[Five Minute Friday] World

Time for Five Minute Friday over at Kate Motaung‘s place! Today I am featured with a video over there, so if you want to see a bit of me and why I blog, check it out here!

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“The world is a big place. Go run it.”

I drive by this ad every morning, and every morning I think I only agree half with this statement.
Well, I’m not a runner, so I might not take this advice literally.
Can we say “travel” for run?

The world is a big place. Go travel.
I love traveling. Just last week I got back from the US; once again I was incredibly blessed by landscapes, food, and experiences.
The best thing, though, were the people. The ones who fill that big space. 

My parents never had a lot of money, so we never really went to any fancy resorts or beach trips.
We took our car and just drove.
Stayed at friends’ places.
Saw the back streets instead of the shiny boulevards.
Cooked with people and listened to their stories.
Were inspired to tell our own stories.

You haven’t traveled the world until you know its people.

Somehow this kind of traveling is still instilled in me.
I love exploring other countries, I enjoy seeing breath taking nature and indulge in some good food that’s so different to me.
But I feel like I haven’t traveled, really traveled, a country until I connected with people that live there. Until I’ve seen behind the scenes and got a glimpse into the ordinary.
The ordinary is actually quite beautiful because it makes me realize that the world isn’t such a big place after all. 
We all have struggles.
We all fight through them.
We all experience hope and joys and wonders.

Now I know that not everyone feels like or doesn’t have the time and money to get on a plane and travel.
To discover the world in depth, though, you don’t have to go far.
Just leave your own house and explore YOUR world.
Stay at friends’ places.
Turn from the shiny boulevards to the back streets.
Cook with people and listen to their stories.
Be brave to tell your own story.
And I hope you discover that the world is smaller and more beautiful than you imagined.

[Five Minute Friday] Gift

I’ve been a little out of touch in this space lately, but there’s a good excuse. For the last two weeks I’ve been traveling around North Carolina, taking a break from work, and reconnecting with dear friends.

It’s just been two weeks, but t’s also been so much more than that.
Fourteen days of not thinking about work at all.
Of indulging in good food and free refilled drinks.
Of admiring nature’s beauty in the mountains and at the beach.
Fourteen days of restoring rest to body, mind, and soul.
Of time with precious people, talking late into the night, reminiscing of sweet memories and adding new chapters to the story.
Fourteen days of celebrating friendships.
It’s just been two weeks, but they were intensely filled with gifts.
Like all those people who opened their homes and let me crash on their couches, even though it was often late at night.
Like all those friends who drove me around and did the most ridiculous shopping trips with me.
Like entering T’s house and feeling at home right away. Such a welcoming atmosphere that made me not even think about work or stress for one minute. I was just there and could enjoy every single moment.

Like celebrating beautiful H, watching her get married to the boy of her dreams, and swing dancing the night away. Hiking through the woods and laughing about silly stuff were just the things I needed.

Like driving through beautiful Greensboro or walking around campus with T and sharing about life. Simply starting where we had left off about two years ago, as if we had never been apart. Instant connection, instant depth, and incredible blessings to my soul.

Like going to the beach with E and swimming in the ocean with the most amazing colors. Sitting at the water at night, listening to the waves, and sharing about the essential things in life. E’s view of the world, his attention to and appreciation of the little beauties in the ordinary, and his nostalgia were inspiring.

Like walking around town with ME, MB, and A or going on culinary adventures with C, E, and N made me discover hidden things, rejoice about new developments, and treasure the familiar.

Every single talk was often so much more than expected, so much deeper than hoped for, and so much more a blessing than imagined. Friendships may be silent at times, but once souls have connected they’ll always come back to each other, no matter the distance.

Thank you for the gift of friendship. Thank you for being on that journey together.
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A little later than usual, but I’m still linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday. Another great gift, this community of bloggers and encouragers! 

This Little Storybook that Holds My World

My passport expired a few months ago, and since I’m about to go traveling again I needed to get a new one. When the lady at city hall asked for my old passport I was startled. Did she want to take it away?
It left me wondering, Why do I care so much about this little booklet?

Among TCKs there’s a joke that the most valuable book you’ll ever possess is your passport.
This little booklet tells stories.
Stories of travels to foreign countries.
Stories of adventures in unknown cultures.
Memories of people, smells, and food so different from who you are.

