behavior, a stream of thoughts, a way of life.
You’re no longer on the inside and part of an established group.
Your differences made you the outsider looking in.
Making you want to observe and learn and belong.
The habit of observing and taking it all in is something I still practice and treasure until today.
And I guess many TCKs agree that we don’t just want to look in from the outside.
We long to belong.
And this might take a while to observe from the background, learning the codes, and tuning our lives to these new rhythms.
Do you remember your first steps in a new country? Share them with us!