Generally, raising a kid on the mission field is just like it would be in the States, but every once in a while you see your kid and realize they are doing something really strange and foreign to how you were raised back in America, but for your kids, it is completely natural.
So, I thought I’d gather some examples to share from around the world:
• Our kid may not know how to shake someones hand to greet them like in the States, but she sure loves doing the Thai wai (bow) to everyone. (and they love it when she does it).
• The grandparents may not appreciate this one, but its the norm to be squished on a motorcycle between mom and dad here. Thai’s do it all the time with multiple children and our daughter doesn’t mind at all hopping on with mom and dad:)
• Neighborhood kids come over almost everyday to see the white kid in the neighborhood
• Our 18 month old understands the language here more than English. Her gibberish even sounds more like Thai. Some of her first words were Thai words.
• If I’m trying to get our kid to do something and she just gives me a blank stare, I say it in Thai and she gets right on it like its no big deal.
• Today we accidentally found ourselves in the middle of a political protest, our daughter just waved at everyone like it was any other day:)
Funny moments from other mission fields:
• My daughter walked out to my moms driveway one of the first times we were home from Peru, she was about 3, and tried to fetch a taxi, because that was the only way we got around in Peru. She had the taxi wave down. She ate all kinds of strange stuff, she always went home with a peruvian family on Sunday afternoons. Cow tongue, Deviled ostrich egg, ceviche, you name it.
• I think due to them being missionary kids, my kids are very outgoing. Everywhere we went in Peru everyone wanted to touch them and talk to them or take pics with them. They love people!
• The city we live in in South Africa has 3 main languages. A lady at the resteraunt gave her a balloon and my daughter said “Enkosi” (which is thank you in Xhosa) The lady was Afrikaans and smiled and said no I say “Dankie” (which is thank you in afrikaans) My daughter sighed and said I’m just going to speak THANK-YOU language.
• We all got a kick out of the boys adapting to their school uniform – knee high socks and short shorts.
• Here is India everyone wants to know if my daughter is sick because she has a rash on her face (freckles). She alway looks at them, giggles and says “No silly…those are my freckles!” Then we have to explain what freckles are.
• My daughter told me once “When I turn brown, I am going to run around outside with no clothes too Mommy and no body can tell I am naked!”
• My kids have had to get used to having their pictures taken. Everywhere we go people literally pull the kids away from us and they pose our kids with their Indian children.
• My kiddos mix English and Spanish words in one sentence all the time. They love grilled cow hearts and chuño (a freeze dried potato)
• My son gets really mad if someone tells him he is American… he, in a very mean voice says, “no i’m not i’m Bolivian”
• My kids always say “go camel” or “piggy back camel” instead of horse.
• We don’t use ice much in Ireland (like most countries I think). You can get it here. Just people don’t use it that much. So a visitor from America was with us at a restaurant and ordered ice with her drink and my daughter Cali didn’t know what it was. So the American was so proud to teach my daughter what ice is.
• A group of Americans were at my house in Ireland and my kids had thrown some food wrappers on the floor. One of the Americans told my kids to pick up the trash off the floor and my kids had no idea what they were talking about. Then they said pick up the garbage and my kids still didn’t get it. We call it rubbish and that’s the only word my kids knew. So the Americans thought it was funny that they were finding it difficult to communicate with my children.
• We used to have to interpret the conversation my kids would have with their grandparents over the phone bc they couldn’t understand their accent and different words.
While some of these things are funny and may seem a little weird, missionary kids have some of the most interesting childhoods. Maybe that’s why they seem a little weird sometimes:) But I’m excited that my daughter gets to grow up between two cultures that will prepare her for what God has for her future.