Like the story when we were stuck at the airport in Entebbe/Uganda for hours because the officer wouldn’t accept our residence permits. We didn’t want to pay the customary “fee” (we would call it a bribe), so he made us wait in this unknown country. Our work and lives for the next two years would depend on this little piece of paper. When he finally let us go after lots of questions, it felt like a relief and the stamp of entry like a triumph.

Like the story when we traveled to Tanzania, a 10-12 hour bus ride. Crossing the border was a matter of hours again because the border patrol enjoyed talking to the only Mzungus (white people) on the bus in the middle of African bush land. Only when they were sure my dad was Jesus (because of his beard and longish hair), they let us pass, and we had a new stamp in our passports to remember this trip.

These stamps are not just stamps on a piece of paper. 
They serve as a conduit to our memories. 
Images of sun-drazed hills, humble yet elegant and amazingly friendly people, and the most
breath-taking sunsets come to mind when I flip through the pages of this little booklet.

Many pages are filled with visas, but in between there are also a few surprises. Like the entry stamp of Abu Dhabi I had not intended to get.
My flight to Johannesburg, South Africa was delayed, so I had an extra night to spend in this desert metropole. At immigration I was searched by a completely covered-up woman, which felt intimidating since she asked me to take off my clothes. As soon as I left the nicely cooled airport a heat wave hit me and made my clothes stick to my body. The cab passed by simple white houses in the desert, the skyscrapers downtown looming in the background. I was taken to a hotel which could’ve easily been the scene of a Persian fairytale and met some friendly fellow travelers.
The Arab letters in my passport remind me of my first encounter with the Oriental culture, even though it was just a peek.

To get a visa or entry stamp from the US is quite a journey which starts a few months before actual departure, when you go to the embassy, wait a few hours, and endure security protocol. Just to get a five minute interview in which you state that you definitely don’t want to emigrate to the US or have a secret fiancé there. The long line at the airport and a suspiciously looking border patrol officer in Charlotte, NC almost seemed like a piece of cake afterwards.

Passports tell stories.
Our stories.
Just like photo albums they take us back to adventures and memories of the past.
An invaluable treasure you don’t want to give up.

And yet, I guess that many TCKs might agree that their passports can be a burden for them sometimes.
This little booklet doesn’t just tell what you experienced, but also who you are. 
Your place of birth, your family name, your nationality.
You’re a citizen of country x. You belong to the people of y.

But what if I don’t feel like it?
What if my heart doesn’t match what it says on that paper?
What if my soul is lost in the beauty of Africa, the hospitality and openness of people with a different skin color? 
The allegiance of my heart cannot be described by one single country code.
I am German and yet I’m not. I feel African, but so many things drive me crazy about it.
I’m a mix of everything, which sometimes feels like nothing.
My passport reminds me of this cultural conflict I find myself in, this search for a sense of belonging, a sense of myself, a home.

After a bit of paperwork the lady at city hall handed me back my passport.
With “expired” written across the page in bold letters.
Even though my old passport has expired, my stories are not. 
Because I’m still here to treasure and tell them.

A few weeks later I got my new passport – many more pages to fill with new experiences.
New memories.
New stories.

[Five Minute Friday] Leave

 

It’s the last Friday of October and as usual, I am linking up with Kate Motaung and a fantastic writer community. It’s also the last day of October, which means it’s Day 31 of the 31 Days in the Life of a TCK series! You made it to the end, yay! If you’re just starting now, you can find more info on the series here. Don’t forget to subscribe!
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We went to see the animals at Lake Victoria. 
We went to sit at the beach. 
We went for dinner at a nearby hotel. 
It all seemed unreal. Our last day in Uganda. 
 
And finally, finally we went to the airport. 
I watched my parents check us in, drop off our luggage, say goodbye to friends and teammates. And then we walked down to the gates. 
I felt like in a trance. 
This was happening, but not to me. 
We were just dropping someone off and tonight I would sleep in my bed in our house in beautiful Namutamba and everything would be alright.
 
It was already dark outside when we walked onto the airfield and towards the plane. 
The tender summer breeze brought the smell from the Lake and you could see the lights glitter on the water’s surface. 
We boarded the plane, had layovers in Nairobi and Amsterdam, and then we were home.
Really?
 
I didn’t realize what had happened to me until a week later. 
I asked my mom when we’d be going back, but she said, “We’re not going back. 
We will stay here now.”
 
That’s when it hit me. 
I had really left. 
And I hadn’t even said goodbye. 
 
 
I am not a cryer normally. Which doesn’t mean I am not sad. 
But now I cried. 
For all the friends I hadn’t hugged one last time. 
For my best friend who I had left the day before as if I didn’t know we wouldn’t meet again the next day. 
For the village I had called my home. 
For all the memories I had made there and would never be able to repeat. 
For the piece of my heart I had left in the Pearl of Africa, Uganda.
 
I have had to leave quite a few other places since then. 
My family, South Africa, my teenage years, the US, university. 
Familiar faces, cozy houses, a certain lifestyle. 
Dreams of how my life should look like, dear relationships, broken hopes. 
I’m sure if you added your losses we’d get an entire novel together. 
 
Make sure you say goodbye. 
You never know if you’ll have the chance again.
Make sure you cry. 
 
Crying is a way to cleanse the soul and I have come to appreciate my tears sometimes. After the tears have ceased, another feeling wells up inside of me: thankfulness. 
My heart is overwhelmed with deep gratitude. 
 
For the beautiful places I got to live in. 
For the amazing people I had the privilege of meeting and who continue to be in my life. For the sweet memories I could make and can now hold on to. 
For God, who continues to walk with me and already knows where I’m heading to next. 
 
Well, and now I am leaving this series. 
It’s been a great month and I’ll surely reflect a bit about it after I had a short blogging break. 🙂
THANK YOU for staying with me on this journey, for your comments and thoughts, all your encouragement! 
I am leaving you with hopefully a lot of impressions, things to ponder, and the wish to embrace your TCK life a bit more…
 
What did you learn in the course of this series?

[31 Days] Day 30 Unite

It’s Day 30 of the 31 Days in the Life of a TCK series! Welcome! You can find more info on the series here. Don’t forget to subscribe!

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A few weeks ago I was at a friend’s birthday party when it happened. 
We were having a barbecue in the park and some friend had brought another friend. 
We introduced ourselves and started talking. 

We had just met and yet we felt like we had known each other for years. 
And so we spent the evening talking about our lives, exchanging fun stories and challenges. 
Because we knew the other would understand. 

This immediate connection is something so special among TCKs. 
It unites us no matter the countries we lived in, no matter the amount of time we spent abroad, no matter the place we’re in right now. 


It fascinates me every time I meet a TCK. 
May it be on a TCK camp where it takes one night of games and introductions to form intimate bonds with “strangers” that have become my second family over the years. 
May it be in unexpected places, like birthday parties, train rides, university seminars. 
In our globalized world there are more and more TCKs around us – missionary kids, diplomat kids, business kids, immigrant kids or people growing up around many cultures. 

We are all united by this one bond: we’ve seen what’s out there. 
It doesn’t have to be far, it just has to be outside our own little world and comfort zone. Once you’ve been out there, you feel a connection to others who have gone, too. 

Whenever I meet a TCK my heart rejoices (and sometimes I also break into a smile, hehe). Here is this one person who gets me, who can laugh at the fun stories and won’t look away at the hard ones. 
Here is this one person who can relate my stories to their own and it helps, encourages, maybe even comforts.
Meeting a fellow TCK is sometimes like meeting a friend for the first time and the sudden depth doesn’t feel awkward at all. 

I hope for every TCK out there that you meet others with similar stories, that you find out about who you are and have others around you to connect to, to share with, to bond with. 

A big shoutout to my TCK friends all around the globe – it is a blessing knowing you and walking a bit of life together!

Can you relate to this? It might also be true for other relationships when both aren’t TCKs. Any thoughts on this?


[31 Days] Day 29 Roots

 

It’s Day 29 of the 31 Days in the Life of a TCK series! Welcome! You can find more info on the series here. Don’t forget to subscribe!
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Roots. 
Short and weak at first, looking for some ground to be planted in, to be nurtured in.
Roots. 
Growing strong and deep with time, digging themselves deep into the ground, spreading out, building a firm foundation underground for whatever is seen above the ground.

Roots being pulled and replanted into a different soil and the whole process begins anew. By the time these roots have found some ground and planted themselves again, they are uprooted again. 


The image of roots and the feeling of rootedness is powerful in a TCK life. 
It can be quite nice to have versatile roots – you don’t cling to unnecessary things or places, you can just move and experience new great things.

It can also be very hard, though. 
Not having firm roots often makes me feel like having no foundation. 
My roots have been planted in so many soils, but do they hold me? 
Whenever I am re-planted people just see what’s above the ground. But they don’t see where I’m coming from, they don’t know my life stories, my childhood dreams, my roots.  Do I belong even though I haven’t always been around?

We’ve talked quite a bit in this space about the feeling of restlessness and rootlessness so many TCKs experience. It’s not just a current research topic, it’s connected to so many personal stories of friends or my own. 
As some of you may have heard, I graduated from university last week. What this was and is like I will be writing about after the end of this series. But now it’s time to enter the next phase of life, which is not as easy at it seems.

After years of moving around, never staying in a place for more than five years I find in myself a desire to stay. 

To not pack my bags in a while but actually decorate my room. 
To set my roots down and see what happens. 
To invest in the people I am surrounded with and experience friendships that don’t depend on Skype and time zones.

I have talked to quite a few TCK friends lately and they said similar things. 
And together we wondered about ourselves and this feeling. 

Because we are not supposed to feel like it. 

A certain restlessness seems to be engraved in our genes and we are driven to move on. So what is this sudden change of heart? 
Are we just getting older? 
Or are we simply discovering a deeper desire to belong inside of us?

We have to understand that our past doesn’t have to dictate our future. 
Enjoying the present doesn’t mean we condemn the past. 
 
So if we discover this longing inside of us, if we decide to take this bold step and put our roots down for a while – it doesn’t mean that we cut off the parts of the root that have been grown in other wonderful places. 
 
These experiences shaped, strengthened and colored our roots – and it might be time to plant a bit of that in this one place for the moment. 
If we allow our roots to settle down for a while we will experience a bit of that rest we’ve been longing for all along. 
Firm roots will allow our flowers to bloom. 

 

[31 Days] Day 28 Expect

It’s Day 28 of the 31 Days in the Life of a TCK series! Welcome! You can find more info on the series here. Don’t forget to subscribe!
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I came home from a year in South Africa being in love with the country and its people. The goodbye was incredibly hard and the re-entry to Germany was, too. 
I settled back into life, began university, started making new friends. 
But this deep longing and feeling of homesickness were my constant companion.

A few months later I had my debrief with the mission agency and they told me that for various reasons I would have the chance to go back for a short time. What a game changer! The summer semester couldn’t go by faster as my eyes and heart were set on July 29th, departure for my second home South Africa. 

A week before I left I had dinner with a few friends; we sat outside in the summer night and talked about my trip. And then one friend asked: 

What do you expect of this trip? 

This question stuck with me during my trip, which turned out to be different than I expected. 
Did I go back to cure my homesickness? 
Did I expect I would go back and everything would be alright again? 
Did I expect time would have stopped and I could just continue where I had left things? 


It was a bit of a homecoming. 
Flying into Johannesburg and driving to the farm from the airport felt so familiar. 
I recognized houses, towns, shops. 
Seeing “my” town again made my heart leap. 
And holding dear friends in my arms again felt a bit like healing. 
So yes, a bit of my homesickness was stilled, at least for two months. 

It was also a bit like a revelation. 
A shattering of expectations. 
The bubble of nostalgic idealization burst and I was left with reality. 
Things had changed, people had left and the perfect community we had had a year before did no longer exist. 
The people had made the experience so unique, and without them I couldn’t just simply replicate it. 
Things that had bothered me in the first year were still there, and I wondered how I could’ve idealized them, too. 

So no, my expectations were shattered. But in a positive way. 
When I returned to Germany the second time I knew a little bit better how to handle my homesickness. 
I still missed friends and certain things deeply, and they will always be close to my heart. However, I don’t give in to nostalgic longing for things anymore that are more of a burden than a blessing. 
My expectations were refined. 

For those of you who returned “home”, what were your expectations and experiences? 


[31 Days] Day 27 Visit

It’s Day 27 of the 31 Days in the Life of a TCK series! Welcome! You can find more info on the series here. Don’t forget to subscribe!


Today I am very honored to introduce my last guest blogger to you. We have never met in person, but I follow her blog which always encourages me. A TCK herself and mom to TCKs, Marilyn just has so much wisdom and expertise which she knows how to put into touching and powerful words. Marilyn writes at her own blog Communicating Across Boundaries, but I am incredibly blessed to have her over at my small place today. When I read her post for the first time it deeply resonated with me, and I hope you’ll enjoy it, too. Thank you so much, Marilyn, for your wisdom! Please read more about her at the 
end of the post. 
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“So – are you visiting?”

The question took me completely by surprise. 
We had returned to Cairo for our first trip two years after leaving. 
Cairo had been our home for seven years.

photo credit: Marilyn Gardner

It was in Cairo that we had watched three of our five children take their first steps. 
It was in Cairo where our youngest two were born, three years apart. 
It was our community in this city that had loved us and cared for us through pregnancies and sickness; through post-delivery chaos and family crises; and through packing up and leaving when the time came. 
The apartment we lived in still had markings of our children’s measurements on the doorpost. We had seen these just a day before while with our friends.


Cairo had been home for a long time and it broke our hearts to leave. 
We said goodbye to all those things we loved so deeply. 
Rides in huge, wooden boats called feluccas on the Nile River; Egyptian lentils (Kosherie) with the spicy tomato sauce and crispy fried onions to top it off; friendships that had been forged through hours of talking and doing life together; a church that was one of a kind with people from all over the world.

So when the woman asked me the question I didn’t know what to say. 
A lump came into my throat and I willed myself to hold back the tears.
“Yes. Yes – we are visiting.” Pause “We used to live here…..” my voice trailed off.

The words ‘Visit’ and ‘Live’ are worlds apart. 
Visit means stranger, tourist, one who goes and stays in a place for a “short time.” 
The dictionary definition is clear on this. 
It goes on to add “for purposes of sociability, business, politeness, curiousity…”

By contrast, the word live means “to dwell, to stay as a permanent resident.”
It was like being slapped on the face by someone you trust. 
We were no longer permanent residents in Cairo, Egypt. 
Our visas, stamped into our blue passports, no longer gave us legal resident status. Instead, they gave us only temporary permission to be in the country. 
We did not have permission to dwell, to live, to work. 
We only had permission to stay for a short time – to ‘visit.’

The grief that washed over me was acute and I wanted to bury myself in it. 
I wanted to be able to grieve with abandon, to cry the tears I had wanted to cry since leaving two years prior. 
I wanted to cry tears that would water the dusty ground that surrounded me, ground that had not seen water for a long time. 
But I couldn’t. 
Because indulging in the grief at that moment would have taken me away from the place that I loved, the people that I loved.

When a third culture kid suddenly finds himself or herself a stranger, a visitor in a land they once claimed the grief is acute and necessary. 
And there is no way around but through. 
Trying to avoid the reality is not helpful. 

But this I know: More difficult than a visit would have been no visit at all, far harder than facing my current reality would have been dreaming a dream in a country far removed and never getting to experience this beloved place again. 
So I held in the grief until a better time, swallowed hard, and went on my way.

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Marilyn Gardner is an adult third culture kid who grew up in Pakistan and raised her own third culture kids in Cairo, Egypt before moving to the United States. She is author of the recently released book Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging available now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell Books. 

[31 Days] Day 26 Read

 It’s Day 26 of the 31 Days in the Life of a TCK series! Welcome! You can find more info on the series here. Don’t forget to subscribe!
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We are almost at the end of the October series, I can’t believe how fast time flew by! 
I am glad we got to share so many features of the TCK life, the blessings and the challenges. You might have read along as a TCK, an ATCK, a TCK parent or caregiver, or just someone who’s interested in this subject. And now your head is spinning with lots of new information and you want to know more on a specific subject or give help.

So I thought I would give you a list of resources that I have come to enjoy and use. Of course there is so much more out there and I would love to hear any additions you have!
I had heard so much about this book, many people called it the TCK bible, so I didn’t want to read what everybody read. J It took me eight years after my return to Germany and going to South Africa until I picked up that book and was overwhelmed! It was like someone finally explained myself, I didn’t feel strange and alone anymore. Finally there was a explanation for everything. I have come to appreciate the book so much because it’s a good basis to start more detailed research, it also gives first ideas on how to help. Plus, Ruth is amazing! Met her at a conference last year and she was the sweetest person – so knowledgeable and wise, yet also really funny and with a big heart for people and some good jokes.



Marilyn is the author of the “Communicating Across Boundaries” blog and has a fantastic way to put feelings and concepts into words. You can read some of this on the blog tomorrow! She now has published a collection of her essays in a book; unfortunately, I was so buried in schoolwork that I didn’t have the time to read it yet. But I have only heard the best things about it! So if you’re looking for essays on different TCK issues you might be interested in this book.

Magazine: Among Worlds
This magazine normally features articles on all kinds of TCK issues, from education to family dynamics to furlough to re-entry. It’s a great way to hear different voices on issues and see what’s going on in the TCK world!
This blog, hosted by Marilyn Gardner, is a fantastic piece of the internet! There are posts on Mariyln’s own TCK journey, issues that TCKs might struggle with, as well as other topics on faith and culture. It is a great place to get in touch with other TCK writers or TCKs who share their experiences, almost every post entails a long discussion. J Come join us!

A collaborative blog with contributors from different countries and backgrounds. Not only for TCKs, but also families, mothers, singles…living abroad.

Website: Euro TCK
Euro TCK is the European umbrella for various TCK organizations in European countries. The website provides resources and general information. It also is the host for the Euro TCK conferences every three years. The next conference is planned for 2017! So if you’re an ATCK or a TCK caregiver wanting to learn more, come and join us!
Website: MK Planet
A website and forum to connect American TCKs. Many topics are US specific, but most of the information can be applied all around the world. I find it always very interesting to meet TCKs and researchers from other countries and see what they’re dealing with at the moment.
Germany Specific: CCK-Net
On our TCK re-entry camps we realized that help has to go so much further than a weekend twice a year. What about all those TCKs that feel they have settled in Germany  (so don’t need the camps anymore), but still want to keep in touch with other TCKs?
This is why we founded CCK-Net. It is a database, which tries to connect TCKs all around Germany (some also in Austria and Switzerland). You can sign up for the database if you’re new in Germany (or move to another city) and want to meet other TCKs. You can also sign up if you need help with specific re-entry issues (like riding the train, understanding German youth culture…). We have all ages and want to provide a bit of community. Would love to see YOU there!

Germany Specific: MK-Care
MK-Care is the umbrella organization for different TCK ministries in Germany. They host the different camps for TCKs, such as re-entry, Kid’s Camp, or retreats for adults. It also provides  TCK literature, or advice on education. MK-Care wants to help TCKs, parents, mission agencies, or churches.
What other resources do you want to add or recommend? Would love to hear from you!

[31 Days] Day 25 Look

It’s Day 25 of the 31 Days in the Life of a TCK series! Welcome! You can find more info on the series here. Don’t forget to subscribe!

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When I graduated from high school I knew I wanted to go abroad again. 
I wasn’t really sure what to study and somehow the wide world out there seemed to draw me so much more than a German university. 
While I was looking for offers and countries to go I received an email from a friend in Uganda: “We’re short staffed in the rehabilitation center at the moment and could really need some help. We are too stressed out to introduce someone completely new to the work, so it would be great to have someone who knows the culture, the language, the people, and the work. Why don’t you come back?” 

There it was. 
The door I had waited to open for years. 
The door I had been pounding on in dark phases of homesickness, yearning to go back to Uganda.

But now it was different. 
I didn’t want to go back. 
Being so close to going “home” and living the dream all over again seemed scary and overwhelming out of a sudden. 

You want to know why? 
Well, back then I guess I couldn’t really explain it. 
Now I have studied quite a bit, grown a bit older, and wrote my MA thesis on nostalgia. Looking back at past times, homes, friends…and leaving them there. 
Saving a frozen perfect image of the past in your head, holding it close to your heart to warm yourself whenever the seemingly cold present seems to strangle you. 

So when I look back I see the green nature surrounding our house. 
The endless trips we took into the rain forest. 
I hear the laughter of my friends. 
I remember being happy.

Of course I was. 
But my heart seems to leave out the moments of loneliness and despair. 
It doesn’t remember the spiders and roaches, the power cuts, or any other negative memory. 
Nostalgic looking back is filtered. 

Back then I wasn’t ready to let this bubble of perfection I had made up in my mind burst. I wanted to preserve Uganda in the positive way I had put it together.

Now I think a little different. 
I am not saying we should give up nostalgia altogether. 
The missing part and longing for people/places/past emotions might always be there. 
But it shouldn’t shape how we remember and create a fake image of something that could never exist that way. 
We might have to let some of our bubbles burst. 
Maybe visit the place where we grew up to refine our picture and strengthen the good memories. 

This is a topic dear to my heart and I researched quite a bit on it for my MA thesis. 
Some short excerpts and findings you can read here or here
If you have any questions, let me know. Would love to hear your thoughts on this!